The Burren

The BurrenThe Burren
The BurrenThe Burren
Bar, Eatery

247 Elm St
Somerville, Massachusetts, 02144-2934
United States

(617) 776-6896 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 33 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of scxcrunner
scxcrunner from Massachusetts

3.96/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.25

good food with friendly staff. beer list is hit or miss and a few times have received sour beer I'm guessing from dirty tap lines. not a bad place to stop but there are lots of great options in Davis so we often look elsewhere.

Jan 03, 2016
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smcolw from Massachusetts

3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.25 | food: 3.75

I've been told by a friend (and self proclaimed expert of Irish Stouts) that the Burren pours the very finest pint of Guinness in the Boston area. My pint was indeed well poured and quite good.

There is nearly nightly, informal entertainment. I would say this is a bar for the experience of Irish authenticity. I say that it is far better, and certainly more local, than the offerings in the Faneuil Hall area.

The food is a cross between traditional Irish and typical American pub fare. It's different enough to be fun but mainstream enough to be non threatening.

There are not many drafts and they are of the large craft offerings. So you won't find anything new, but everything offered seems to be of the upper end of the industry.

If you are visiting Boston, Davis Square is often overlooked. It's a local place bordering Tufts University. There's definitely a Bohemian/San Francisco vibe. With Redbones BBQ down the street, you could definitely make a great afternoon out of your visit.

Jul 20, 2014
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neophilus from Massachusetts

3.53/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 2.5 | food: 3

True Irish Pub atmosphere, no TV's at the bar. Walls covered with eclectic mix of Irish memorabilia. Rough wooden bar, worn and well loved floor. Large room in the back with a stage for live music. The bar really has a sense of history. The tables are warm and inviting.

Beer selection is good enough, leans heavily on Sam Adams/Harpoon/Imports. Not a lot of outside-the-box craft offerings. Absolutely perfect pours of Guinness, so if you want a Guinness you want to be here. Decent Whiskey selection.

Most bartenders I've met are Irish, so they have that going for them as well. Food is decent pub fare. Overall good place, and really great when you feel the need to get away from trendy sports bar/bistro combos and you want to find a place that feels more down to earth.

Dec 16, 2011
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YonderWanderer from Colorado

3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3

A nice, local Irish bar right in Davis Square. Great place to go for a beer after work, or to hit on a night out. The beer selection is average, but the Guinness is always fresh and tasty. If the front room is crowded, make your way into the back room. Except for weekend nights, the back room is usually less crowded and easier to get a beer in. Price is average for the type of bar and location. They typically have live music on the weekend, and sometimes during the week as well. If you're in Davis, it's worth a stop in.

Jul 31, 2007
Photo of albern
albern from Massachusetts

3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

If you're in Davis Square, The Burren is a very cool place to poke your head in. It is often quite crowded, but if you hit it just right, you have a nice front room with a decent sized bar with a decent selection. I've always opted for the very fresh Guinness ... how could you not at an Irish bar. Maybe it's me, but I always think the Guinness tastes that much better in this type of ambience. If you want more selection, cross the street and go to Redbones. If you want to take something home, go to Elm Street liquors which has the best beer selection in MA. I've only had a limited selection of food here so my opinions are limited. This used to be a horribly smoky bar, but with the anti smoking ordinances, this is a delightful place to hang out.

Jul 28, 2007
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morebeergood from Massachusetts

3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3

This was the last stop on our Sunday afternoon Sox pub crawl. Just came in for a quick one. It was pretty dark inside, no tvs anywhere. But there were some Irish musicians going at it with the fiddles, and some little girls step dancing, so that was pretty entertaining. The beer selection was average, nothing to write home about. I had a Fullers ESB bottle and the wife had a Leinie Sunset Wheat. Service was good and the crowd was pretty laid back. This is a cool place to hang out if you want the Irish pub feel, definitely. Just don't come looking for a knockout selection of beers.

May 01, 2007
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bkett01 from Massachusetts

3.44/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5

This place get's two #1's from me:
-Best Irish Bar in and around Boston that I have been to
-Best Pint of Guinness

While this place is not a craft beer bar by any means, it's got a great atmosphere and the live entertainment is tough to beat. Seperated into two bars in one building with a large front bar with booths and a "back room" which boasts a stage for live performances along with a smaller bar. My visit was interesting in that there was a 5 year old girl dancing her own form of an irish jig in the front bar to the live music, while basically everyone was cheering her along all in good fun. Definitely a first, but entertaining, and all in good fun nonetheless.

