When a restaurant and watering hole names itself "Tavern at the End of the World," one can only assume that the spot isn't located on Newbury Street in the Back Bay or Hanover Street in the North End. Indeed, this homey little Irish pub and restaurant on the Charlestown/Somerville border is located in a rather out-of-the-way spot that is often mistaken for Somerville (it resides in a tiny part of the Boston neighborhood that isn't actually on the Charlestown peninsula). And from the outside, it can easily be mistaken for a sketchy dive bar, with its small windows, unassuming sign out front, and location within a residential building near an area filled with old factory buildings and warehouses. But Tavern at the End of the World (whose name seems to be a play on Tavern on the Water, another drinking spot in Charlestown) is definitely located in Charlestown, and it is anything but a dive, with inventive dishes, an impressive beer list, and an eclectic clientele that includes construction workers, Irish immigrants, artists, college students, and businesspeople.
Tavern at the End of the World isn't a big place; the front room includes a bar with a handful of stools, a few tables for dining, and a jukebox (and as a humorous touch, a lighted Spuds MacKenzie statue at the corner of the bar), while the back room has several more tables as well as a projection TV that is used for sporting events such as Monday Night Football. (The back room also features live music and comedy on some nights.) Both rooms are well-lit and clean-looking, giving the place a noticeably less dive-y feel than one might expect upon seeing the place from the outside.
The beer list at Tavern at the End of the World might be the most impressive part of the place, with such well-regarded names as Wolaver, Chimay, Allagash, Long Trail, Duvel, Rapscallion, Smuttynose, Hoegaarden, and Young's featured here. But the food served at the restaurant is also worth noting, with many dishes being a cut above your basic Irish fare and pub grub. A few food items that you might not find at your typical watering spot include a Mediterranean plate that comes with grilled pita bread, olives, hummus, and baba ghanoush; an arugula salad with raspberries and goat cheese crostini; a delectable plate of handcut Tuscan fries complete with parmesan cheese and a robust black truffle oil; fries that come with a spicy curry (this is an item that is very popular in Ireland); and a sweet and savory prosciutto, fig, and gorgonzola toastie. Tavern at the End of the World also features a very good chili that has a mix of red and green peppers, onions, and plenty of meat, and a grilled pizza that is about the size of a bar pie but is much less greasy. Some more familiar pub food and Irish fare is also offered, including a wonderfully juicy grilled chipotle burger (the meat has a high fat content, imparting a ton of flavor); a very good veggie burger; shepherd's pie with both lamb and beef used; a Cubano with pork loin, ham, relish, Swiss cheese, and mustard, all stuffed into bread from Iggy's; and fish and chips that have little in the way of grease and lots in the way of flaky, mild-tasting fish. For those looking for dessert, the restaurant has a rather offbeat one, namely an over-the-top Mars Bar toastie with bananas, Belgian waffles, strawberries, and cream. In addition to lunch and dinner, it is worth noting that Tavern at the End of the World also serves a traditional Irish breakfast all day on Saturdays and Sundays.
Tavern at the End of the World seems to have a following among food and beer nerds who discovered it shortly after its opening. This makes sense, as the place features food and drink that tend to be higher in quality than that of your average drinking spot. Its location in a little-known corner of Charlestown is a bit odd, and its name might leave people scratching their heads, but Tavern at the End of the World really is a terrific little watering hole that pretty much defines what a hidden gem is.
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