Boston, Southie, Back Bay and Bars

What a time of year to be in Boston. When it is sunny and clear in this city, there’s no better place to be. I just love this city. There’s an intimacy and relaxed feel about it and it is impossible not to have a good time. It is also good to explore parts, but there’s a couple of bars I can’t skip on any visit to Beantown.

One of my touring buddies wanted to visit Cheers and sit in Norm’s chair. There is a real Cheers which has the exterior. The re-creation with Norm’s spot is next to Faneuil Hall, and they’ve actually done a bloody good job. Clarke’s is next door and is great for sport. After ticking off the Joe Tourist box, we ventured into the Back Bay area. Our goal was dinner at Abe and Louie’s, a quintessential American steak place. Phenomenal. Raucous atmosphere and great food. Afterwards we visited my favourite Boston bat – Bukowski Tavern. This hole in the wall is an original craft beer joint. I first discovered it over 10 years ago. If you drink 100 beers, you get a handle which hangs off the ceiling. Dillons and The Pourhouse are also worthy of a visit.

The proliferation of fruit flavoured and summer beers was extraordinary. I probably spotted 10 Summer and Shandy ales, as well as a few Blueberry beers. The amount of effort that goes into the tap heads is admirable. Sam Adams dominates Boston. Sam Adams Summer, Sam Adams Rebel and my favourite, Sam Adams Brick Red. Plenty of other good stuff like Wachusett, Harpoon and Seadog. It is a great beer town.

The great regret for me on this trip was that after 9 years of living in Boston my brother had returned to Oz just a couple of months before. He made up for it by lining me up with a great mate of his for a tour of Southie (South Boston). This was Irish Mafia Central in the old days and Jack gave me a terrific tour of some of the old bars and streets. The L Tavern is where they filmed Good Will Hunting and they are a friendly bunch (hey, Kyle). I had a Black and Tan, which is visually stunning and tastes pretty good too. The Shamrock was described by some as a Star Wars bar because of the old crew of people. Very old school and local. We had a couple on the main drag taking over the juke box in The Playwright. Doof-doof was replaced with the Church, INXS and the Hoodoo Gurus. Jack had good taste.

Last but not least was JJ Foleys. This bar’s just outside of Southie, but will be visited again on future visits. The walls are adorned with memorabilia of the elections of Boston mayors. According to Jack, who had more stories than Hans Christian Andersson – there were some almighty piss-ups there as well. A magical American-Irish bar with again a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

I truly hope to return to Boston one day.