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First Draft

One of the oldest, most authentic Irish bars

foleys1Photo: Cara Brostrom


wned by the same family since 1909—you’ll find the white-shirted men of the third and fourth generations pouring you a shot or a Guinness right behind the bar, alongside employees who number their years of service in the decades—J.J. Foley’s (there are two locations) remains an authentic Irish pub worth heading off the beaten path to find. The interiors of these friendly bars have changed little, even as the surrounding neighborhoods have been transformed, but the regulars keep coming, including politicians, off-duty cops, and newspaper reporters after wrapping up their deadlines. With its wood paneling, exposed brick, and pressed-tin ceiling, the original Foley’s (never call it J.J.’s) on East Berkeley Street claims to be the oldest family-owned bar in the country. It certainly beats the chains and pretenders in the more heavily trafficked precincts of this burg. Both locations also now serve hearty pub food in huge portions at reasonable prices. The Kingston Street spinoff has one of the town’s best jukeboxes, and occasional live music, usually with no cover. And, yeah, they’ll mix you a cocktail or pour you a chardonnay, but this place is really about shots and beers. Healy



Faye Hall, upstairs from the original J.J. Foley’s, was the Boston Police union hall, where members voted in 1919 to go on strike for better pay and working conditions. They lost the resulting standoff with Governor Calvin Coolidge, whose stubborn resistance to the police demands helped propel him to the presidency.