Two of life’s greatest gifts are dive bars and Irish pubs and while certainly not every Boston dive bar holds an Irish pedigree, the city’s undeniable Irish influence has embedded in its residents a deep love and appreciation for the no-frills drinking that dive bars provide. Blue collar roots, historic buildings, cultural influences from all over the world, all of the makings for a great dive bar atmosphere are present in Boston and can be seen in the options throughout the city.
Of course there are dive bars squarely in the Venn diagram overlap between Irish pub and dive bar, Biddy Early’s
perhaps the best example. The space looks like a hardware store mixed with an Irish pub and there’s really no higher praise for a dive than that. Sligo Pub
in Somerville pulls a similar vibe in a different part of town, a slender 1937 shotgun-style dive in an unassuming strip.
in Cambridge may be the perfect Boston dive bar, a space that looks like a converted family room opened in 1934 and largely left alone every since. This is a small bar in a residential area populated by regulars and locals and it has been that way for decades. Whitey’s Pub or Croke Park
(pick a name) takes that same aesthetic but takes it to Southie, where no sign graces the exterior of the building and yet regulars have been streaming in since 1933.
Boston’s dive bar selections are as diverse as the city’s neighborhoods, including downtown-style dives like Sullivan’s Tap
, the only respectable choice for drinking before or after a Bruins or Celtics game. The story of Boston is a friendly one for the development of dive bars and though the pressures of real estate prices continue to take their toll on Boston’s options, stalwarts exist in every corner of the timeless city.