Food & Drink

The Oldest Bars in Boston

Published On 04/09/2014 Published On 04/09/2014

Boston's been around a while, which means people have been drinking in Boston for a while, which means there are a bunch of amazing old bars that remarkably haven't been destroyed in the aftermath of an uncountable number of crushing sporting defeats (recent successes notwithstanding). To make sure you can chase that beer with some historical gravitas, here are Boston's oldest bars still there for your imbibing pleasure.

Flickr User Merelymel13

Green Dragon Tavern (info and address)

Government Center
Established in 1714, this is a spot where Paul Revere held meetings with the other big-name Sons of Liberty; Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Hancock, Daniel Webster, et al. The Boston Tea Party was planned here, and it's a commonly held belief that the plans for the invasion of Lexington and Concord were overheard in this pub, spurring Paul Revere's famous ride. While this spot isn't in it's exact original location (the OG building no longer exists), the Green Dragon Tavern's history still makes up for its rather conspicuous lack of dragons.

The Warren Tavern

The Warren Tavern (info and address)

This Charlestown haunt gets bragging rights as the oldest tavern in the state. Founded in 1780, The Warren Tavern stands in its original location, nestled in the center of Charlestown, where it was rebuilt after the British Army had burned the town in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Standing downhill from the monument, The Warren Tavern gives you the chance to pull up a seat and drink at the same bar that Paul Revere (the man liked his taverns) and George Washington frequented so many years ago.

Flickr User unReelfx

Bell In Hand Tavern (info and address)

Government Center
The Bell in Hand is the longest continuously operating tavern in the United States, having been built in 1795 by Boston's retired Town Crier. The Town Crier's job was to shout the big news across town, and the original proprietor of the Bell in Hand shouted about the Boston Tea Party, the Declaration of Independence, the impending Battle of Bunker Hill, and of course, the defeat of the British. While the building changed venues in 1844, no history was lost here -- the previous building was where Boston City Hall now stands. Famous patrons include Daniel Webster and... no surprise here... Paul Revere.

Flickr User sneakerdog

Union Oyster House (info and address)

Government Center
Open to ye olde hungry guests since 1826, this spot is the oldest running restaurant in not just Boston, but the United States. Prior to becoming a restaurant, the building served as a dress goods business and printing house. This building has seen some serious history, apart from the standard Kennedy clan; Louis Philippe, King of France from 1830-1848, lived in exile in the Union Oyster House's second floor.

Wikimedia Commons

Jacob Wirth (info and address)

Theatre District
Founded in 1868, this German-American restaurant is one of the oldest in the city (okay, the second oldest). Just across the street from it's original location, the spot landed itself in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. One of Jacob Wirth's big claims to fame was being the first distributor of Anheuser-Busch products -- the families originated from the same town in Germany.

Flickr User Sarah&Boston

Doyle's Cafe (info and address)

Jamaica Plain
A staple to this day (going strong since 1882), this landmark continues to roll through history and collect artifacts along the way. A museum of sorts, this pub is decorated with over 100 Boston-centric artifacts and even an entire room devoted to Boston legend Mayor John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald. Notable guests include John F. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, Thomas Menino, and Bill Clinton. Also, leading authorities have called it one of the best Irish Pubs in America.


Amrheins (info and address)

South Boston
While it may not be the oldest bar in the city (established in 1890), Amrheins is home to the oldest hand-carved bar in all of America as well, as the first draft beer pump in Boston (they probably thought it was just a fad). While the business went through a total renovation, they luckily held onto that beautifully ornate bar."

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1. Green Dragon Tavern 11 Marshall St, Boston, MA 02108 (Govt Center)

The Green Dragon Tavern dates as far back as 1714, and though it's no longer located inside its original building, you won't be disappointed with the atmosphere, the live music, OR the hearty pub food. Try the oysters or some of its Irish Stew.

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2. The Warren Tavern 2 Pleasant St, Boston, MA 02129 (Charlestown)

A favorite watering hole of the likes of Paul Revere and George Washington, The Warren Tavern in Charlestown was rebuilt after the Battle of Bunker Hill, and still stands so you can go and order a cold beer and some delicious pub fare, like the Warren Burger, with grilled Canadian bacon and cheddar cheese.

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3. Bell In Hand Tavern 45 Union St, Boston, MA 02135 (Govt Center)

Bell In Hand Tavern has plenty of tricks up its sleeve -- it's got everything from comforting dishes like clam chowder, to DJ-fueled dance parties, to a record for being the longest continuously run tavern in the US.

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4. Union Oyster House 41 Union St, Boston, MA 02108 (Govt Center)

Ready for this claim to fame? Union Oyster House is the oldest restaurant in America, serving up mussels, chowders, lobster, and (of course) oysters in Government Center since people like Daniel Webster were alive and slurping back shellfish here. Its big, red rooftop sign lights the way like the North Star, a landmark in the neighborhood, leading people to this rustic, buzzy space, where the New England staples (or, as the menu states, "Ye Olde New England Favorites") are a must: steamers, clam chowder, boiled stuffed lobster, baked beans, and Indian pudding.

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5. Jacob Wirth 31 Stuart St, Boston, MA 02116 (Theatre Dist)

Jacob Wirth is a German-American restaurant where you can enjoy a mixed grill of schnitzels and wursts alongside burgers and a great selection of beers to wash it all down.

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6. Doyle's Cafe 3484 Washington St, Boston, MA 02130 (Jamaica Plain)

A Hollywood-blockbuster scene that has been around since 1882 (it feels like a saloon... if you're into that sort of thing), Doyle's plays host to the yearly St. Patrick's Day merriment, serving up standard Irish-American cuisine and lots of beer.

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7. Amrheins 80 W Broadway, Boston, MA 02127-1018 (South Boston)

Home to the oldest hand-carved bar in all of America (the building was established in 1890), Amrheins also had the first draft beer pump (trendsetters!). You can still stop by to watch a game with your friends, enjoy the historic surroundings, and order some comfort food (lobster mac and cheese) and a beer.



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