Hidden Gems: How to Avoid the Crowds on St. Patrick’s Day, Part 2

You won’t be able to get into the most popular Irish pubs this weekend. Try these instead.

Welcome to Hidden Gems, where local food blogger Marc Hurwitz (of Hidden Boston and Boston Restaurant Talk) spotlights off-the-beaten-path, under-the-radar restaurants.

Last year, on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, we checked out four lesser-known Irish pubs in and around Boston, including Tavern in the Square in Charlestown (although some insist it’s in Somerville), the laid-back O’Leary’s in Brookline, the closet-sized Hillside Pub in Canton, and the cozy James’s Gate in Jamaica Plain. Now, we’re taking a look at four other hidden watering holes to help you avoid the crowds come March 17.

Porter Belly's Pub

Porter Belly’s Pub in Brighton. Photo courtesy of Facebook/Porter Belly’s Pub.

Porter Belly’s Pub, 338 Washington St., Brighton, 617-254-3300, porterbellyspub.com

One of the charms of many Irish pubs is the fact that there can be lots of nooks and crannies, and maybe even a “snug” (a small private seating area). Such is the case with an under-the-radar spot in Brighton Center called Porter Belly’s, which is mainly a hangout for locals in this part of Boston, though some college students know about the place as well. This pub is actually part of a local restaurant group that includes Devlin’s (next door), the Warren Tavern in Charlestown, and Barlow’s in South Boston, although it has the feel of an independent drinking spot with a stone exterior, the aforementioned snug by the entrance, and a dark, atmospheric feel throughout. Pub grub is offered here of course, but the real standout is the char-grilled burger, which can be ordered with a variety of toppings.

The Snug, 116 North St., Hingham, 781-749-9774, snugpub.com

Speaking of snugs, there is a place on the South Shore with just that name, and it happens to reside in one of the most attractive town centers in all of New England. Located in Hingham, The Snug is a family-friendly place that is housed in a structure that dates back to the 1820s. You can almost feel the history inside the small but comfortable space.  The bar area is a good place to mingle with locals, as the bartenders know most folks who are seated (or standing) on a first-name basis. The dining area is relatively quiet, though expect the noise level to increase just a bit when the live music begins. The menu at The Snug offers a mix of American and Irish classics, with highlights including fish and chips, steak tips, and pastrami.

Stewart’s Pub, 140 Jefferson Ave., Everett, 617-381-0563, stewartspub.com

Everett is not exactly known as restaurant (or bar) central, but if you look hard enough, you can find some nice spots. One such place is a rather plain-looking dining and drink spot called Stewart’s Pub, which sits in the heart of what some call “steak tip country,” an area of Everett and Chelsea known for the dish. Stewart’s happens to be one of them, with steak tips that rival those of the nearby NewBridge Cafe (a Chelsea spot that is often considered the best) and turkey tips that might even be better. Well off the beaten track, this is mainly a drinking spot for locals. Its one room is rather Spartan, so unless you are eating at the bar itself, you (and your back) might not want to spend too many hours here.

The Field, 20 Prospect St., Cambridge, 617-354-7345, thefieldpub.com

It’s no secret that Cambridge has a number of popular Irish pubs including Tommy Doyle’s in Kendall Square, Grafton Street in Harvard Square, and The Temple Bar between Porter Square and Harvard Square. But several lesser-known pubs can be found in the city as well, including a neighborhood joint just outside of Central Square called The Field, which wouldn’t look out of place in, say, Dublin, Cork, or Galway. A place to go for a pint and a shot—or perhaps a game of darts, pool, and some live music—The Field is a no-frills drinking place with a menu that includes such items as sandwiches, wings, and nachos. The food is very inexpensive, though be aware that this pub is cash-only (it does have an ATM on the premises).