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Where to Go Out in Boston: 13 Historic Pubs and Taverns

City Guide November 17, 2023

 

 

As the sun sets on the cobbled streets of Boston, the historic pubs and taverns illuminate, echoing tales of the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Boston Tea Party. These favorite watering holes, particularly along the Freedom Trail and downtown Boston, beckon history buffs and beverage connoisseurs. In these Boston pubs, one can savor a pint of Guinness while basking in live music and classic pub grub.

It’s a toast to the city's storied past and its place in the United States, with each tavern offering a stool with your name. These Boston taverns are a tapestry of history, culture, and camaraderie. Enjoy an Irish breakfast as you kick back like a local in these quintessential American settings.

As you wend your way through the best pubs in Boston, remember that the night is lighter when you're not lugging around bags. Conveniently, luggage storage near downtown Boston is there to safely house your belongings. From Beacon Hill to the waterfront, drop off and pick up your gear with ease, ensuring your historic pub experience is as carefree as it is memorable.

 

1. Warren Tavern

Warren Tavern, nestled in Charlestown's heart, is a historic gem dating back to 1780. With an old-world charm and a rich history, this establishment has been a hub of comfort and camaraderie for over two centuries. Frequented by notable figures like Paul Revere and George Washington, it feels like stepping into the past. The low ceilings, exposed beams, and cozy corners evoke a sense of history and hospitality. Don't miss their iconic fish and chips, a timeless dish paired perfectly with local ales.

Address: 2 Pleasant Street, Charlestown, MA 02129

Fun Fact: The tavern is the oldest in Massachusetts and was rebuilt in 1780 after being burned down by the British during the Battle of Bunker Hill.

 

2. The Bell in Hand Tavern

Located a stone's throw from Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston, The Bell in Hand Tavern has been a lively establishment since 1795. It effortlessly combines historic charm with a vibrant nightlife.

Antique decor, vintage photos, and rustic furnishings transport you back. From classic rock to contemporary hits, live music fills the air, creating unforgettable moments. Their extensive drink menu, craft beers, and signature cocktails cater to every taste.

Address: 45-55 Union Street, Boston, MA 02108

Fun Fact: The Bell in Hand Tavern is named after its founder, Jimmy Wilson, who was Boston’s last town crier.

 

3. The Black Rose

In the heart of Boston, The Black Rose is an iconic Irish pub known for its warm welcome. Enjoy a hearty Irish breakfast or brunch, and savor a pint of perfectly poured Guinness. Live Irish music sessions set the mood for a jovial atmosphere. This pub is a true taste of Ireland in Boston.

Address: 160 State Street, Boston, MA 02109

Fun Fact: The Black Rose has been serving Boston locals and visitors alike since 1976, and it's known for hosting some of the city's best live Irish music.

 

4. J.J. Foley's

J.J. Foley's, a beloved Irish bar since 1909 along the Freedom Trail, embodies the spirit of Boston. Its cozy interior, adorned with historical memorabilia, welcomes locals and visitors alike. Try classic New England clam chowder or indulge in their famous Guinness beef stew. It's a quintessential Boston experience.

Address: 117 East Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02118

Fun Fact: J.J. Foley's is one of the city's oldest family-owned and operated Irish pubs, having been in the Foley family for over a century.

 

 

5. The Green Dragon

The Green Dragon is more than a pub; it's a piece of history. Patriots once gathered here during the American Revolution. Today, its historic ambiance invites you to be part of Boston's narrative. Enjoy a wide selection of beverages and classic pub fare as you soak in the city's rich heritage.

Address: 11 Marshall Street, Boston, MA 02108

Fun Fact: The Green Dragon was known as the "Headquarters of the Revolution," it is rumored that plans for the invasion of Lexington and Concord were overheard here.

 

6. The Beantown Pub

The Beantown Pub, in the heart of Boston, offers history with your drink. Sip a Sam Adams beer while gazing at Samuel Adams' grave. The cozy interior and diverse menu make it an ideal relaxing spot after exploring the city. Experience a taste of Boston's past and present.

Address: 100 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108

Fun Fact: The Beantown Pub is the only place where you can drink a Sam Adams beer across from the gravesite of Samuel Adams himself.

 

7. Cheers Beacon Hill

Cheers Beacon Hill is a pilgrimage site for TV fans and beer enthusiasts. Stepping inside feels like entering the world of the beloved TV series "Cheers." The bar's nostalgic decor and classic drinks pay homage to the show. Enjoy a variety of beers on tap and classic cocktails while reveling in the show's spirit.

Address: 84 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108

Fun Fact: Cheers Beacon Hill was formerly known as the Bull & Finch Pub, and it inspired the exterior shots for the popular television show "Cheers."

 

8. Hennessy's

In downtown Boston, Hennessy's combines live music with a diverse menu for a memorable night out. Talented local musicians take the stage, covering various music genres. Dive into their menu, offering both classic pub fare and eclectic dishes. The extensive drink list caters to all tastes.

Address: 25 Union Street, Boston, MA 02108

Fun Fact: Hennessy's hosts one of the largest selections of Irish whiskey in Boston, making it a whiskey lover's delight.

 

9. The Plough and Stars

Cross the Charles River to The Plough and Stars in Cambridge for intellectual conversations, eclectic vibes, and fantastic music. Live bands and DJs create a vibrant soundtrack, while the diverse crowd fosters inclusivity and creativity. It's an unforgettable night out, capturing Cambridge's spirit.

Address: 912 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139

Fun Fact: The Plough and Stars has a literary history, once a frequent haunt for famous poets like Seamus Heaney.

 

10. Brendan Behan Pub

At the Brendan Behan Pub in Jamaica Plain, simplicity reigns. With no distractions like TVs, it encourages conversations and camaraderie. Local and imported beers flow freely, and live music adds to the lively atmosphere. It's an authentic Irish pub experience in a welcoming community.

Address: 378 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Fun Fact: The pub is named after the infamous Irish poet and playwright Brendan Behan, known for his wit and love of drink.

 

11. The Druid

Nestled in the heart of Inman Square, The Druid is a haven of Irish charm in Cambridge. With its cozy ambiance, it sets the stage for both laid-back evenings and intimate romantic outings. Patrons can enjoy a frothy pint of Guinness while indulging in a menu that boasts traditional Irish fare and American classics. Notably, their traditional Irish breakfast is a must-try, encapsulating the authentic essence of an Irish pub experience. The Druid is a promise of warmth and a genuine slice of Ireland.

Address: 1357 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

Fun Fact: The Druid is housed in a building that dates back to the 1800s and is the only place in Cambridge where you can get a traditional Irish breakfast every day of the week.

 

 

12. Doyle's Cafe

Doyle's Cafe, now closed, lives on as a cherished memory in Jamaica Plain. It was a beloved gathering place known for political discussions and historic charm. While its doors may be shut, it remains a nostalgic spot where Boston's past thrived.

Fun Fact: Doyle's Cafe was a local favorite and a popular filming location for movies set in Boston, including "Mystic River" and "21."

 

13. Marliave

Step into Marliave, one of Boston's oldest restaurants, and journey to the 1800s. Located in Downtown Crossing, it seamlessly blends classic cocktails with historic elegance. The bar offers a range of classic and innovative drinks, while the menu features French and Italian-inspired cuisine. Marliave offers a unique and memorable journey through time in the city's heart.

Address: 10 Bosworth Street, Boston, MA 02108

Fun Fact: Marliave dates back to 1885 and retains many original fixtures, including a manually operated elevator.

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