BEST 2012: Authentic Irish Pubs for Authentic Irish Drinking

Our 2012 Best Poll has got bars where you can show off your beer-snob chops, bars where you can slurp fancy craft cocktails, bars where you can troll for hipsters, and bars where you can get drunk with your bro-brethren and watch sports. And then there are these bars: traditional Irish pubs where you can sip on some stout lagers, tuck into carb-based comfort foods, and only grunt at at the guy slouched next to you if you're in the mood (you're probably in the mood). No cocktail umbrellas, no semi-ironic cans of 'Gansetts, and no effing around. These are the Irish pubs that actual Irish people would be happy drinking at. Which reps old Éire best of all? You decide.

Matt Murphy's | Brookline

1. Matt Murphy's | Brookline

In a culinary landscape marked by Jewish delis and cute cafes, Matt Murphy's has long been an oasis for those looking for a dimly lit, tucked away spot for contemplation of a stout ale or three. Pair your Guinness with some of the Brookline pub's Irish soda bread or bangers and mash for a truly authentic -- and sating -- Irish experience.

The Burren | Somerville

2. The Burren | Somerville

 The 2011 winner for Best Irish Pub, the Burren likely won that honor for boasting live music almost every night, a large (yet always packed) back room for enthusiastic Irish-jiggery upon beer-soaked wood floors come weekend nights, and an impressive beers-on-tap menu. That plus an appropriately dimly-lit atmosphere conducive to conversation, Irish brunch on the weekends, and a friendly bar staff makes the Burren's a well-rounded joint. 

J.J. Foley's | South End

3. J.J. Foley's | South End

This ancient, stand-by dive has slowly begun to cater to a more upscale, bistro crowd, but we won't hold it against them. Their interesting riffs on traditional Irish pub fare --like the corned beef and cabbage with cumin-pepper sauce-- are worth dodging a few customers who got lost on their way to Myers & Chang. Dark wood paneling, bartenders outfitted in crisp white shirts harkening back to a simpler time, and the occasional Guiness spilled in your lap all add to the bar's authenticity and personality. 

Lansdowne Pub | Fenway

4. Lansdowne Pub | Fenway

Want a little Irish flair with your sports? Among the vast, and mostly interchangeable, landscape of cavernous sports bars populating Fenway, the Lansdowne stands out as one of the few joints in the 'hood where you won't have to jostle a beer-muscled bro for barspace. Well, depending on the night, anyway. This is Sox territory after all. Good beer selection, live music most nights, and a pretty decent pub menu. Just be sure you don't wander into Tequila Rain by mistake...

Brendan Behan Pub | Jamica Plain

5. Brendan Behan Pub | Jamica Plain

Doesn't get much more authentic than this. Lot's of dark wood, lot's of beer, lot's of old men hunched over their pints at the bar on any given evening. Always a dependable alternative to the nearby Midway, this dive named after the famous Irish author and activist is no frills, no nonsense. Just the way we like it. 

The Squealing Pig | Roxbury

6. The Squealing Pig | Roxbury

Cozy, sometimes bordering on cramped, traditional Irish haven in Roxbury that's always dependable for good tunes, good (and filling) pub fare, and a great beer selection.

And now, the homework assignment. Call it research, if you want. Have yourself a Smithwick with a side of corned beef hash at each one of nominated pubs and then cast your vote for BEST IRISH PUB in this year's Best Poll (you can also write in one we left out). Then, vote for the rest of the 2012 Food & Drink categories. Feeling industrious? You can vote for all your favorite Boston places, people, and things on our complete 2012 ballot.  

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