Classic Southie Dive Croke Park Is One of Esquire’s Best Bars in America

And Drink is inaugurated into the Best Bars’ Hall of Fame.

Croke Park

Croke Park. / Photo by Marc Hurwitz / Hidden Boston

In a quickly-changing Southie, Croke Park (also known as Whitey’s) is proudly unpretentious. It frequently tops lists of ultimate dive bars in Boston, with ultra-cheap drinks, free pool, colorful regulars, and no-frills, er, ambiance.

Though Esquire magazine’s drinks editor David Wondrich has made no secret of his love for Boston’s dive bars, we didn’t really expect to see the West Broadway hole-in-the-wall on his roundup of Best Bars in America this year. But that’s exactly where it is. Croke Park joins the likes of Danny Meyer’s Porchlight, Cane & Table in New Orleans, Leyenda, the Latin-inspired Brooklyn gem from bartender Ivy Mix, and yes, a few other dives, on the 2016 Best Bars in America list.

In his write-up, Wondrich says he discovered Croke Park through some of Boston’s bartenders.

“I do my best to exercise good—okay, goodish—judgment when I’m touring barrooms, but every once in a while, a gear slips a tooth and dosages get miscalculated. Whitey’s is a slipped tooth,” he writes. “I have dim memories of having an excellent time—doing big shots of Irish whiskey, writing on the walls, rolling dice, joking around with the regulars.”

Sounds about right. He’s really, actually been there!

The list highlights a drink to order at every nominated bar—a bourbon sour laced with malbec here, “a gin-and-port stunner” there. At Croke Park, it’s “nothing fancy.” Again, nail on head.

But Boston’s high-end bars don’t go unnoticed in Esquire‘s June/July issue. Drink, an entrant on the Best Bars in America list in 2009, was inducted into Esquire’s Hall of Fame this year for general excellence.

Wondrich and his editors set out to include a wide range of upscale and lowbrow bars on its annual list, focusing on places that guests just simply seem to enjoy. In this year’s introduction, Wondrich writes, “When you’re seated on a barstool, whether it’s in Seattle or Sarasota, Salem or San Ysidro… it looks like these bars are the anti-Internet, bringing (young) people together and rebuilding a society, one martini or beer back at a time, that has kind of come apart at the seams.”

When the revolution starts, we know where we’re holing up. Cheers, Croke Park.

268 W. Broadway, South Boston, 617-606-5971, crokeparkwhiteys.com.

  • Joe Reaves

    Spent two of the best years of my life tending bar in this place. Learned how to box in the basement. Learned how to use it on the sidewalk out front. The rest I’ll take to my grave out of respect for the owner.