Taps: 24 / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 39 | Reviews: 37 | Show All Ratings:
3.75/5 rDev -5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
The infamous Doyle's in JP. First off, this place is wayyy out of the way unless you live in Jamaica Plain, and even then. From the center of Boston you're talking 30 minutes to an an hour on the T and even then a bit more walking. This is both a hinderance and a huge plus as it keeps tourists away.
The size of this place is actually daunting. A main room with bar as you enter accompanied by 2 other seating rooms of equal size. You could get lost in this place. Very worn and rustic. A single bar in the first room with lots of old worn booths throughout. Beautiful hand-painted murals adorn the walls and behind the bar. Atmosphere is very cool and old school as well as it's mostly just locals as Tourists seem to have a hard time finding it.
Beer menu is decent with about 2 dozen beers on tap and an equal number in bottles. They also have a cask engine. Beers are basically American micros and macros with a strong lean towards local craft and micro brewers(Sam, Harpoon, etc). Bottles don't venture beyond that, although they did have every variety of Chimay. All beers were extremely fresh (supposedly they get their kegs of sam adams straight from the brewery in JP) and the cask engine was one of the best in the city and was actually served at proper cellar temperature. It's nice to see a cask engine outside of a brewpub.
Food is typical pub grub. Burgers, Sandwiches, appetizers, salads, soup, pizza, english/irish fare, etc. All food was very tasty and held it's own against the beer.
They used to offer free shuttles to this place after you go on the Samuel Adams brewery tour (now they just give you mapped out directions). They pimp themselves out with the tons of T-shirts and stuff, but it's all good, if you've been around since 1882, served every Boston Politician since then, and can brag you were the first bar in the world to serve Sam Adams, well... go for it.
It's out of the way, and it's cash only, but beyond that a nice classic Boston bar that I really don't get out to enough.
06-08-2006 00:24:14 | More by taez555
3.8/5 rDev -3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4
The food is good. The selection of beer is average. So why come here? If you are not from Boston, let me tell you. This is where all the Massachusetts politicians and hacks come to drink. It is like the Rack (down at Faneul Hall) is for the celebrities and jocks. If you are into politics and government in Boston, or Masschusetts, you must make one pilgrimedge here. And we all know drinking and governing go hand in hand.
09-27-2002 11:57:27 | More by bewareOFpenguin
3.83/5 rDev -3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3
Stopped in after our (almost) annual tour of the Sam Adams brewery. Both are a little out of the way, but are really close to the metro line. Completely missed out on the Harpoon brewery tour two years in a row now, mostly because we stayed too long at both the brewery and Doyle's. JP just makes me think of Baltimore, the rowhouses and people seem like long lost cousins.
It has just exactly the type of atmosphere and clients that I enjoy in a bar, not typical, not fake, always changing. That quality alone has it head and shoulders ahead of its peers. Who needs sparkling bathrooms and clean walls when you have a comfortable place, interesting folks, and quality beers?
Has had an interesting mix of good brews on tap. They have already been described in detail during earlier reviews, so I won't bore you. Standard, tasty pub grub to warm you up before making the walk to the subway.
Stop in, it ain't half bad...
12-22-2004 16:19:28 | More by Dithyramb
3.85/5 rDev -2.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
This place is a Boston institution for the reasons already mentioned, but there are other reasons to go there: 1) it's an honest place for decent pizza (and the chowdah in a bread bowl is good too), and a decent selection of beer to wash it down with (approx. 15 beers on tap, generally including a few Sam Adams, some Irish imports, and Anchor Steam); 2) it has a good bar to sit down at and throw back a few; 3) you cannot get Budweiser there--in an interview, the owner said that when he bought the place, he got rid of it and, as a result, the troublemakers don't go there any more; 4) the place has a really good, family-and-beer-drinker-friendly atmosphere, including wise-ass waitresses; 5) it serves as the Boston Beer Company's R&D establishment--you can find interesting Sam Adams products that you won't get anywhere else, and will never see again (b/c the company's research brewery is about eight blocks away); 6) it was the only place in Boston to serve Sam Adams' TripleBock in a full pint glass, even though the waitresses would warn you that "not many people seem to like it"; 7) locals go there--it hasn't succumbed to the tourist trade, even though it sells swag; 8) the J.P. Musty--1/2 Sam Adams lager, 1/2 Sam Adams ale--for some reason it tastes really damned good with a pizza there; and 9) it's laid-back.
In my book, it's right up there with Redbones (for different reasons), and I live a lot closer to Redbones.
07-03-2003 14:39:21 | More by Tchuck
3.85/5 rDev -2.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5
went here after tourning the sam adams brewery for lunch. had a boston leger on draft, as usual the draft was good. the food was good, the atmostphere normal what you would expect, cute waitress with a bostonian accent always helps make the meal more enjoyable. highly democrat crowd, but it is boston ma, it's just the area it's in. good to remember the 1st place to have sam adams on draft, it's been quite a roller coster since then, and it's good to visit where it started. i reccoment going there for the beer if nothing else,
08-04-2004 17:54:17 | More by twi1609372
3.85/5 rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $
Doyle's is classic Boston. I used to live just down the road from this historic bar in JP, which was nice. I never really went to Doyle's for beer though. They have a very generic selection. However, the scotch list is second to none in Boston. The prices are reasonable, and it's such a huge place that it's rarely over-crowded. If you want an historic Boston pub go to Doyles, and have some scotch. If you want a beer and that same or perhaps even better historic "Pub in Boston" feel - go to JJ Foley's Cafe on E Berkeley St (not the same as the JJ Foley's on Kingston St).
