Doyle's Cafe

Doyle's CafeDoyle's Cafe
Doyle's CafeDoyle's Cafe
Bar, Eatery

3484 Washington St
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, 02130-2602
United States

// CLOSED //

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 55 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

An early arrival in Beantown before the 05HopHeadThrowDown gave me the opportunity to spend a few days wandering around before the all-day festivities that awaited at TPH on the Saturday. Home for the weekend was at fellow BA’s Carmen & (Joe) 36PoundLoveChild in Jamaica Plains; so as my hosts were busy working on the afternoon of my 1st day, I arranged to meet Todd A. at the legendary F.J.Doyle’s Cafe. It was a reasonably brisk 20 min. walk from where I was staying, compounded by the searing Sunshine & the occasional sporadic detour in areas that resembled shite bombed Beirut, but soon F.J.Doyle & Co. featured on the horizon as I perambulated close by.

The exterior has a natural feel about it, an old style lamppost looks at home in front of the exposed red brick walls which mix nicely with dark green painted windows & backboards, which in turn neatly show off the gold lettering that proudly states “F.J.Doyle & Co.” Has the appearance of a neighborhood Irish bar about it. The entrance is actually around the corner on Williams Street; 3rd time lucky for me as there are also 2 other doors on Washington, both are locked but only the 2nd one redirects you to the side entrance, which is where the Parking Lot is also.

I could smell the heritage of this bar as I stepped into the covered side entranceway long before I even opened the interior door. It was about 4pm when I got there & the Sun was streaming in through the thick glass blocked windows. It created a spiritual feel as I entered; the particulate matter in the air seemingly suspended & frozen in time by the Suns rays– incredibly befitting of a Bar that has over 100 years of service. I walked slowly to the Bar, thinking I was the first to arrive; the place was a little quiet & imparted a real lazy afternoon feel to the well-worn interior. As such, Doyle’s instantly relaxed me & I felt immediately at home as soon as entered into here.

The long wooden saloon-like bar runs down the left as you enter, thankfully the only Cowboy at the bar was the BA “Dad” quietly enjoying a Pint before I interjected. Tables & chairs are placed in good space at the front of the bar area, whilst further along the Washington Street side, a more neatly arranged restaurant space parades back into the adjoining building. A mixture of comfy seats & dark wooden tables lend an Olde Worlde feel, but it is definitely not forced. Décor is genuine; a plethora of WW2 memorabilia, colorful yet faded advertisements from long-gone Breweries, orange hued newspaper clippings from generations past & some interesting old signage from Ireland. These bric-a-brac arrangements are charming, juxta-posed with a natural antique look, untouched (uncleaned?) for years, but that is not a bad thing here. Many of the interior fittings & varnished surfaces are lovingly well-worn - not a criticism, but a complement to the fact that Doyle’s doesn’t change to accommodate modern fads or refurbish on a frequent basis to current themes– Thankfully. Only a small unobtrusive smoke stained TV above the Bar reminds you that it is 2005.

The Beer range has been adequately described before, so to summarize it tops around 24 draft offerings; the full range caters for all, a smattering of well-known macros & imports. Of more note to me were the locally produced Harpoon & Sam Adams offerings, the latter often releases specials brewed at the nearby test plant in here I am told. My eyes lit up as I noted 3 Angram Beer Engines at the end of the bar, but sadly none of them were in operation during my visit- shit! A limited but decent enough bottle range is also available, check the Menu for details.

I started at the Bar with a Pint, the service was warm & very welcoming indeed, the banter easily flowed with the lovely woman behind the bar. After Mr & Mrs. A. arrived we all took a table in front the Bar; the service remained attentive & fun. I decided to grab an Appetizer, I plucked for the Potato Skins with Bacon & Cheese, damn tasty to boot & a good sized portion for a Starter. Todd’s Clam Chowder looked awesome.

In short this is a great place; it has been around since 1882 – oh if this place could talk! I returned here with many other BA’s after the excellent BA tour of the nearby Sam Adams JP Brewery & finished the night here, I didn’t want to stop drinking or go home.

