Breweries & Bars

The best Irish pubs in Boston

You can enjoy a pint of Guinness and more at these Irish bars this St. Patrick's Day.

The Black Rose in Boston.
The Black Rose in Boston. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

When seeking an Irish pub in Boston — whether on St. Patrick’s Day or any other day of the year — the problem is less finding one than deciding on one.

Even with many great Irish bars closing in recent years, there are still an overwhelming number of options for where to grab a perfect pint of Guinness, nosh on some corned beef, and listen to some Irish folk music.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we asked readers to tell us their favorite Irish pubs in the Boston area. The responses confirmed what we already knew: Boston has a lot of Irish bars, and Bostonians have a lot of opinions about them.


In all, readers named more than 40 Irish pubs, picking watering holes in the heart of the city and bars as far away as Falmouth and Foxborough.

Below we’ve highlighted 12 of our favorite Irish pubs (with reader feedback). You’ll also find a full list of reader recommendations listed at the bottom of the article.


Mr. Dooley’s Boston

Mr. Dooley's Boston Tavern
Mr. Dooley’s Boston.

This Financial District pub typically celebrates St. Patrick’s Day all week with corned beef and Irish breakfast items aplenty. Don’t worry, their bartenders know how to pour a perfect Guinness. In fact, reader Katherine M. of Boston said that Dooley’s has “the best pints outside of Ireland.”

77 Broad St., Boston, 617-338-5656

J.J. Foley’s Cafe

J.J. Foley's in Boston was founded in 1909.
J.J. Foley’s in Boston was founded in 1909.

Both the Downtown and South End locations of this iconic Boston bar are worth checking out on St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s the original South End location, founded in 1909, that takes the cake — or in this case, the Irish brown bread.

“JJ Foley’s is the most authentic Irish Pub filled with all types of people,” said reader Mike, of Boston. “Perfectly Poured Cold Pints and Delicious Food. I can’t wait to go to Foleys Saint Patrick’s Day!!!”


117 East Berkeley St., Boston or 21 Kingston St., Boston, 617-728-9101

Ned Devine’s

Ned Devine's Boston
Ned Devine’s in Boston

Traditionalists might scoff at this Irish pub-turned-weekend-nightclub making the list, but if you want to go where the people go, Ned Devine’s is the spot. Expect corned beef and blazing fast Irish folk music on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, 617-248-8800

The Black Rose

The Black Rose Boston
A bartender at The Black Rose in Boston. – Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

For 40 years, The Black Rose has served up traditional Irish food and music, and St. Patrick’s Day will be no different, with the restaurant typically opening at 8 a.m. “It’s the last stop to the airport,’’ owner (and Dublin native) Paul Wilson, told the Globe. “A bit of ould sod on this side of the pond. It’s a bit of home.’’

160 State St., Downtown, 857-465-4100


Brendan Behan Pub

Brendan Behan Pub in Jamaica Plain.

It’s been said that this Jamaica Plain pub is “about as similar to something back home as you’d get around Boston.’ A word of warning to anyone who has more than a few pints: the Behan doesn’t really do food, but does encourage patrons to order delivery or bring their own.

“There’s always at least 4 Guinness lined up at this small, but fun pub with its old wooden booths, beat up wood floors, and no attitudes,” said one reader.


378 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617-522-5386

Corrib Pub & Restaurant

Corrib Pub in Brighton.

Open since 1969, the Corrib Pub is named for Lough Corrib, a large Irish lake not far from where pub founder Hughie Bligh grew up. If Brighton is too far, the Corrib in West Roxbury offers a similar atmosphere.

“The most authentic Irish bad I’ve ever been to,” said reader Emily S., of Sharon. “Most of the clientele are from Ireland and all the food is like back home.”

396 Market St., Brighton; 2030 Centre St., West Roxbury, (617) 787-0882


L Street Tavern

 L Street Tavern in South Boston.
L Street Tavern in South Boston.

Tourists who flock to this Southie pub to see the bar where Good Will Hunting was filmed may be disappointed by the revamped interior. But those in Southie seeking a brief respite from the parade crowds should make the trek for some delicious food and a Guinness.

658 East 8th St., South Boston, 617-268-4335

Murphy’s Law

Murphy’s Law is without question a dive bar. Its no-frills approach may be a turnoff to some, but if you’re looking for a cheap pint on St. Patrick’s Day after the triple-decker house party you’re at gets too crowded, Murphy’s is there for you.

837 Summer St., South Boston, 617-269-6667

The Banshee

The Banshee Dorchester
The Banshee in Dorchester.

This dimly lit pub in the heart of Dorchester toes the line between traditional Irish and modern sports bar quite nicely. It’s also the best bar in the city to catch a game of rugby or the Scottish Premier League on TV.

934 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, 617-436-9747

The Eire Pub

Nicole Eaton is the first female bartender at the quintessential working man's bar, The Eire Pub.
Nicole Eaton is the first female bartender at the quintessential working man’s bar, The Eire Pub.

This Irish mainstay has played host to plenty of luminaries over the years, including Presidents Reagan, Clinton and the Irish Prime Minister back in 2008. Though longtime Irish bartender Martin Nicholson (called “the greatest bartender in the world’’ by Globe columnist Kevin Cullen) retired in 2010, Eire still has plenty of Irish bonafides.


One Dorchester reader appreciated Eire’s neighborhood vibe: “It’s a local pub where everyone knows your name. You will encounter at least one person that you know or grew up with.

795 Adams St., Dorchester, 617-436-0088


The Druid

Shepherd's Pie at The Druid in Cambridge.
Shepherd’s Pie at The Druid in Cambridge. – Essdras Suarez/Globe Staff

Unlike many of the Irish pubs on this list, this tiny Inman Square spot doesn’t bother catering to the sports bar crowd, preferring to entertain patrons with traditional Irish music instead of TVs. If you want a chance at tasting their delicious Irish stew, show up early: The Druid’s is tiny, with a capacity many times smaller than other pubs on this list.

Reader Paul M., of Easton, appreciated the Druid’s commitment to authentic Irish music: “Best Guinness, best food, [and] trad music.”

1357 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-497-0965

The Burren

The Burren in Somerville.
The Burren in Somerville. – JennyMae Kho/File Photo

Reader Chris K., of Peabody, praised this Somerville bar’s authenticity, and for good reason: When rumors spread about a secret U2 concert in Somerville in 2015, fans immediately swarmed this Somerville pub, packing it to capacity while others stood in the streets. Such is the Burren’s reputation, with traditional Irish pub fare and live music, often played by owners/musicians Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costello.

247 Elm St., Somerville, 617-776-6896

Here’s the list of other Irish pubs cited as the best by readers:


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