To get the Chicago “experience” you have to get some deep dish pizza. Quintessential San Francisco could mean oysters at Fisherman’s Wharf. In New York, a hot dog at Katz’s would do it. And around Boston? Obviously, it’s the Irish pub.
There may be ones with trendier menus and more polished decors, but for pure authenticity you’ll be hard pressed to top the Eire Pub.
A Dorchester fixture for half a century, the Eire is fiercely and proudly old-school. Its menu is written on chalkboards. Its bartenders are celebrated with their own website portraits. The political brawls that have taken place at the Eire over the decades — rhetorical, not physical, for the most part — are legendary.
Even locals who have never set foot inside the Eire know pieces of its storied history. President Ronald Reagan made a well-publicized, if unscripted, visit here in January 1983 (a wall plaque commemorates the occasion). Bill Clinton dropped by, too, and asked for a Diet Coke. Outgoing Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern visited in 2008 — and obligingly drained a glass of Bass, bless the good man.
Star athletes and photo-op-seeking pols try and burnish their blue-collar creds just by walking through the door.
Celebrity sightings aside, the Eire also has what anyone would want in an authentic Irish pub: a large, U-shaped bar offering 11 beers and ales on tap, like Smithwick’s and Harp; hearty fare (burgers, sandwiches, soups); 11 TVs tuned to the game or news of the moment; signed sports jerseys (Schilling and Pedro are there); and a lack of pretension so untrendy, it could almost pass for trendy. Almost.
JOSEPH P. KAHN