As real estate prices continue to surge in major cities, the urban neighborhood dive bar is an endangered species, making the persistence of Boston’s Croke Park impressive. Also and often referred to as Whitey’s, Whitey’s Pub or previously Whitey’s Place (so much so that the official name might as well be Croke Park/Whitey’s), Croke Park embodies a slice of South Boston that has all but vanished as the once revered Southie neighborhood has been slowly and steadily claimed by upscale housing, dining and drinking options.
That slow transition creates a phenomenon at dive bars like Croke Park where the crowd increasingly transitions from neighborhood regulars to affluent hipsters checking a dive bar atmosphere off of their bucket list. Nonetheless, Croker Park / Whitey’s stands unfazed, still a hub of free pool, inexpensive drinks (by Boston standards) and an outright refusal to sully the exterior of the building with a sign or name of the bar.
Similarly named to Gaelic sport hub Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland, this is an Irish dive bar in spirit, evidenced by the occasional Irish flag or Guinness mention inside. A few coats of paint cover what was once a scrawled and scribbled set of wood panels along the walls, but kept intact is the feeling of walking into a sparse room under green ceiling tiles, random sports trophies along one wall and a small bar along the other. The self-proclaimed “Boston’s #1 Dive Bar” lays strong claim to the title in spite of the encroaching pressures that surround its prime South Boston location.