Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Downtown Boston’s Most Authentic Irish Experiences

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Posted March 12, 2013 by Rachel Leah Blumenthal in Eat & Drink
Downtown Boston boasts some authentic venues for this year's St. Patrick's Day.

With St. Patrick’s Day on the horizon, bars and restaurants around Boston are breaking out the shamrock decorations, readying to pour copious amounts of green beer, and turning up the Dropkick Murphys to full blast. However, if you’re looking for a more authentic taste of Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, look no further!

Boston’s Irish heritage is present all over the city, from the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Southie to the upcoming World Irish Dancing Championships in Back Bay. Downtown Boston also boasts a number of old-timey Irish pubs where you can wash down your shepherd’s pie with a pint of Guinness any day of the year.

Take a look at our selection of the best authentic Irish experiences downtown Boston has to offer.

Kitty O’Shea’s: From the 200-year-old floors taken from a Belfast church to the fireplace of a Dublin home, Kitty O’Shea’s is literally assembled from pieces of Ireland—and the native Irish staff only adds to the appeal. The menu features classics like shepherd’s pie and a brand-new Irish breakfast of rashers (bacon), sausages, black and white pudding, eggs, baked beans, and brown Irish soda bread, baked in-house.

The Kinsale: “Cead mile failte” (“100,000 welcomes”) is the motto for The Kinsale. This downtown Boston pub was designed and built overseas, and it features an ambiance rich with Celtic decor and Irish craftsmanship. The entertainment is a blend of Irish tradition and contemporary American fun, with live Irish music (no cover) a few nights a week, and karaoke and trivia on other nights. The menu mixes Irish and American as well. If you’re not in the mood for shepherd’s pie or bangers ‘n’ mash, try the BBQ beef brisket mac and cheese.

The Black Rose

A quiet moment at The Black Rose, before the dancing starts.

The Black Rose: Steps from Faneuil Hall, The Black Rose has been welcoming tourists and regulars alike for nearly 40 years. If you want to hear Irish music, this is the place to go every single night of the week. At night, there’s always a lively crowd at this corner pub, so don’t be surprised to find people up and dancing. From the affable Irish bartenders to the cozy upstairs space, it’s easy to see why The Black Rose is always packed.

Emmets Pub & Restaurant: Tucked away on the border between Downtown Crossing and Beacon Hill, Emmets is a cozy and casual space with some Irish favorites on the menu, all made with locally sourced ingredients when possible. The simple beef stew and shepherd’s pie are perfect for a chilly day, and the corned beef ravioli with shaved Brussels sprouts provides a little twist on tradition. Like Kitty O’Shea’s, Emmets also has a full Irish breakfast. Available for weekend brunch, it includes Irish sausage and bacon, black and white pudding, potato cake, grilled tomato, eggs, and toast. With most of the party-loving folks heading to The Kinsale nearby, the Emmets crowd tends to skew a bit older and quieter.

So, if you’re looking for something a bit more authentic if you are in downtown Boston this St. Patrick’s Day, be sure to give one of these classic experiences a try—for the holiday or any time of the year.

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