Well worth the trek out here if you are staying downtown, the Orange line will get you close enough to keep it down to a 10 min. walk. This Tavern-cum-Saloon-Irish Bar-Locals Pub benefits from a legendary status many bars would die for, but it is a well earned reputation, for it is a place that successfully manages to serve a great range of changing brews & balance it with a little bit of history in an exceptional comfy aura. Drinking in here is like pulling on your favorite old clothes after a long hard day at work in a stuffy Shirt & Tie.

Highly Recommended!

Last Visit – Thursday 21st July, 2005

Aug 05, 2005
More User Reviews:
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smcolw from Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

This is a quintessential Boston pub, traditional style with lots of townies. You'll find plenty of conversations around Boston sports and politics.

The service is fast and very informal. Plenty of humor throughout.

The food is mostly sandwiches and burgers. My Reuben featured corned beef cut with the grain, making it very chewy.

The beer selection is wide ranging but common larger craft brewers.

Sep 08, 2018
Photo of costanzo_mike
costanzo_mike from Massachusetts

4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Jan 03, 2016
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Best_Enjoyed_In_Texas from Texas

4.55/5  rDev +13.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Nov 09, 2015
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trevorpost from Massachusetts

3.39/5  rDev -15.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Mar 25, 2015
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AdamTebbs from Oklahoma

4.54/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Hope you like Sam Adams beers because at Doyles they love it. Visited after a Sam tour and had a blast. Great food, friendly staff and of course awesome Sam Adams beer.

Feb 13, 2015
Photo of dkelly3

5/5  rDev +24.4%

Nov 17, 2014
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LutherBrau from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Sep 03, 2014
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kevintaraross from Maryland

4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Sep 01, 2014
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Sellen from Connecticut

4/5  rDev -0.5%

Jul 24, 2014
Photo of Themonstahdad

5/5  rDev +24.4%

Jul 05, 2014
Photo of doremite
doremite from Vermont

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

May 29, 2014
Photo of portia99
portia99 from Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

May 24, 2014
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Davepoolesque from Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

May 23, 2014
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ricknelson from Vermont

4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

The best way to see Doyle's is to first go to Sam Adams (Boston Beer Co) and do their brewery tour. Easy to get to on "T" Red Line; head toward Forrest Hills and get off at Stoney Brook station. It's just a very short walk (follow the signs) to the brewery. Then after the tour of Sam's and having a few great beers; go outside and hop on the Doyle's Shuttle bus. What a fun short ride from Sam's to Doyle's; and it's FREE!!!
Once inside Doyle's you will have plenty of options on where to sit. It's a massive bar, and food is great. Good beer selection, and if you saved your Sam's tour ticket you get to keep your beer glass.
After a fun time at Doyle's you have short walk to the "T" Red Line. Once out the door walk straight across the street on Williams St, walk a block, turn right onto Amory, go to Green St "T" station.

Apr 12, 2014
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dental from Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Apr 09, 2014
Photo of jwps214
jwps214 from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -0.5%

Mar 03, 2014
Photo of IPAchris
IPAchris from Pennsylvania

4.75/5  rDev +18.2%

Dec 02, 2013
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Mybeercanbeatupyourbeer from Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Nov 12, 2013
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EBeckett3 from New Jersey

4.14/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

My local for many years. I remember when it was one room with the elevated outside its front door. The Burke Bros. (Billy, Gerry & Eddie) set the standard and young Gerry is the best and most gracious host you could have. Now famous as the location in many films & TV productions, e.g., Mystic River, Boston Public, Chris Matthews, et al.

Atmosphere: Throwback perhaps, but truly a place where everyone in the community is welcome. Great history and a venerable political watering hole. As far as quaffing goes, difficult to find a better feel. Go in alone, with a group, on a date or for an event, affable and low key. For me, a second living room. Yes, I have a strong bias here.

Quality and Selection: always had a good tap list with better known crafts, British, Irish and Boston breweries featured, particularly Boston Beer Co.(Sam Adams) located right around the corner. Sam Adams standards and "experiments", Harpoon, Tremont, Smuttynose, Doyle's Pickwick Ale, as well as many cask offerings sampled first here. Fantastic single malt & bourbon selection as well.

Service: As I wrote above, this was my local & many of the servers were neighbors. In the 30+ years I've been frequenting and recommending the place, I've had nor heard any complaint. Seen lots of folks, not just regulars, get a pizza after the kitchen was officially closed and have marveled when tough customers got kid glove service from the staff. Love their weekend brunch too.