09-07-2006 05:59:24 | More by Hollister
3.85/5 rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 2 | $$
I spent my bachelor party in this fine establishment in Jamaica Plain. We first had a couple of rounds at the bar. The bar itself was a long wooden bar that led right from the entrance to some windows looking out to the street. Boston culture/Irish/WWII propaganda memorabilia all lined the walls. Several televisions were also across the bar, making it a cozy, easily accessible area to drink, socialize and watch the game. The restaurant itself seemed to have 3 dining areas: one in front of the bar, another in the middle of the restaurant (which we eventually ate at) and another room in the back. The place was still very crowded, loud and jovial making it a place that seems to be very busy but also will have a seat available for you and your large crowd.
Drinks were various but mainly focused on Sam Adams, the first customer of the Boston Beer Company. They had the Brick Red Ale which they only carry at the moment, along with the seasonal Sam and the Boston Lager.
The biggest disappointment for me was the food. Very typical pub food that had nothing spectacular to it. I wanted the pork/lamb dinner, but they did not have the pork or the lamb. So I had their burger which was very basic. Nachos and buffalo wing appetizers were also typical and actually quite small in portions for the amount of people we had (just 6 of us).
I did see the bill which my best man and groomsmen graciously paid for and seeing we had several rounds of beer, two appetizers and 6 entrees in Boston it seemed pretty reasonable to me (I hope it was to everyone else).
Overall, if I lived in Jamaica Plain, this would be a cool place to go now and again for drinks and socializing.
03-14-2009 14:28:40 | More by fitzy84
3.88/5 rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
This probably tops my list for JP bars since moving out here.
The place is very well lit which equates to family joint/old man bar, so the clientèle spans all age ranges and all types. Definitely not a "cool bar" in the traditional sense. You won't ever get carded here (my friend actually was told to stop taking out her ID when she offered it). My half-informed opinion as to why this is the case is that the place is very old and so well connected with politicians and cops, staging an underage drinking bust would be like shooting yourself in the foot. I mean, Boston mayors have been known to drink here.
No jukebox, and on more than one Friday night visit there's been what I guess you could call a Rick James/James Brown sort of mix going on. This makes for an interesting aural backdrop to a scene of elbow to elbow townies, cougars, jocks and bohemians. Decorations include some very entertaining political posters from the WWII era, along with plenty else to distract your attention in the vastly large main room. They have a small handful of TVs - one or two flat screen, three or four tube. Somewhat hard to see from certain seats, but the place will still fill up a bit more during big game nights.
Wait staff is always friendly and attentive, although understandably a bit more so to the regulars, of which there are many.
Beer selection isn't bad (mostly large production domestic "craft" and macro imports), although aside from Sam's, there isn't a great deal in the way of rotation - at least not compared to other Boston beer bars. This is somewhat expected, though, since a great number of those that frequent the place aren't generally new beer connoisseurs. Speaking of beer, it's all very reasonably priced, with nothing costing over $4.75 in the way of draft. Sam Adam's original brewery (located a few blocks down the street) will sometimes brew a "rare" beer that is served solely at Doyle's. This is a huge treat since it's often super fresh and at times quite cheap. By the way, if you're looking to disrespect beer, boilermakers are under $5. That's drinkin on a budget.
Food is pub fare and has its ups and downs. Prices are moderate. Veggies that accompany your entree are always of the canned or frozen variety, but they do some things - steak tips and shepard's pie - very well. Burgers are solid, but sometimes overcooked from a requested "medium." The chili is killer good, and the pizzas are decent but nothing to write home about. A bit too doughy for me.
I truly believe this place has something for everyone. Plenty in the way of cheap hard stuff for non-beer drinkers is available, as well as a very sizable tour of Scottish distilleries. They even have one of those Island Oasis machines for icy drinks. For heavy nights, the 12:30 closing time means you still have time to stumble over to Costello's on Centre and finish quenching your thirst for the night.
Great for a burger and a beer. Great for a slightly cheaper night out with friends.
04-29-2008 03:32:59 | More by sawbones420
3.88/5 rDev -1.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$
this place is an icon and a must try at least once. sit on the "original" side where the bar is situated...the expansion with a restaurant add-on is like a whole different place. I lived in the neighborhood for years and this was my bar. remember when the elevated subway line ran past the facade and we got together new years eve when owner Eddy Burke screened movies on a projector. the barside interior is like stepping back into the 30's and 40's, WWII posters on the wall, an old menu with tiny prices plus the barroom has beautiful painted murals that were cleaned a few years ago and are outstanding. tap and bottle selection has something for everyone, the food is mediocre, this is a cash only place and you go there for the ambiance not the food or a 100 tap beer selection. patrons are a mix of all city types. be sure to use the parking lot behind the building not the street.
03-25-2009 19:14:01 | More by Pondfish
3.9/5 rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3
Interesting, original offerings with cask Sam Adams Bitter and Doyle's Pickwick Ale (brown). Solid local Sams and Harpoons and other regional brews. Not a ton of beer, but all real good. Also, a huge whiskey and single-malt selection. The spread is dark, dusty (in the good way) and sprawling, most of which is restaurant boothes. The service is pleasant and attentive. The food itself was not great. Well worth a trip. Cheers!
03-24-2002 16:47:18 | More by BillyBrew
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Doyle's Cafe in Jamaica Plain, MA
89 out of 100 based on 39 user ratings.