Tom English's Bar, 957 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester :: 617.288.7748 :: The Banshee, 934 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester :: 617.436.9747 :: bansheeboston.com
CROKE PARK A/K/A "WHITEY'S" + JACOB WIRTH
Most of the Southie bars that would have been frequented by the lowlifes in Boston crime writer George V. Higgins's novels are no longer around — like the notorious Whitey Bulger haunt Triple O's. If there's anywhere left that his fictional criminal Dillon (the Friends of Eddie Coyle character many believe to be based on Bulger, although Higgins later denied it) would have hung out today, it would be old-Southie holdover Croke Park, known as "Whitey's" (no relation). One bar we do know that Higgins himself spent time in (as well as some of the characters in his novel Cogan's Trade) is Jacob Wirth. Founded in 1868, it's still a regular hangout for the young writers in training at the nearby Emerson College writing program.
Croke Park a/k/a "Whitey's," 268 W Broadway, South Boston :: 617.464.4869 :: Jacob Wirth, 31-37 Stuart St, Boston :: 617.338.8586 :: jacobwirth.com
GRILL 23 & BAR + BRISTOL LOUNGE AT THE FOUR SEASONS
Yet another Boston crime writer who was fond of a good bar setting was Robert Parker, author of the Spenser series. Among some of the bars where Spenser, and Parker himself, were known to drink include Grill 23 and the Bristol Lounge.
Grill 23 & Bar, 161 Berkeley St, Boston :: 617.542.2255 :: grill23.com :: Bristol Lounge, 200 Boylston St, Boston :: 617.351.2037 :: fourseasons.com/boston
This Jamaica Plain dive is one of the recurring settings in Michael Patrick MacDonald's beloved coming-of-age-in-Boston novel All Souls. MacDonald would go to the bar with his mother at night, where she would play the accordion to make extra money to support the family.
710 Centre St, Jamaica Plain :: 617.524.9677 :: galwayhouse.net
THE PLOUGH & STARS + THE CELLAR
Cambridge's the Plough & Stars, now known for its live music, was the place where owner Peter O'Malley and author DeWitt Henry, now of Emerson, launched the idea for Ploughshares, one of the most respected literary journals in the country. O'Malley, an Irish expat from a country that knows a thing or two about the marriage of drink and poetry, and Henry, an accomplished writer and educator, went on to publish a veritable who's who of literary talent in the intervening decades. Just up the street you'll find the Cellar, a divey little subterranean bar perfectly suited for midday brooding that a slew of Harvard literary types have called home over the years, the most notable of which include the revered Irish poet Seamus Heaney.
The Plough & Stars, 912 Mass Ave, Cambridge :: 617.576.0032 :: ploughandstars.com :: The Cellar, 991 Mass Ave, Cambridge :: 617.876.2580 :: gardenatthecellar.com
The longstanding Roxbury bar has played host to more than its share of important thinkers and writers, reaching all the way back to when it was known as Bob the Chef's. An impressive assortment of writers and intellectuals, particularly from the African-American community, have hoisted up here, including Cornel West, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King.
Darryl's Corner Bar & Kitchen, 604 Columbus Ave, Boston :: 617.536.1100 :: darrylscornerbarboston.com
TRES GATOS + TRIDENT BOOKSELLERS & CAFÉ