Apartment Living BlogFood & Entertaining › Journey Through History in the Oldest Restaurants in Boston

It’s no surprise that Boston has some of the oldest restaurants and eateries in the United States — it was founded in 1630. Because of its history, Boston is one of those places where you can find yourself very easily lost in all the historical reverence, and you can almost be transported through time as you check out the Revere Museum, spend time at the Boston Tea Party Museum and eat at one of the following historic places. Here is a list of the oldest restaurants in Boston to ensure that you have a great experience through the Cradle of Liberty.

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The Green Dragon Tavern
The Green Dragon Tavern is one of the most iconic restaurants in Boston and was established in 1654. It has been said that the plans to invade Lexington and Concorde were made within its very walls. A favorite of Paul Revere and John Hancock, whose brother is believed to have lived next door, the Green Dragon is clearly rich with history. Not only is it historic, but this place tosses up a mean burger and pint. The Joseph Warren burger is a favorite, served on two white pieces of grilled toast with melted American cheese, a house-made Guinness sauce and curry mayo cooked to your liking for $12. Plus, it’s located across the street from City Hall.

The Warren Tavern
Speak of the Devil! Dr. Joseph Warren was a Harvard boy who practiced medicine and surgery in Boston. He is also rumored to have been the one who sent Revere on his infamous ride. That being said, the Warren Tavern pays tribute to the doc. It was founded in 1780 and was one of the first buildings constructed after the British burned down Charlestown. This Boston staple serves up a pretty mean Boston mainstay, the lobster roll tossed in a seasoned mayo for $20. It’s located in Charlestown near the Bunker Hill monument.

Bell in Hand Tavern
The Bell in Hand is possibly more famous than its founder, Jimmy Wilson, who in the 1700s was the main source of all things news-related in the city. He is reportedly the first to report on the revolution and the Boston Tea Party. Founded in 1795, the tavern is known for its “two-glass pint.” It’s an ale that used to be made in house but is now made by none other than Samuel Adams Brewery — and was said to need two pint glasses: one for the ale itself and one for the froth. You can try it yourself from the tavern tap anytime.

Ye Olde Union Oyster House
Ye Olde Union Oyster House is considered the oldest restaurant in the United States, notably different than the oldest tavern in the country. The restaurant is located on the Freedom Trail near Faneuil Hall. It still serves up a mean oyster and features remodeled but still historically accurate décor. For around $20, you can try a variety of seafood at the restaurant. Stop in and check out the memorialized JFK booth upstairs, and enjoy a meal in a historic setting.

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Durgin-Park was built in 1742 by Peter Faneuil, then the most successful merchant in Boston. The restaurant was originally opened as a dining room for sailors in the warehouse where the merchants sold and traded goods. About 180 years ago, the building was turned into a restaurant by Eldridge Park, John Durgin and John Chandler, who were all customers before owning the building. The restaurant changed hands in the ‘70s and has even more recently become a member of the Ark Restaurant Corp., which, out of respect, hasn’t changed a thing. So if you find yourself near the waterfront, definitely check it out, and don’t be surprised by the sassy waitstaff; that’s how the Durgin family would have wanted it.

Parker’s Restaurant
Opened in 1855, Parker’s is widely known for inventing the Boston Cream Pie and Boston’s own Parker House rolls. Its celebrity clientele is not only limited to visitors but to past employees as well. That includes Malcolm X, who was a busboy, and baker Ho Chi Minh. Parker’s serves up very elegant and classic dishes using mainly New England-found ingredients; Chef Gerry Tice likes to keep it classy and Yankee-born.

Jacob Wirth Co.
Jacob Wirth Co. was founded in 1868 by none other than Jacob Wirth, a German immigrant who wanted to share his love for German fare and beer. Although it has been visited by the likes of Al Pacino and Babe Ruth, Jacob Wirth’s is reportedly most proud of the regular, everyday customer and may even name a chair or spot at the bar after you, if you’re lucky enough. It’s definitely worth it — no pun intended — to check out this classic German beer hall and restaurant.

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On 10 Bosworth St. in Boston, you can find the namesake of Henry Marliave, a French immigrant who opened this restaurant in 1885. Marliave is well known as one of the survivors of multiple Prohibition raids, and recipes he brought over from Paris have stood the test of time. He gained experience by cooking at the now-demolished Young’s Hotel. Today, chef Scott Herritt of the Grotto keeps Marliave’s recipes alive with modern twists.

Doyle’s Cafe
Doyle’s Cafe was opened in 1882 by Billy Doyle, who has been quoted as saying the only shots he’d given away for free were the ones he fired into a would-be robber. But this Boston icon is more widely known for being the first to give a young brewer the opportunity to serve his beer there: Jim Koch, the founder of Sam Adams. Doyle’s was the first place to sell Sam Adams.

Amrheins is known for being the first to have a draft beer pump — and still boasts of it with a prominent display. Founded in 1890, it continues to serve on the oldest hand-carved bar in America. Amrheins is a favorite to Southies and local political types alike. It is known as well for serving up hearty down-home meals such as Lobster Pie. If you find yourself in Boston’s South End, definitely pop into Amrheins for a meal.

Boston isn’t just home to old restaurants, it also boasts some pretty haunted buildings. If that doesn’t scare you off, check out these apartments in the Boston area.

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