Night Owl: Pub Grub at MJ O’Connor’s

Six-dollar plates to go with a few beers? Sure. True Irish pub? Probably not.

mj oconnors

Photo by Katie Chudy

Irish pubs are a dime a dozen around Boston, and there’s no shame in that at all. MJ O’Connor’s is an interesting creature because although it feels like the consummate Irish bar, it also feels like someone was trying to build an archetypal version of that typical Irish hideaway. It’s the Irish pub, rendered in Vegas or strip-mall form.

So, why are we here? Because at 10 p.m. the late night menu kicks in, which contains $6 plates of fried pickles, pulled pork sliders, pretzel sticks, and more. The fried pickles are strips—not chips—and a little surface salt could have gone a long way (but the accompanying mild chipotle aioli is still a nice touch). The pretzel sticks are quintessential and buttery in the best way possible. Arriving warm with chunks of salt flecked across the top, they are soft with a pleasant chew, even if they’re paired with a too-spicy Guinness mustard. The pulled pork sliders are presented without a riff but, just like the rest here, are as good as they need to be. Soft pork is all but absorbed by a sticky sauce that probably isn’t much more than bottled barbecue sauce—but the two sliders paired with a heaping of fries is a steal for the asking price.

In sum, although the vibe at MJ O’Connor’s feels more touristy than authentic, the late night bites are affordable—and exactly what you’d want to pair with a few late-night suds.