I ventured into the back bar and got a seat at the bar where I watched three different bands perform throughout the night. Great entertainment, and while I'm not a huge Guinness fan, they truly taste better there than I've had them anywhere else. If you're looking a good Guinness, live music, and a true Irish Bar experience, look no further.

Sep 05, 2006
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sinistrsam from Maryland

3.79/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

It doesn't get more Irish than this; a wonderful large Irish bar right off Davis square, which features live music every night of the week. Upon walking in on say, a Thursday night, you notice the place is already jammed; traditional Irish music comes from a booth crammed with 4 or 5 people playing fiddles and guitars, which seems comical until you really listen and stop looking at them packed in there like sardines.
Pretty typical British/Irish/local beer fare, and it isn't terribly cheap but its Boston, you'll have that.
The back opens up around 10:30 and damned if there isn't a larger area complete with stage and back bar for a live band. This is more over-band kind of stuff, but Tuffs University is right there and they need somewhere to hear Journey covers. Good times, regardless. Its tough to get a beer sometimes and the place gets absolutely jammed, despite a cover to just get in the door.
Overall a great place to check out evrey once in a while, but being a regular might get expensive.

Jun 30, 2006
Photo of bjohnson
bjohnson from Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 5

If you love traditional Irish music and great Irish food, this is the place to go. They have great music in the front room on weekdays after 10. The food is awesome (Bangers and Mash is my favorite choice), but the service lacks a bit. Granted it is a pretty large place, but the wait staff sometimes give off the impression that they just don't want to be there. Although I say I'm not a big fan of Guiness, the Burren is the place that I love knockin them back. It is always packed on the weekends so get there early so as to not pay the cover for the band in the back room!

Sep 28, 2005
Photo of LPorter33
LPorter33 from Massachusetts

3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4

From what I've been told from a couple of authentic sources originally from Ireland, this is as real an Irish pub as you'll find in Boston. Great atmosphere. I adore the Irish music they play up front. Food is above average bar grub which I can't complain about in the least. Service is OK, nothing spectacular although adequate enough. I wasn't very impressed with the beer selection to be honest. When I went in early March 05 they didn't have much better than a Smithwicks, Harpoon IPA, and a Hoegaarden. Not a place I'd go to specifically for the beer, but most certainly a place I'd return to for a social gathering or party.

Jun 21, 2005
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taez555 from Vermont

3/5  rDev -17.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3

The Burren in Davis Square is located right along the main strip on Elm Street.

Walking in off the street the bar is along the right side with tables and booths to the left. The back room/hallway has additional seating and there’s also a function room in the way back through a closed door. Dark and woody with lots of old “nostalgic” instruments, some other nic nack and photos cover almost every inch of the walls. It’s got that classic Irish/English bar sort of feel but at the same time has this Boston dive quality. It is interesting to note that there are no TV’s in this place.

Beer selection is basically a larger version of your standard Boston favorites. About 2 dozen taps and an equal number of bottles. A mixed bag of Sam Adams, Harpoon, Magic Hat, Sierra Nevada, Guinness, Bass, a whole bunch of macros, etc. Nothing to go crazy about, but enough. They’re famous for their Guinness pours and are noted as one of the best in the city.

Food is good as well. Standard American Pub grub (burgers etc) with some classic UK pub favorites as well. The fish and chips have a nice thick beer batter and are actually quite yummy.

Overall it’s a decent place. Although with Redbones and The Joshua Street across the street, both with far better beer and food, I find it hard to make myself come out here, unless maybe I’m on a pub-crawl. It’s a Boston area classic, featured in movies and whatnot, but honestly I’m not really crazy about it.

Jun 09, 2005
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Hibernator from Massachusetts

3.93/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Decided to stop by The Burren on a rainy weekend afternoon. I have been here a few times over the years. Since I had a little time to kill before NERAX in Davis Square, this seemed like a great place to have a pint.

A cozy Irish pub feel provides the atmosphere. A welcoming bar located to the right of a huge room with various tables and chairs. The wood floors and panels add to the charm of this bar. I also didn't notice a TV, which is refreshing in this day of flat screen TV's. This place feels authentic with Irish waitstaff, Celtic music playing and mainly Irish dishes centered menu. The menu offers solid Euro pub food. They even offer the Irish breakfast in all its glory.

Around 12 taps or so with some highlights that included Harpoon 100 Barrel Series (Smoked Porter), Harpoon IPA, Harpoon UFO, Magic Hat Fat Angel, Sam Adams, Sam Adams White Ale, Amstel Light, Guinness, and Bass. Service was friendly and attentive. This is a great place if you find yourself bar hopping in Davis Square. It can get crowded here on the weekends.

