In the same way that seasoned drinkers refer to St. Patrick’s Day as “amateur night,” so to does Boston’s Sullivan’s Tap imply that sports fans drinking elsewhere don’t fit into the bar’s slogan of “Where The Real Fans Meet.” On location alone, Sullivan’s Tap (often referred to as Sully’s by locals) can’t be beat for pre- and post-game drinking for any Boston Celtics or Boston Bruins game at nearby TD Garden. There are of course countless spots to grab a game-related drink, but the faded green sign sandwiched between Canal Street storefronts is a siren song for dive bar enthusiasts in the area.
Opened in 1933, Sullivan’s Tap received a scare during a temporary closing in 2018 that came just after it and a number of other Boston dive bars were purchased by the Greater Boston Bar Co. Intentions were mysterious at the time, but since reopening, Sullivan’s Tap and The Tam, another historic dive bar purchased by the same group, have emerged from temporary closure and the COVID-19 pandemic largely intact.
The space is about as straightforward as a dive bar can be, referred to by signage inside as the longest bar in Boston dotted with support posts under drop ceiling tiles. There are stools and a few ledges for drinks, but no tables, ensuring maximum space for gameday festivities. Sullivan’s Tap is cash only and can draw a line out the front door during heavily trafficked game nights, so be prepared.