The Squealing Pig
134 Smith Street, Boston, MA 02120
Unlike many other types of bars, Irish pubs generally let folks know of their roots just by their names alone. Indeed, Boston-area watering holes such as The Burren, James's Gate, The Brendan Behan, The Druid, and The Skellig take their names from places, famous people, points of interest, etc., in the Emerald Isle. What to make, then, of the pub near Brigham Circle called The Squealing Pig? To some, it may sound more like a BBQ joint or a really, REALLY scary bar than an Irish pub. But it is definitely the latter, and truly one of the more interesting ones in Boston.
The Squealing Pig is not the type of place you might find if you're driving along main roads looking for a place to eat. Situated on a tiny street just off of busy Huntington Avenue, it feels more like a watering hole that is often found by accident. But it is a popular place with both college students (Northeastern is nearby) and workers (a number of medical buildings and offices are a few blocks north), and on a weekend night it can get pretty crowded. The space itself is rather interesting, with an open kitchen on the left side, a small room with a fireplace on the right, and a moderately sized room with a bar and a number of tables in the middle. People often belly up to the bar to eat as well as drink, especially on nights that are a bit more crowded. It is a dark and cozy place, with an old wooden ceiling, brick walls, and low lighting. And there is (inexplicably?) a large "Prescriptions" sign above the doorway separating the main room with the smaller room to the right.
The menu at The Squealing Pig is a bit more varied than your typical Irish pub, with everything from soups and salads to toasties, pizza, burgers, and traditional entrees. The soups can be very good (including the outstanding roasted vegetable soup that is sometimes on special), while the pressed sandwiches known as toasties bring back memories of food in pubs across the pond (without the cellophane wrap, though). Pizzas can be ordered with many toppings, including some unusual ones such as squash, arugula, linguica, and figs, while burgers and other sandwiches come with excellent handcut fries that can be ordered with a delicious green curry. Perhaps the most interesting item on the menu at The Squealing Pig is a dessert; the mars bar toastie is a health food nut's nightmare, with strawberries, bananas, and mars bars squished between Belgian waffles and served with lots of cream. It may sound odd, but it is a dish that will likely stick in your mind (and stomach) for quite awhile. The beer list at The Squealing Pig is also worth noting, as it goes well beyond the typical Guinness, Harp, and Smithwicks offerings. A number of microbrewed beers are offered, including chocolate stouts, oatmeal stouts, and Belgian ales.
The Squealing Pig might not be a hidden gem to Northeastern students or Longwood Medical Center workers, but it really isn't very well known to others, as the Brigham Circle section of Boston is a bit off the beaten path. It may have an odd name, but Irish pub fans will probably fall in love with this friendly little watering hole just southwest of the Back Bay and the South End.
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