May 02, 2005
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Truh from New Hampshire

3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Deep in the heart of Davis Square, The Burrren is a true institution. Back in the day you could catch Rubyhorse or the Tarbox Ramblers playing in the back room as regulars, all while enjoying some fine ale. Selection isn't great, but what they have on is always fresh. Plus, they always seem to have a tap devoted to Harpoon's 100 Barrel Series, which can be nice. I've also always enjoyed their fish and chips, as well as their stir fries. Their traditional Irish breakfast is most excellent, served on weekends. Don't miss out on Kickass Cupcakes and the When Pigs Fly Bakery a scant 4-minute walk up Highland Ave. if swilling at the Burren.

Jun 29, 2004
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waughbrew from Massachusetts

3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 2.5

Dark wooden Irish-American place. Simple and dark inside, rather small seeming until you explore further back where the live music plays 7 days a week. Average service. Ths selection is maybe 24 drafts and about that many bottles, but most of it is very boring stuff to me. Guiness, Magic Hat, Sam Adams, Harpoon, etc. stuff that you see everywhere around Boston. Perhaps I am spoiled. Luckily I saw a Stoudts pale ale tap handle that wasn't on the list, so I got that and it was in good shape and served fine. I had the meatloaf and it really wasn't good for the price. When I pay nine bucks for a plate, it should be pretty nice, but it was lackluster. I will go here again to hang out, drink, and listen to Irish folk music, but I doubt if I will get the food again.

Jun 10, 2004
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bewareOFpenguin from Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +16.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

This says it all:
My wife and I walk in. She looks at me says, "This is the Bar from Waking Ned Devine!"

Now let me tell you, this Irish lad has forced his spouse to every psuedo-Irish Pub from Maine to New York. But this place captivated her. The music was Gaelic, loud, but not too loud. Conversation could be heard everywhere. We grabbed a booth, and to complete the experience, a red headed waitress cam over to serve us. I had Murphy's from their "British" dominated draft choices. The food was awesome, above par pub food. I could have sat here all night, talk and drank.

May 25, 2004
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MuddyFeet from North Carolina

3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

One of the best Irish pubs I've been to on this side of the Pond. There's a pub area up front with a larger space in the back with its own space. Up front they usually have someone playing Irish music, and in the back there is a large room and stage for bands. On the weekends it can get packed with Tufts kids. The decor is all Irish, with some really cool old prints of concerts and festivals from all over.

The beer selection is pretty impressive. Usually around 20 (if not more) beers on tap. Both macros and local micros. Look for the chalkboard beer list above the bar.

Service can get spotchy the crowder it gets. Try to get a table, they have table service all night and the waitresses are pretty good with making sure everyone has a drink. The food is pretty good for pub grub-I'm fond of the fish and chips.

Mar 22, 2004
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fdrich29 from Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +37.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

There are few, if any, other Irish pubs in Boston that match the level of the Burren. That says a lot considering the only place that has more pubs in the world than here is, well Ireland.

Walking in, well before you get to the first bar area the atmosphere overwhelms you. It's dark and on most nights you're guided by the sound of Gaelic harmonys, mandonlin and guitar. Expect to have a lot of company on your visit to The Burren as it's always full of interesting people enjoying a pint and soaking in the Irish fare.

I noticed they had a pretty good selection of beer here, but I'm old fashioned. I don't go to the Burren or any other Irish pub to see what macro's they have in stock. Give me a Guinness, pure and simple. Make me a car bomb? Now we're talking.

As you make you're way through the bar you'll come to the back room that has another bar, more tables and a stage. As opposed to the front bar area that has room for a few minstrels to set up and entertain, the back is set up as a club with the music as the main attraction. You're not going to find long hair bands covering top 40 on this stage, expect bands like The Tarbox Rambler's, who have residency here, with their stand up bass and "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" flavor.

You'll find really good, traditional Irish pub food here. I tend to go for the drinking, but the dinners will not disappoint. Hearty meals to fill your bellies before the pints flow back, and believe me, here they flow very quickly.

The only negative that I can say about The Burren is that it's in Somerville and subject to the 1 A. M. closing law. I did hear they were trying to appeal that, but not sure where that stands, or if it's already been changed.

