@BostonTweet’s Top Picks for What to Do in Downtown Boston

Posted July 17, 2013 by Emily Mahlman in Downtown Boston
Friendly Bartender of jm Curley

With 90,000 followers and counting, Tom O’Keefe—better known as the social media powerhouse @BostonTweet—keeps the Hub’s Twittersphere in the know about what to see, do, eat, and drink around town. But where does the man himself like to grab a beer or burger when he’s not composing dispatches on Boston’s latest and greatest? As it turns out, you may find him in Downtown Crossing. Here are O’Keefe’s top picks for what to do in downtown Boston.

jm Curley: In what may be the endorsement of the year, O’Keefe calls jm Curley one of his favorite spots in all of Boston. He says that while he doesn’t live close to the Temple Place watering hole, it “feels like the bar that’s right downstairs from your apartment.” That welcoming, neighborhood feel is a credit to its “super friendly” staff, including bartenders who introduce O’Keefe to new local brews—such as Somerville’s Slumbrew—that get constant rotation on tap. But don’t leave Curley’s hungry. O’Keefe recommends (and I enthusiastically second) the burger, which he calls “one of the best in the city.”

J.J. Foley’s: O’Keefe loves a good dive bar (something else we have in common), and this Boston institution makes his cut of what to do in downtown Boston thanks to its atmosphere and “salty” clientele. Foley’s has been pouring what its website describes as the best pint of Guinness in Boston for over 50 years. O’Keefe says he appreciates that those pints, and the vast majority of the drinks served, are around $5 at this “old school Irish pub.”

Silvertone: There is one thing that keeps O’Keefe going back to Silvertone: “the great mac and cheese.” And there is one thing about said mac and cheese that makes it a standout to O’Keefe’s discerning palate: the peas. “Peas as a standalone, I hate them. They’re boring,” he told me. “But in the mac and cheese . . . they’re so darn good.”


Stoddards honors its corset shop heritage. Photo courtesy of Stoddards.

Stoddard’s: It’s not just the “terrific beer selection” that O’Keefe likes about this ale house. It’s also the “cool décor and atmosphere.” Housed in the former Chandler’s Corset Store, Stoddard’s keeps its history alive and on display with garments from the original shop encased on the walls. Other historical nods include the railings from the original Filene’s Basement store and the wooden clapboards from 1868 that line the walls of the vestibule.

To say that O’Keefe is a busy man is an understatement. His job is to be out and about all day, reporting to the masses what he sees, hears, eats, and drinks. And he knows his stuff: He recalled in great detail items from the menus and beer lists—not to mention the décor—of every place we discussed. And while I’m hardly the Boston gastro-arbiter that he is, I was pleased that my taste (literally) is in line with his.

If you have not yet been to jm Curley, you are missing out on one of the best bars in Boston, in both of our opinions. It’s friendly and comfortable yet polished, and the food is lick-your-fingers good. Foley’s is the quintessential Boston Irish pub, and not to be missed. And there always seems to be a line at Silvertone for a reason. Stoddard’s makes some of the best brussels sprouts in Boston. They are pan roasted with chicken stock, white wine, and bacon. This may seem like an odd dish by which to measure an entire menu, but that’s a testament to how good they are, and how much I love brussels spouts.

Please don’t fill the comment section below with hate messages for what you are about to read, but having moved here from New York a few years ago, I find Boston doesn’t have as many comfortable, unpretentious, hole-in-the-wall-type bars as our attention-hogging neighbor to the south. And while you may not think of Downtown Crossing as a bastion of dive bars, these diamonds in the rough are well worth checking out.



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