Brighton Center isn't exactly the trendiest area of Boston (although that may just be starting to change), instead tending to have the feel of an old-fashioned neighborhood with more than a few working-class folks and multi-generational families living in both this area and Oak Square a bit further to the west. And both Brighton Center and Oak Square happen to be home to many lesser-known restaurants and bars, including a dark and cozy Irish pub called Porter Belly's, which doesn't get very much fanfare but is a nice place to go for a pint of beer or two as well as some food--especially if you like decent burgers.
Porter Belly's Pub is part of a local restaurant group that includes such places as Devlin's (which is literally next door), Barlow's in South Boston, the historic Warren Tavern in Charlestown, and others in and around the city. This one, however, feels a bit different from the other eating and drinking spots from these folks, with a pretty low-key vibe to it overall, and the look of an authentic Irish pub with a stone exterior and lots of nooks and crannies inside. When you enter the place, the first thing you notice is a charming little "snug" (a small private seating area) to the left, and the coziness continues as you walk through the spot with a comfortable bar to the left, seating to the right, and further back, little sections with more seating and bar rails that folks can lean against while having a drink or a bite to eat. For those who want some entertainment with their food and drink, a small area within the place is set up for live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
As you might expect, the menu at Porter Belly's features a mix of familiar pub grub items, comfort food, and Irish dishes, including wings, potato skins, nachos, house-made pork sausages, club sandwiches, wraps, steak tips, chicken curry, shepherd's pie, fish and chips, and a variety of items on its brunch menu. The burger is seen by some as the signature dish here, however, with the char-grilled hunks of meat being large and juicy, with such options as a rather messy chili and cheese, a slightly hotter "Miami Heat" with jalapenos, a burger with a pineapple on top, a hot and tangy version with buffalo sauce and bleu cheese, a "Philly" with mushrooms and onions, and more. Porter Belly's has a fully-stocked bar as well, and has about a dozen beers on tap, including Smithwick's, a well-poured Guinness and some craft brews.
Porter Belly's isn't exactly the type of place that will wow you with a chic atmosphere, inventive dishes, craft cocktails, or a young, hip crowd (you're more likely to see an older crowd--and at times, a much older crowd, actually--at the bar on a given night), but if you're looking for an unpretentious watering hole that serves up Irish grub, comfort food, burgers, and beers cheap, this might be one that you will want to check out.
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