The Search for a Proper Pint in Boston

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Photo credit: Chris Cotterman via photopin cc

Everyone who knows me knows I am a bit of a fanatic for a pint. Each evening, I can generally be found at my local pub, sipping on a Guinness and hanging out with my mates. When I do travel, one of the first things I’m concerned with is the location and availability of a proper pub.

Recently, I was searching for travel packages on the Internet and I saw a Boston holiday on Expedia. The price was so good I had to grab it. It wasn’t until afterward that I began to ponder what I would even get up to in Boston. What is the food like? What are the people like? Most importantly — could I find a proper pint?

Boston touts itself as one of America’s most Irish cities, and I have always assumed that to be the case. They do throw a good St. Patrick’s Day party, after all. However, I found myself wondering if that reputation was really true as I prepared for my trip.

On the day I left, I sat in Heathrow and sipped what I hoped was not my last proper pint. I boarded my flight and made the six-hour trip across the pond, not entirely certain what I would find on the Yank side of the ocean.

When I arrived — a bit knackered — at Boston’s Logan Airport, I chucked my bags at my hotel and set out in search of a pub. The following is what I discovered.

Stoddard’s Fine Food and Ale

If it has “Ale” in the name, it has got to be a proper pub, right? Well, yes and no, as I found when I visited this downtown space. The bar itself is huge and imported directly from West Yorkshire, which I took to be a good omen.

The beers here are mostly American craft brews, but I tried a few that could easily hold their own against some of my favourite British ales. I tried the Harpoon Celtic Ale, which is an Irish-style red ale and was quite brilliant. I ordered the fish and chips as well, simply because it was on the menu and I wanted to see if it was as good as the fare at my neighbourhood pub. I am pleased to say it was fine, but not quite as tasty as the fish and chips you’ll find in West End. Still, it was a good effort.

This pub is nice, the beer selection is good and the atmosphere is lively. I can say Stoddard’s certainly made a fabulous first impression.

Brendan Behan Pub

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Photo credit: Planet Takeout via photopin cc

Located in the Jamaica Plains neighbourhood of Boston is what is referred to as the most Irish bar in town. The Brendan Behan Pub holds almost legendary status and has been named the city’s best place to “drink like an Irishman.”

I was pleased to find Brendan Behan’s lacked the blaring televisions you find in most American-style bars, and in their place were dartboards and people actually sitting down, having a chat. I ordered a Guinness because I felt it was the proper thing to do in this place. This pub doesn’t offer food, but there are plenty of takeaway restaurants nearby.

 

Cambridge Brewing Company

I was pleasantly surprised to find so many of the areas in Boston carried familiar names. It was due to this reason I chose to make Cambridge Brewing Company my last pub stop in Boston.

This pub creates some impressive brews, and I was unsure what to try. I decided upon a pint of the Ben’s Best Bitter and found it to be quite delicious. I tried the cubano sandwich as well. I realize a sandwich with a Cuban name is not the first thing one expects to find in a pub, but this one made me glad I chose it.

The decor here is simple and classy, and seems to be done in a very American style. Exposed, bricks, high ceilings and large windows don’t necessarily feel like a proper pub, but it’s a nice place to visit for a few hours.

Before I knew it, my five days in Beantown had come to an end. As I waited in the airport for my flight, I decided this truly is a fantastic American city with a great deal to explore, and delightful places to eat and drink. As I waited for my flight, I was perched atop a stool at Logan Airport’s Cisco Brew Pub, sipping my last pint before heading home. I realised I had found loads of places, pints and people that had made my stay an exceptional one. I even found myself considering a return trip to Boston eventually.

I couldn’t wait to tell my mates back home all about Boston — when I met them at the pub after arriving in London.

 

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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