Are you looking for a great pub where you can watch rugby in Boston, Massachusetts?
Some pubs that were well-known rugby venues years ago have unfortunately shut down or changed hands.
However, the arrival of the New England Free Jacks as a professional franchise has breathed new life into rugby in Boston.
Current Recommendations For Best Venues
We polled rugby fans in Boston for their recommendations for pubs that show international rugby matches as well as MLR matches.
The information here is current but you should always check in advance before making a journey.
You can quickly call the pubs we list in this article and check in seconds if they are showing the match you want.
Watch out for big American sporting events
When a Boston pub has a smaller number of TV screens, you may find that a specific rugby match gets displaced by a big football or basketball match.
One event to watch out for is March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament that starts in mid-March. Some of the matches have been hosted at the Arena.
Unfortunately, the start of the tournament often coincides with the crucial final rounds of the Six Nations!
Watch out for big European soccer matches
Soccer is a bigger sport than rugby even in England, the original home of both sports.
You should be careful about relying on general sports bars in Boston. This is because their international focus is often on soccer.
A busy soccer day in England could have many high-profile matches between Liverpool, Manchester City, and the many other big soccer teams of the English Premiership.
A sports bar may choose to run three or four of the matches across their TV screens, leaving no room for rugby.
Rugby At Paddy O’s, A Boston Super Pub
This large pub is located beside a giant sports arena known now as TD Garden.
Paddy O’s may be the easiest pub to get to, regardless of where you are in Boston.
Because the arena has a train station (North Station), you’ll be able to travel easily to it via train or bus.
The main draw of Paddy O’s is the two 100-inch screens that show the main matches.
That’s a larger-than-life experience. The screens can also draw a large crowd, which adds to a sporting atmosphere.
Some people don’t like watching giant screens, but there are plenty of smaller TVs dotted around this massive pub.
Other sporting attractions
Paddy O’s is beside the same arena as a major basketball and ice hockey franchises, namely the Boston Celtics and the Boston Bruins.
Do you want to pick up a Boston Celtics sweatshirt in the shop of the actual franchise? This is the place to visit.
Paddy O’s is what’s known as a “super pub” because of its size. It’s significantly bigger than other pubs on our list.
When it’s packed for an England vs Ireland Six Nations match, that can give you a match-like experience.
However, some fans want a more intimate and cozy pub experience. The super pubs leave them cold. If this is you, then check out the other pubs on our list.
How to get there
The orange and green rail lines connect at the North Stations, underneath the arena beside where Paddy O’s is located.
You can also travel by bus to the arena, using the MBTA and the EZRide.
Check your game
Give Paddy O’s a call to check that your game is showing. Don’t forget to ask if it will be on one of the monster 100’ screens.
Rugby At Hennessy’s On Union Street
Hennessy’s is an Irish pub on Union Street in Downtown, Boston. This is the Government Center, with City Hall close by.
Although it’s part of the same ownership group as Paddy O’s, Hennessy is a smaller Irish pub with a cozy authentic atmosphere.
Hennessy’s is a two-story red-brick building that has been voted “best Irish pub” many times.
Free Jacks and international rugby
Hennessy’s is one of the official partners of the New England Free Jacks. The franchise has hosted several parties at the pub.
The pub is also likely to show Six Nations and Autumn Tournaments.
Be sure to call them to double-check that your preferred match will be on show.
Union Street holds the Boston Public Market which has an enormous selection of local foods.
Faneuil Hall is a colonial-era building that is also close by. If you’re interested in historic architecture, you’ll want to take a wander through its halls.
How to get there
Because Boston College is nearby, there are plenty of travel options to arrive at Hennessy’s.
You may find the bus the easiest option as several routes travel up Union Street.
Phoenix Landing, Sports Bar In Cambridge, MA
An England fan told me that Phoenix Landing in Cambridge showed all of England’s Autumn tests in 2021.
If you are nearer to Cambridge than downtown Boston, then this sports bar could be a great choice.
The usual caveats apply: as a general sports bar, you should also call in advance to be sure that your match is showing.
Cambridge is the home of so many other attractions apart from rugby!
You can get in some culture before or after the match:
- take a walking tour of Harvard University
- visit the Harvard Museum of Natural History
- visit the Harvard Art Museums
How to get there
Phoenix Landing is located in the Central Square area at 512 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA.
The easiest way to travel there is to use the MBTA red line, disembarking at the Central Station stop.
You are now just a block away from the bar.
Other Rugby Pubs In Boston
Paddy O’s and Hennessy’s are part of a small group of pubs that are “official partners” to New England Free Jacks, the local professional franchise in Major League Rugby.
That means that you can be sure you can watch the televised Free Jacks matches. Bostonian rugby fans tell me that they also show international rugby matches.
There are another handful of these partnership pubs:
- Durty Nelly’s, 108 Blackstone Street
- The Green Dragon Tavern, 11 Marshall Street
- The Hooley House, 25 Union Street
- Mr Dooley’s Boston Tavern, 77 Broad Street
- Mr Dooley’s Cohasset, 9 Depot Ct