Food: Pub grub served with a nod and a wink as well as a smile. Vegetarian friends always happy with the offerings, especially the meatless reuben! If you're looking for clam chowder in a bread bowl, a new England boiled dinner, scrod, burgers, pizza, etc. you can't go wrong.
Prices are fair - no gouging or added charges.

Aug 20, 2013
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SerialTicker from Michigan

4.31/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.5

I went here after the Sam Adams Brewery tour when I was in Boston last summer. Doyle's seems to get somewhat mixed reviews, but I had a great experience.

Atmosphere: Just looks like an Irish pub, with a bunch of memorabilia hanging around. Surprisingly big, as well.

Quality: There are a decent number of taps (don't know what the exact number is), with a good number of them being Sam Adams, including some Boston-area only beers by them.

Service: People seem to think the service isn't all that great, but we went in at about 11:30 or so on a Friday (maybe a Saturday...?) and there were very few people there. The bartender was nice, and the waiter was as well -- he even paid for one of my dad's beers. Made small talk, and were very attentive.

Selection: I don't know the number of taps that Doyle's has, but I remember seeing a single row of about six -- I'm not positive if there are more. The list seemed to be pretty decent, with, as I said, a few Boston-only beers.

Food: Excellent. Best clam chowder I've ever had (I've had it at about a half dozen places), the reuben sandwich was awesome, and the sweet potato fries were fantastic... it seems like a lot of people think the food's pretty average, but I was impressed.

Must visit in Boston. Go to the brewery first and take the trolly on over. Great experience.

May 17, 2013
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Cavanaghty from Maine

4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Great place!! Sam Adams of course first sold their beer here. Good service for a Irish Pub in Boston. Good Irish/American/English comfort foods. We went after a tour of the Sam Adams Brewery and it was the perfect ending to a beer tour in Boston. It is your typical Irish Bar and Pub, which really gave it a great atmosphere. If you go you must get the Sam Adam Boston Brick Red, they only sell it in Boston on tap, and what better place to get it than there!

Oh and you get to keep your Sam Adams glass with any Sam Adams beer on tap you buy!

May 02, 2012
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greenengineer from Massachusetts

4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

How can you not love Doyle's, the quintessential Irish pub in Boston? I was there on a recent Thursday night, celebrating the end of the New England Runner Pub Series.

The food is classic pub grub. Nothing gourmet but all decent, and at a good price. The beer selection is pretty good, but since this is Sam Adams "home" pub, you probably want one of the Sam Adams varieties on draft. That or a pint of Doyle's Pickwick Ale.

But what you are really here for is the atmosphere. The walls ooze history, with mementos of James Michael Curley and the Kennedys featured highly. It's a friendly place, and a nice place to hoist a pint or two.

Dec 11, 2011
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IHC from Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +24.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I love this place. For an authentic irish feel of old boston this place is a must! JFK's presidential poster is still on the wall!! The food is great here and it's pretty inexpensive. Also, if you take the tour of the Sam adam's brewery and bring the ticket with you they'll give you a free sam adams glass with your first sam's beer. It's a pretty good way start off your day in boston if you ask me!! Also this place is less then 5 min walk from MBTA so quick access to other parts of the city is available.

Dec 08, 2010
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tigg924 from Massachusetts

3.7/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

Doyle's Cafe is first and foremost a local bar with a ton of atmosphere. The inside takes you back in time with its quaint charm. If you are looking for a wide variety of beer besides Sam Adams, Harpoon, Sam Smith, and macro, this is probably not the place for you. It should be noted that Doyle's does have two house beers which are tasty. While the beer is fresh, Doyle's sticks to the tried and true. The service is friendly and helpful. The prices are inexpensive. $3 for house brew, and most beers are less than $5. The food is very good. The veggie burgers here are some of the tastiest I have had at a bar. That alone has kept me coming back thinking this place is a treat. Overall, Doyle's is an excellent local Boston bar...just do not expect to be bowled over by the draft list.

Dec 06, 2010
Doyle's Cafe in Jamaica Plain, MA
Place rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 55 ratings