Someone recently asked me about Boston, MA. What is there to do there? Is it a good city to visit? When visiting Boston two years ago, I discovered that it houses neighborhoods with distinct character, historic shipyards, top educational institutes, the beloved Red Sox, and big-city entertainment. With history and culture around every bend, skyscrapers nestled next to historic hotels, and modern marketplaces lining antique cobblestone streets, Boston is a vibrant, thriving city with adventures for all ages. Unfortunately, I can’t address many of those beautiful sights or locations around Boston because I found McGreevy’s Pub, home of the Dropkick Murphys and all that quaint historic, cultural stuff was replaced by an excessively drunken day and night in the heart of Boston. At only 1200 steps from Fenway Park and the Boston House of Blues, McGreevy’s 3rd Base Saloon is a traditional Irish Pub dedicated to Boston sports, Boston history, and great Boston music. It’s known as America’s first sports bar, winner of Boston’s best sport bar many times over, home of the Dropkick Murphys, and the best bar in Boston to kick back and enjoy a pint.
In 1894,”Nuf Ced” McGreevy opened his 3rd Base Saloon in Boston and it became the place to be for ballplayers, politicians, gamblers, and die-hard fans known as the “Royal Rooters”. “Nuf Ced” was “King of the Rooters” and 3rd Base was the center of the sporting world. It was America’s first baseball museum, with every inch of wall space decorated with historic pictures and memorabilia. The light fixtures were made from bats used by Red Sox stars and the painted portrait of McGreevy that hung above the bar looked down upon customers. “Nuf Ced” and his Rooters cheered on the Red Sox singing the fight song “Tessie” for their first World Series win in 1903 and continuing the tradition to date. There’s no doubt “McGreevy’s” was the birthplace of “Red Sox Nation”.
Today, history repeats itself in a new golden age for Red Sox fans. In 2004, the Dropkick Murphys revived the ghost of McGreevy by singing his name in their revival of the Sox fight song “Tessie”. Performing inside Fenway and bringing good luck with dramatic wins every time they played, the Dropkicks carried on the “Royal Rooter” tradition as they cheered on the Sox to their first world title since 1918.
In 2008, Dropkick Murphy leader Ken Casey joined forces with film producer and baseball historian Peter Nash to officially re-establish and re-open McGreevy’s 3rd Base Saloon adding the finishing touches of baseball bat light fixtures, historic pictures and memorabilia, and McGreevy’s picture above the bar.
When I visited in 2009, McGreevy’s was a place where players and fans could go to eat, drink, and blow off some steam after a big win or loss. It’s a place where every picture on the wall tells a story about Boston’s baseball legacy and the characters who defined an era.
The Dropkicks played in the background while I took a swing at finishing McGreevy’s Big-Mouth Beckett Burger. 25 ounces of 100% beef along with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and cheddar cheese make a total burger weighing 1 pound, 9 ounces. The challenge is to finish this home-plate sized burger and receive a shirt announcing that you beat this monster of a meal. In fact, even if the burger beats you, you’ll still receive a T-shirt announcing your defeat. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Josh Beckett Foundation and I love a good do or die situation so I started swinging for the fences at my chance to prove my massive appetite. The problem with eating such a large meal is that you need large drinks to wash it down. Sitting in an Irish pub and drinking soda would be completely unacceptable; the only appropriate drunk, and my chosen poison, was Guinness. Four glasses later and several trips to the bathroom, I’d completed my first journey at McGreevy’s. An empty plate never looked so good!
The bartender, along with a growing number of bystanders, stood in awe of my accomplishment and my $30 meal turned into a full night of non-stop, free drinks from around the pub. Whispers of a 120 pound woman finishing McGreevy’s Big-Mouth Beckett Burger spread like wildfire and even people in the street came into the pub to buy me a pint.
Although I have the appetite of a sumo wrestler and I’m a proud Cape Bretoner, even I have a limit when it comes to taken’ ’em down, but I was going out in style.
I stood up to finally walk out of the pub when Kiss Me I’m Sh*tfaced filled the air louder than the previous songs. I took it as a sign and began my performance!
Standing in a filled McGreevy’s with patrons that now knew my name and shared a drink with me, I started singing along with the lyrics:
I play in a band, we’re the best in the land
We’re big in both Chelsea and France… (I emphasized France as if I were an opera singer and grabbed the attention of the few drinkers that didn’t hear me begin)
I play one mean guitar and then score at the bar
There’s a line of chicks waiting for their chance
So come on now honey, I’ll make you feel pretty (while gliding my hands, not so gracefully, along my side and holding back my laugh)
These other gals mean nothing to me
Let’s finish these drinks and be gone for the night (I grabbed my drink with only the foam left and took a head shaking swig)
‘Cause I’m more than a handful, you’ll see
(And then the true singer come out in me and I yelled as loud as I could)
So kiss me, I’m s…faced (I slammed my hand down on the bar)
I’m soaked, I’m soiled and brown
in the trousers, she kissed me (I pointed to unacceptable areas)
And I only bought her one round
…But just give me a chance, ’cause deep down inside
I swear I got a big heart of gold
I’m a monogamous man, no more one night stands
Come on, honey, let me take you home…
The end of the song was a moment I’ll never forget. No one could knock me down at that “pint”. Men and woman smiled and shook my hand, while offering to buy me more rounds, but I’d had enough, I’d filled my boots, and it was time to take my leave.
As I was homeward bound, I didn’t feel a hint of shame or embarrassment at my freedom of expression. I had experienced the heart of Boston and I was a hero from the past, even if it was only in my eyes.
Needless to say, the next day was not fun and I never left my hotel room. I called for room service and booked an additional night. I felt like I had been buried alive on a far away coast but I loved my night in the streets of Boston! If you’re looking to pass time in the city just head on in to McGreevy’s; I’m sure they will show you what Boston has to offer.
*** Several of the saying used in this post are lyrics from the Dropkick Murphys. You can find a list of Murphys songs at http://www.whosdatedwho.com/tpx_62171/dropkick-murphys/songs