The Squealing Pig radiates warmth. Tucked away at the bottom of Mission Hill just off Huntington Avenue, this neighborhood Irish pub is a welcoming place to escape for a bite and a beer and some fun entertainment.
Featuring a long, fully stocked bar, hearty grub, large wooden tables, and a fireplace, the Squealing Pig is a great choice for a night out with a group of friends. The back room houses smaller tables, creating a more intimate space for dates.
One of the pub’s big draws is its interesting roster of entertainment, offered every night but Tuesday and Friday. On Saturdays there’s live music, starting at 10 p.m. (21+). Sundays also have live music, with an emphasis on jazz, fusion and experimental, starting at 7 p.m. On Spin-Kick Monday (21+) the pub shows kung fu movies and plays heavy metal music, starting at 10 p.m. Trivia Night is every Wednesday (21+), starting at 8 p.m.
But if you have to pick a night to visit the Squealing Pig, we recommend the weekly Folk Off Thursday, showcasing folk singer Mike Barrett, who enchants audiences with his hilarious tunes sung with an Irish brogue. The warm, friendly singer interacts with the audience and brings back some of your favorite childhood songs. Raucous participation—whether by banging on the table or shouting out lyrics—is encouraged. (There’s a reason the pub bills Barrett as “the world’s most outrageous folk singer.”) And don’t be embarrassed if you can’t recall the words of a song. Barrett, who has a big Boston following, is all too happy to prompt you.
The menu has the kind of comfort food perfect for a cold winter night. From tomato and basil bruschetta ($6.99) to braised sirloin Guinness stew (sirloin braised in Guinness stout with potatoes, root vegetables, and brussels sprouts ($13.99) and prosciutto and fig pizza ($11.99), the menu here will satisfy any craving. Among the most popular choices are the pub’s toasties, an Irish term for grilled sandwiches. One of the more inventive of the dozen varieties is made with ham, pineapple, and sharp cheddar ($10.99); another has grilled salmon, spinach, potato, dill yogurt, and provolone cheese ($10.99). We opted for the chorizo, pepper, and onion toastie, with provolone cheese ($11.99), and a Pig Burger, a half-pound burger smothered with Gorgonzola cheese and spicy chipotle onions and topped with thick-cut smoked bacon ($11.99). (Not surprisingly given the pub’s name, pork features prominently on the menu.) Both were served on crunchy bread from Iggy’s Bakery in Cambridge.
The sides of French fries we ordered outshone both the toastie and the burger. We sampled the Tuscan fries ($3), hand-cut and covered with Parmesan cheese and white truffle oil, and the curry fries ($3), soaked in Nepali-style curry. We devoured both before we finished our sandwiches. Warning: the curry fries pack some heat, so if you’re not a fan of spicy food, best to stay away.
If you’re looking for a lighter meal, the pub has several popular appetizers. The crispy calamari ($10.99) is served with a spicy lemon dressing. The buffalo chicken wings ($8.99), a house-made chili ($8.99) topped with sour cream and a side of garlic bread, or a hearty bowl of the fresh soup of the day ($5.99) are all great choices. Non–meat eaters will find plenty of salads and seafood dishes.
Despite the large menu, it’s the pub’s beer selection that really impresses. With more than 100 beers to choose from, including 30 on tap, most customers opt for a brew rather than a cocktail. We decided to try the PigSwill beer, specially brewed for the Squealing Pig by Rapscallion Brewery, based in Sturbridge, Mass. The premium lager had a hoppy taste without being overbearing and paired well with the comfort food.
This is not a bar to go to if you’re looking for a dance floor and a DJ. But for a lively environment that offers good food, good drinks, and a welcoming crowd, it’s ideal.
The Squealing Pig, 134 Smith St., Boston, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; phone: 617-566-6651. The bar accepts all major credit cards on purchases over $10. An ATM is in the back room (no bank fee). By public transportation, take an MBTA Green Line E trolley toward Heath Street, get off at Brigham Circle, and walk about three minutes to the intersection of Huntington Avenue and Smith Street.
This is part of a series featuring Boston nightlife venues of interest to the BU community. If you have any suggestions for places we should feature, leave them in the Comment section below.
Kathleen Sorenson can be reached at email@example.com.