Oh No, Say It Ain’t So – Iconic Doyle’s Pub Series Cornerstone to Shutter

The news that Doyle’s would be shuttering its operation after over a century of service to the Jamaica Plain (and later, running) community hit us like a George Foreman shot to the liver.


Ironically, we were headed to Paddy’s Publick House in Newton for a race meeting (the Shillelagh Shuffle serving as the Pub Series Grand Finale). This first text became a cavalcade.


In 1997, Doyle’s held its first road race. The following year, while in late negotiations to purchase NER (we did!) the Doyle’s Emerald Necklace 5M became the first race in the inaugural NER Pub Series and would serve as its “Cornerstone” for the following 21 years.


The Burke’s—Gerry Sr. and Jr.—became fast friends, extending their hospitality in annually hosting our Pub Series Awards Night in the Fitzgerald Room at Doyle’s every December.


The Boston Globe first reported that Davio’s will buy Doyle’s liquor license for $455,000. The 7-day all liquor license will be used by Davio’s for its proposed 15,000 square foot restaurant on the Boston waterfront. The Globe Article


Gerry Burke Jr., commented to the Globe, “It’s very sad,’’ Burke said. “I grew up here and I’ve had a wonderful childhood. It’s been my identity for as long as I can remember. It’s a terrible thing and I’m as sad as I can be. But the real estate in JP is as high as it’s going to get and I can’t afford to stay here any more.’’


Photo: The Somerville Road Runners don’t care that it’s raining, we’re at Doyle’s…although it is equally enjoyable when the sun is out. Photos by Scott Mason

With its liquor license gone, that leaves the Doyle’s property and a sticky wicket in apprising how this possibly came to pass to one of Boston’s most historic institutions.


We’ll devote insight into Doyle’s and its legacy next issue for a final time; we’ve visited before and the following is the opening of a July/Aug 2013 article in NER titled:


Suds & Strides: The Changing Landscape


by Bob Fitzgerald


“I am lately become a brewer for family use, having had the benefit of instruction from an English brewer of the first order.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1815


“Jim (Koch) brought the beer to the party.” – Gerry Burke Sr., Doyle’s


“All roads lead to Doyle’s. Certainly this is true from NER’s vantage point as lovers of good beer and good times, garnered during road races and, equally as important, afterwards.


“Around since 1882, Doyle’s Hibernian halls have welcomed an array of politicians, working men (later, women), journalists, desperadoes and sports enthusiasts. Doyle’s has survived Prohibition, depressions, recessions and two World Wars, remained true to its working class roots and, in Boston’s tribal political parlance is, in a word, “connected.”


“In 1986, its main room was dedicated by Mayor Raymond Flynn. Two years later, Senator Ted Kennedy was on hand to dedicate a new room (the back room, formerly a grocery), to his maternal grandfather, John F. “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald.


“It is in the Fitzgerald Room that the NER Pub Series Awards Night is held every December. The back part of this room was recently dedicated to Mayor Tom Menino.


“The brothers Burke—Gerry, Billy and Eddie—were the guiding hands behind Doyle’s transformation into the modern era.


“The eldest brother, Gerry, took care of food operations and public relations. Whenever there was a dramatic moment in Boston politics, the news vans would descend on 3484 Washington St. in Jamaica Plain and Gerry would dispense a few pearls of wisdom from the common man’s perspective.


“Certainly the spoke that extends from Doyle’s hub to the Pub Series is a great source of pride for NER, but there is an earlier and larger spoke that has us bowing in a “we’re not worthy” salute….”

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