How to Eat Around Boston Like a Football Fan
You need to visit these places on your next Pats pub crawl.
The mission was simple. Find five great bars to watch the Patriots play the Jaguars and then visit all of them in one day. It wouldn’t be easy and potential dangers like Buffalo sauce in the eye, high-five related palm bruising and indigestion lurked. Knowing I’d never survive on my own, I enlisted my good friend and emergency contact Colin to accompany me. I wasn’t sure he’d opt in. His TV is large and he owns his own couch. But the promise of draft beers and fried food was all it took to sign him up. And so, early Sunday morning on week three of the NFL season, we charted our course and Ubered into the unknown.
First Quarter: Banshee
(Patriots 0, Jaguars 0)
Our day begins in Dorchester with hot black coffee, imperial pints of creamy Guinness and a traditional Irish breakfast, highlighted by snappy bangers, glistening back bacon, and brown bread soaking in baked beans. We carbo-load with an order of pub donuts because we’re both on a pretty strict gluten diet and find seats on the second floor. The downstairs bar is packed with fans wildly celebrating Ireland’s drubbing of Romania in the Rugby World Cup. The excitement is contagious, even if we don’t understand what’s happening in the game. As an Irish bar, the Banshee is primarily a home for European sport(s). But once soccer and rugby are finished for the day, American football takes over the TV screens. “A lot of the soccer supporters are big Patriots supporters as well,” head bartender Jemma McGrenra tells me. “They’ll stay after the [early morning] soccer match and hang around with everyone watching the Patriots.” It’s easy to see the appeal of a Sunday serving of football two-ways.
Second Quarter: Stats
(Patriots 10, Jaguars 0)
When we arrive at Stats, there’s a long line outside. I palm the bouncer a WGBH tote bag and he lets us in a side door. Ok, that doesn’t happen, but we are whisked inside by the lovely manager and order our first Buffaloed item of the day: chicken tenders, which come out nice and firm with a rich house-made blue cheese dressing. Biting Harpoon IPAs accompany mac and cheese fritters, also served with a side of Buffalo sauce (because more is more). The focal point of Stats is the large u-shaped bar where twenty-somethings crush Bud Lights and mimosas while watching the games. “We’re a big Sunday fun-day spot,” owner Andre Statires says. “Our crowd comes here for the games and for the atmosphere. It’s very energetic.” Statires is right about the vibe in here. There’s a palpable buzz as we wait for Tom Brady to throw career touchdown number 400; when he does at the close of the second quarter, the place comes absolutely unglued.
Third Quarter: The Trophy Room
(Patriots 20, Jaguars 3)
We use halftime to get downtown and check out The Trophy Room, located on the ground floor of the Chandler Inn. With exposed white brick walls and elegantly sparse décor, the former Fritz’s certainly adds an element of class to our adventure. We’ve developed a taste for the red stuff and need another fix, so we order house specialty spicy breaded cauliflower “wings” (because we also need our veggies), super fresh Trophy nachos with pulled pork, and the citrusy bite of Jack’s Abby Hopponius Union. “The whole concept of the menu is a new American bar where we take traditional items and put a healthier twist on them,” Executive Chef and General Manager Evan Campbell tells us. “We’re continually trying to play with old classics.” Colin and I start slipping into satisfied food comas, but our fans are counting on us, so we rally with espresso shots and soldier on.
Fourth Quarter: Parlor Sports
(Patriots 37, Jaguars 10)
Parlor Sports tops a lot of lists when people talk sports bars in Boston—and for good reason. The place offers an intimate viewing experience (it’s tiny), a phenomenal beer list and a menu from executive chef Suzi Maitland filled with comfort food that rivals any home-cooked game-day spread. “We send out a lot of wings, pretzels and nachos. We also run brunch, so there will be a lot of egg plates early in the morning,” Maitland says. Colin and I get excited when we notice the pepperoni roll, Parlor’s popular riff on a Hot Pocket, is back on the menu. We get a deliciously greasy order, along with pints of the incomparable Pretty Things Jack D’Or and, of course, an order of Buffalo wings that would sting our lips if we had any feeling left in them. If you’re keeping score at home, it’s Patriots 51, Jaguars 17, Buffalo sauce about a quart.
Post-Game: Olde Magoun’s Saloon
(Final Score: Patriots 51, Jaguars 17)
Magoun’s is located down the street from my apartment, so it’s no accident that I choose this neighborhood pub as our last stop. By now, the Pats have demolished the Jags, but the place is still hopping with fans watching the four o’clock games. Owner Greg Coughlin loves that his bar attracts fans from around the country. “You’ll literally see a jersey from every team that’s playing,” he says. Another major draw of Magoun’s is the 28 tap lines, ten of which are currently committed to Oktoberfests. “It looks like a German beer hall with all the liters coming out from the bar,” Coughlin tells me. Sitting in the dining room, Colin and I grab a few malty liters of Weihenstephaner Festbier, fries coated in spiced curry and one final order of plump, finger-staining Buffalo wings—because we want them, not because we need them. We watch game highlights on one of Magoun’s drop-down HD screens and promise never to eat again.
Around five o’clock, we decide it’s better we no longer be seen in public. We’re bloated and exhausted, but proud of ourselves for completing this gauntlet of gluttony. We pat ourselves on the back, fist bump and take comfort in the knowledge that next week the Patriots are on a bye.
Banshee -934 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester, 617-436-9747 bansheeboston.com
Stats Bar and Grill - 77 Dorchester St., South Boston, 617-268-9300, statsboston.com
Trophy Room Boston - 26 Chandler St., Boston, 617-482-3450, trophyroomboston.com
Parlor Sports - 3 Beacon St., Somerville, 617-576-0231 parlorsportsbar.com
Olde Magoun's Saloon - 518 Medford St., Somerville, 776-2600, magounssaloon.com