When you hear the name Doyle's, what place do you think of? The spot that may come to mind is the iconic restaurant and bar in Jamaica Plain that has been around for well over 100 years and has been shown in movies such as Mystic River and The Brink's Job. But there are other spots in Eastern Massachusetts with the same name, including one in Brockton that is quite a bit different from the historic JP dining and drinking establishment, formerly leaning more toward a classic old-school dive bar and now, with a move taking place, more toward a family-friendly restaurant but still including interesting characters, good pub grub, and cheap beer. Oh, and one of the best lobster rolls within 30 miles of Boston.
Tommy Doyle's Pub and Grill used to be located on a stretch of Route 27 lined with chain restaurants and shops along with squat office buildings, and it almost looked like a sub shop or pizzeria from the outside, though the interior was pure neighborhood drinking joint complete with old decor and a secluded outdoor patio that also doubled as a place to take a cigarette break. Now, however, with its move to the old Bickford's space around the corner, Doyle's has a much different feel to it, no longer being the dark and dank neighborhood joint but instead being a spacious dining and drinking spot with lots of light coming in and a bright and more modern interior. What was once the main room at Bickford's now has a huge wraparound bar with tables for dining running along the outer edge, while a smaller room away from the bar is slightly quieter and is probably a better bet for families and large groups. The clientele at Doyle's new space remains mostly the same, with an interesting mix of bikers, office workers, retirees, families, and barflies populating the spot.
The menu at Doyle's pretty much looks like that of countless other old-school spots in the Greater Boston area, with all kinds of pub grub and classic American dishes offered. A few highlights include meaty buffalo wings with several heat options available, giant tater tots that are stuffed with bacon and cheese, tender steak tips with a zingy marinade, similarly good marinated turkey tips (the turkey tips aren't always available, unfortunately), nicely-battered fried clams, a simple but delicious plate of fried haddock, broiled scallops that have just the right amount of char, an absurdly-cheap twin lobster special, and juicy char-broiled burgers with a half-pound of beef. And oh yes, then there's the aforementioned lobster roll, which is overstuffed with tender lobster meat and has relatively little mayo, with this sandwich being about as good as those of the classic seafood shacks found on Cape Ann and Cape Cod. Drinks mostly include standard American and European beers and basic mixed drinks, with hard liquor being about as popular as you might expect from a local joint such as this. Service is sometimes gruff but generally friendly, with the servers seeming to know at least a few diners and drinkers by name here.
While not exactly the type of place you might go on a first date, Doyle's Pub and Grill is an appealing spot made even better by its tremendous lobster rolls and its excellent American classics and bar food. And unlike the bar by the same name in Jamaica Plain, this place is nearly completely unknown, making it one of those dining and drinking establishments that feels like you are the first to discover it, though some of the locals and folks who work nearby may beg to differ.
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