We do not want to have a douche-y St. Patrick’s Day. We do not want to compete for barspace with sweaty drunkards at noon, all for the chance to slurp watery green beer. And so Grub consulted a couple of discerning drinkers for their clear-eyed, no-hype drinkin’ picks.*
M.C. Slim JB, a restaurant critic for the Phoenix and Stuff, offers up a treasure trove of best bets:
J.J. Foley’s Cafe in the South End.” A rare genuine Irish-American tavern, a fourth-generation family-run joint with a hundred years of history, three useful rooms (the original, no-barstools tavern side, a back room with games, and the family side with tables for sit-down dining and bar seating). Decent British-Isles pub fare and American bar classics, a proper pour of Guinness, great people running it. South Enders should be feel lucky this one piece of the old neighborhood has survived.”
The Plough and Stars, just outside of Harvard Square. “Another Irish-American institution that feels lived in, not manufactured. Respectable food, good live music, the bric-a-brac of a thousand interesting characters that have been regulars here over the years, from the literary to the plain-old scary.”
Doyle’s Cafe in Jamaica Plain. “Another place that oozes real history but isn’t a tourist trap. The food is nothing special, but it’s a great old watering hole that has hosted generations of Boston political figures, especially the original old bar. I like the stool at the far end of the bar away from the entrance, which I imagine has cushioned the backsides of the last dozen mayors of Boston at one point or another.”
Meanwhile, lounge lizard/writer-about-town (you might know him as Urban Daddy) Dan McCarthy offers two favorites:
Druid in Inman is “very asshole-less in general. more a hipster threat than anything.”
O’Leary’s in Brookline is “salty. Nobody is going to bother you if you want a sandwich and a beer in the middle of the day.”
As for us? We’ll be at the Burren in Davis Square, of course. Or maybe Deep Ellum. Where will you be? Regardless, be sure to read our guide to St. Patty’s Day drinking before venturing into the wild.
*Note that our critics’ picks are not endorsements of visiting these bars on St. Patrick’s Day, as they will still be overrun with a wild assortment of imbibers; however, they’re recommended bars that are worth visiting (though at your own risk tomorrow).