My great-grandfather, Cornelius Daily, was a professional catcher for the Boston Beaneaters. Along with his teammates (Cooperstown Hall of Famer Michael “King” Kelly was one), the predominantly Irish Beaneaters baseball team gave Irish Boston something to cheer about in the late 19th century. And you can bet that, off the field, these players frequented Boston’s saloons for spirits and spirited conversation about their homeland. Remarkably, some of those spots are still standing in Boston.
Here’s a lineup of some of Beantown’s favorite taverns, pubs, and restaurants for digging into a traditional corned beef and cabbage boiled dinner and raising a pint of Guinness to toast Boston’s proud Irish connection to the Emerald Isle.
Dating to 1882, this Jamaica Plain saloon gets its corned beef from Boston Brisket in Newmarket Square. “We will serve corned beef and cabbage beginning Tuesday, the 15th, until we run out,” says owner Gerry Burke. Guinness Stout will be the beer of the day on St. Patrick’s Day, and live music will be performed by the Fenian Sons. The Boston Police Gaelic Column of Pipes and Drums will perform in the early evening. www.doylescafeboston.com
J.J. Foley’s Cafe
“Should be quite a weekend in Boston,” says Mike Foley, manager of this South End pub. “With St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday and wrapping up with the parade on Sunday, a great weekend for the Irish.”
The recipes for traditional St. Patrick’s Day meals at J.J. Foley’s have been passed down through the generations, says Foley. Expect traditional boiled corned beef, potatoes, and carrots, along with a corned beef sandwich and homemade Irish brown bread, too. Also, Irish boiling bacon (more like a ham), another traditional St. Paddy’s Day dinner, will be served with potatoes and vegetables. There’ll be Guinness, of course, and a jukebox that will crank Irish tunes. The kitchen will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., “We hopefully don’t run out early,” says Foley. www.jjfoleyscafe.com
The Black Rose
You’ll get corned beef and a brogue at this pub in Faneuil Hall. The Black Rose is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and has hosted presidents and other notables. U2 once performed a “secret show” here. On St. Patrick’s Day, doors open at 8 a.m., for a traditional lrish breakfast and music by Christian McNeil. The first 100 celebrants will receive an engraved Guinness pint glass. Later, dig into a traditional corned beef dinner that will be served all day. Live music performances by Sundays Well and Celtic Clan begin at 1 p.m. and Radio BDC will broadcast live with Guinness giveaways. Black Rose is celebrated for its impressive Irish whiskey selection (40 brands) and “whiskeys you generally can’t get anywhere else in town,” such as Jameson 12 ($44 a shot). www.blackroseboston.com
Grafton Street Pub & Grill
Named for the popular cobblestoned shopping district in Dublin, Grafton Street pub in Cambridge rolls out a St. Patty’s Day menu each year including corned beef and cabbage braised in apple cider, onion, and cider vinegar, glazed carrots, and baby new potatoes; Guinness beef stew with root vegetables; and shepherd’s pie with braised lamb, peas, carrots and mashed potatoes. Grafton’s tenured bartender, Ireland native Paul Barry, will pour the “perfect pint” of Guinness or a glass of favorite Irish whiskeys, including Glendalough Poitin and Tullamore Dew. www.graftonstreetcambridge.com
M.J. O’Connors Park Plaza
Top of the morning to you with a traditional Irish breakfast at this modern Back Bay Irish pub — eggs any style, Irish sausage, Irish bacon, black & white pudding, grilled tomato, Batchelors beans and toast. Or, come just for the traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner and to hear the Martin Macatee Band, which will play from 4 to 9 p.m. www.mjoconnors.com
The Green Briar
This old school Irish pub in Brighton has the longest running traditional Irish seisiun in Boston — 26 years. And, yes, you can expect a meal of corned beef and cabbage, too, and live music from Lake Shore Drive beginning at 1:30 p.m. www.greenbriarpub.com
Ned Devine’s Boston
Down a pint with slow-braised corned beef, boiled potatoes, steamed cabbage, carrots, turnip, and whole grain whiskey mustard sauce. Music all day includes the Patsy Whelan Band from noon to 5 p.m. www.neddevinesboston.com
Laurie Wilson can be reached at email@example.com.