Feb 22, 2004
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Jason from Massachusetts

3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Hands down my favourite Irish pub in the Boston area, so if you are not sure what a real Irish pub is as you are confuse by the faux cookie-cutter Irish pubs in Boston come to The Burren. They are quick to get seasonal brews, almost if not quicker than Redbones down the street. Last visit they had SN Celebration Ale, Harpoon 100 Barrel, a few Magic Hat brew and some solid imports. I’ve never had the food as this usually the last place of the night during a crawl, they always have awesome authentic Irish music playing in the front bar on the weekend. Lastly, they pour a mean pint of Guinness here which is a major plus because there are way too many places that can’t even pour Guinness the right way or try and pawn off the canned nitro on you. My suggestion is to hit Redbones, have a plate of BBQ and a few beers and then head over to The Burren to call it a night.

Dec 20, 2003
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goz from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stopped in while on a pubcrawl with some former co-workers of mine. The main room is big and open, with plenty of seating and plenty of room to manouver. The beer list is decent, pretty typical of the Boston bar scene. I had a Harpoon Wit, and someone bought me and Old Speckled Hen as well. Both were fresh and tasty. A decent place to stop on the way too or from Redbones.

Oct 18, 2003
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CharlesRiver from Connecticut

3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

The time to go to The Burren is Sunday afternoons in the winter. Live Irish music and a lot of stout. Not the greatest Irish bar in the Boston area but the closest to me.

They have a dozen or so taps which have the usual suspects. The standouts for me lately have been the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series that they have had on tap. Guinness is the obvious alternative and they do pour a nice one.

The service is very hit or miss. Some times they are the nicest people and then the next time you get major attitude. Either way, worth a stop if you are in the area.

Sep 26, 2003
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TheLongBeachBum from California

3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

This establishment was pointed out to myself & xlperro by PatandDavid, I think! It was after the visit to Redbones, which in turn occurred after the excellent laid-back “post-Stammtisch” session, held upstairs in the Boston Beer Works –North Station.

In fact, the Burren is just a short trek from Redbones, it is hard to get lost as it lies on Davis Square, directly at the end of the road that Redbones is on. Facing you from the other side of this road, it has a very Irish-themed Bar look about it.

Inside, the Gaelic ‘style’ continues with wooden floorboards, dimly lit interior, pastel orange walls, dark woods & a high bar with brass bar fittings. Booths around the edge each have a table, leaving the front room half open plan, allowing everyone to watch those that enter, & no doubt eye up the talent on busier weekend nights.

Whilst the décor is questionable borderline pseudo-Irish, the music playing on the Sunday night on our visit, most certainly was not. We sat to the front left of the entrance, & enjoyed our beers whilst listening to some authentic Irish music, being played live by a small gathered band of excellent musicians – a kind of “jam” so to speak. It really added to what would have been otherwise a somewhat staid atmosphere I feel. The noise level was just enough to be pleasantly audible whilst not intruding on conversation. I am not sure if this is a regular feature, if not – it should be.

I counted about 12 Taps, but my counting was probably suspect that night as we did not venture too deep into the Burren. There may well have been more Taps, I never checked. Whilst the selection was varied, it included only a handful of micro/local beers I noted, amidst a range of several more–widely available domestic beers. I had a Harpoon Wit, because I needed something to wash down all that excellent food from Redbones. As such, I never tried the food here, but it is available I noted, though no-one seemed to be eating on our visit.

Well worth a pit-stop if passing, it has a reasonably good selection of draft beers, complemented by pleasantly warming surroundings. I especially liked the live music. A decent enough watering hole, worth popping in after Redbones for a “quick one” before you catch your T home, if for no other reason but let that filling BBQ meal that just had settle slowly.

Last Visit: 14th Sept. 2003

Sep 25, 2003
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UncleJimbo from Massachusetts

3.64/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

The Burren is located in Davis Sq., not far from RedBones. It is overall an above average place for the Boston area, but there are quite a few comparable places in town. The main bar area gets very crowded on weekends, with mostly standing room. The beer selection is decent, and they will usually have something good on tap (for example, on a recent visit they did have SN Celebration Ale and Magic Hat #9 on tap), but the most of the beers were the usual suspects for Boston pubs. On the other hand, they do offer around a dozen to choose from. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area, but beware: parking is hard to find in Davis Sq.

Mar 01, 2003
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Admiraldinty from Massachusetts

3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3

This review is for the backroom. I went on a Thursday night when an 80's cover band was playing. The selection is pretty much average with your typical Bass and Guinness (these are what I stuck to). It was fairly loud and smokey (I expected this), and extremely crowded (all Tufts kids). I definitely had a good time, but if you're looking to go and enjoy a brew, this isn't your place.

Jan 28, 2003
The Burren in Somerville, MA
Place rating: 3.64 out of 5 with 33 ratings