Exploring Boston’s Historic Taverns: Part 1

Visiting Boston’s historic bars is a great way to learn more about the city’s Revolutionary history while also having a great time. If you are ready to go check out the historic bars that Boston has to offer, get started with this first of a two-part series about Boston’s historic bars and taverns.

Green Dragon Tavern

Located in one of the oldest parts of Boston, the Green Dragon Tavern dates back to 1654. As such, many consider it to be the oldest historic bar in the city. It was at the Green Dragon Tavern that Paul Revere held meetings with John Adams, Samuel Adams, Dr. Joseph Warren and other members of the Sons of Liberty. They also met at this tavern when the organized out of concern that the Redcoats were going to march to Concord to look for munitions.

The Sons of Liberty met at the Green Dragon Tavern so often that it came to be called the “Headquarters of the American Revolution.” It continued to serve in an important historic capacity years later when Patriots met in the pub in 1788 to draw up a resolution to support the Federal Constitution.

Today, the Green Dragon boasts more of an Irish flair with its warm and welcoming environment. The pub is rather small and can become noisy once it fills up, which it typically does on nights with live music or comics. To enjoy a quieter experience, it is better to go earlier in the day. The pub offers standard bar food along with a full kitchen that serves chowder, salads and sandwiches.

The Green Dragon is located at 11 Marshal Street. Live bands provide entertainment on most evenings, except Mondays when there is typically an open mic night. Shows start at various times and there is occasionally a small cover charge.

Warren Tavern

Located in Charlestown, Warren Tavern claims to be the oldest tavern in Massachusetts as well as the most famous watering hole in the country. Among those taverns included in this two-part list, Warren Tavern is the oldest to still be in its original building and location. It was also the first building to be erected in Charlestown after the British burned the town in June of 1775 during the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Built by Captain Eliphelet Newell, who fought at Bunker Hill, the tavern was named after Sons of Liberty leader Dr. Joseph Warren. Captain Newell and Dr. Warren were friends, and so he named the bar in his honor after he was killed by the British at Bunker Hill. Paul Revere and other Patriots frequently met at the tavern for drinks, with Revere frequently remarking that it was one of his favorite places to grab a drink. General George Washington was also known to stop by the tavern for a drink while visiting friends in Charlestown.

From the outside, Warren Tavern looks like a plain Federal-style building. Inside, the tavern boasts low-beamed ceilings and a large fireplace. The tavern’s builders salvaged the beams that are used for the ceilings from old boats at Charlestown Navy Yard. As such, the beams are even older than the tavern itself.

Located at 2 Pleasant Drive in Charlestown, Warren Tavern serves brunch, lunch and dinner. Breakfast-type items are available until mid-afternoon, while other foods served include soups, salads, burgers and a few entrees.

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