No, you won't find any low lying mountains, lush vegetation, rolling green pastures or sea cliffs in this small, often quaint southwest Boston suburb, but three authentic Irish pubs within a few hundred yards of each other will surely conjure up visions of the Emerald Isle.
Three pleasant native Irish gentlemen with brogues of varying degree own Finnegan's Wake, The Raven's Nest and Napper Tandy's Walpole. It's impossible to compare one Irish pub with another, as each has its own special personality, but, ultimately, they are all superb pub destinations. Walpole, with nearly 60 percent of its population of Irish descent, has more than a few people that know Ireland well, and tell me that Finnegan's, The Raven's Nest and Napper Tandy's would all fit in quite well if located in Ireland.
|Finnegan's Wake, Walpole, Mass. (photo by Eric)|
The look of Finnegan's Wake is rather understated -- certainly not one of those over-the-top Irish pubs that are more cartoon-like than authentic. Finnegan's has lots of character, a few characters at the bar, and an overall demeanor that is family-friendly. There's more of an accent on Irish fare here including fabulous, true-to-tradition shepherd's pie, bangers and mash, Gunness Beef Stew (unbelievably good!) and toasties. The roast turkey dinner, steak tips and fish and chips are, also, recommended, too. The beer selection is great, the pizza surprisingly good, and there are enough televisions to comfortably watch the game. What a hidden gem! Finnegans Wake is located at 7 Glenwood Ave., in Walpole MA. Tel. (508) 668-1189
|The Raven's Nest. Photo Credit: The Raven's Nest|
|Napper Tandy's Walpole. (photo by Eric)|
In the past several years, John has opened Napper Tandy's in Norwood and Roslindale, and Eugene O'Neill's in Jamaica Plain. The Walpole location is the newest and my personal favorite. There's a strong focus on the food and the atmosphere is so much fun: 10,000 square feet that includes a charming pub with oak bar and high top tables, a large dining room/lounge with a beautiful mahogany bar, and a downstairs pool hall with nine pool tables, four dart boards, a jukebox and full bar. The food quality is almost always outstanding including some one of the best burgers I have ever tasted, sirloin Shepherd's pie, tenderloin steak tips, fish and chips, edamame stir fry and baked Haddock Nantucket with herb breadcrumbs and New England clam chowder served with rice and sauteed broccoli. Napper's also offers some excellent pizzas, salads with fresh greens and an impressive appetizers menu including coconut curried mussels, fried calamari, fried onion petals, wings, and fried pickles. The drinks selection is outstanding with all the usual suspects, plus a great selection of craft beers including several IPAs on tap.
Napper Tandy's Walpole is certainly large in size, but that doesn't take anything away from the intimate, cozy charm of the restaurant. The upstairs bars and dining areas truly have a quaint and relaxed yet vibrant feeling and the historic cottage exterior adds further layers of personality. Napper's Walpole also offers a patio for outdoor seating during the summer and, at this writing, free pool on Monday nights, paint and sip bar nights on select Tuesdays, and trivia night on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Napper Tandy's Walpole is located at 1065 Main St., Walpole MA. Tel. 508-668-1191
So, which Walpole pub would I recommend? The answer is "All of the above." It's almost unheard of to have three pubs with an Irish feel so close to each other in such a small town, but their presence not only helps make downtown Walpole a nice destination, but gives locals some very appealing dining options.
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