Let the karmic walk down memory lane begin. In 2003, forever to be known as the year of the championship, Syracuse made its way through Boston en route to New Orleans. While the Bean was merely the first step of the journey (the regional finals were held in Albany), SU’s march through March seemed predestined because of the proximity to CNY. Boston: 5 hour drive. Albany: 2.5 hours. N’Awlins: Magic.
So with the Orange once again dancing through Boston, The Fizz felt it our responsibility to present SU fans a travel guide. As a proud member of the Boston/SU alumni club, I gotta hook fellow Orange up with the ins and outs of this wonderful city.
Any questions, you can always dial me up: I’ll be hosting 2-6 pm on Wednesday and Friday on 98.5 FM the Sports Hub (forget Thursday. I’m off, it’s gameday, baby). Needless to say, playing a Sweet 16/Elite 8 in a metropolitan area with one of the densest pockets of SU alumni? This could be beautiful. Print it and GO!
The official Syracuse bar in Boston: The Pour House.
- If you don’t have a ticket to the game, go here. The downstairs tiki bar is the home of SU watch parties for every game. There’s a large SU poster on the wall, every TV will have the game, and it’ll be crawling with Orange folks. The beers are inexpensive (wicked cheap, dude!), they have a great breakfast menu, and terrific bloody mary’s. But make sure you get there hours early, because once it fills downstairs to capacity, it’s one in-one out.
Coolest sports bar near the Garden: The Fours.
- It’s named after Bruins legend Bobby Orr (his retired number). It’s got more sports memorabilia per square foot than any other in the neighborhood. Take an hour and just check out all the old school stuff.
Darkest hole in the wall near the Garden: The Penalty Box.
- This is the poorly-lit den of hard core B’s fans after games. Smells of spilled beer reminds you of walking out of the old Garden after a game against the hated Habs. If you choose to suck down a Bud Light or a PBR, you better start talking about Cam Neely and Gerry Cheevers.
Biggest party around the Garden: The Harp.
- They’ll throw open the front windows on nice weather (which it should be Thursday and Friday), and you can hang on the rail and watch the street life (which could simply be a Celtics fan in a KG jersey sucker punching a panhandler). Upstairs and downstairs will pump in music at nights, plus there’s a dance floor. Line will get extremely long in the evening, so prepare for it. (Honorable mention: The Greatest Bar.)
- Located next to Quincy Market, this place advertises itself as the oldest bar in the city. Judging from the smells on the cobblestone streets surrounding it on a Sunday morning, that just may well be Paul Revere’s puke. The famous Union Oyster House is just down the block, and Green Dragon Tavern is next door. It claims it was a gathering point for American planning during the Revolutionary War.
Biggest Tourist Trap: Fanieul Hall and Quincy Market.
- This is not necessarily a bad thing. The market is a long enclosed building with tons of food options ranging from famous Regina Pizza to the Boston Chowda Co. (I suggest the lobster bisque or New England clam chowder in a bread bowl). The Hall has a bunch of shops and street vendors surrounding it. It’s also a mere 10-minute walk from the Garden. But beware this can be teeming with tourists looking for their souvenir sweatshirt and personalized lobster magnet. There’s cobblestone streets, a statue of C’s patriarch Red Auerbach, and the site of the Boston Massacre is next door.
Is there a Boston Sports Museum? Yes. But…
- It’s located inside the Garden on the suite level. So unfortunately, if there’s games going on (like this weekend) you’re out of luck. But on non-game days, there are hourly tours. Call to confirm hours: 617-624-1234.
Is the Boston Common something real or just a ’90s TV series?
- It’s the Hub’s answer to Central Park, and while it’s not as gargantuan as NYC’s spread, it’s worth a look. Lots of open spaces, a river, bridges, statues… and there’s always a guy selling something stolen.
Should I go see Cheers? No.
- There are two Cheers, based on the smash hit ’80s sitcom. The original (which the series was supposed to based on) is adjacent to the Common. But it looks nothing like the TV set, and has very little ambience. There’s a knockoff edition at Fanieul Hall. It also will give you very little in the way of Norm nostalgia.
Should I go see Fenway? Yes.
- There are ballpark tours given every day (and with the weather this week, it would be a terrific time waster). You get to sit on top of the Green Monster and the porch in right field. You’ll see inside the press box, and sit behind a foul pole. But unfortunately, you won’t see the interior of the Monstah where players have signed their names, and Manny relieved himself. Not on the tour. The area is a fun walking neighborhood, with bars, restaurants and shops. Kenmore Square is just down the street and the hub of Boston University.
Best Sox memorabilia from the turn of the century: McGreevy’s.
- Located on Boylston Street, near the Prudential Center (the landmark skyscraper in Boston), it’s got old school pictures, newspaper clippings and pennants from the original Sawx glory years wallpapering the place.
Most underrated bar near Fenway? Bleacher Bar.
- Cask n’ Flagon was once rated as one of the best sports bars in America, and it’s very cool. But Bleacher Bar is built under the CF grandstands of Fenway. You can look out into the outfield, and you don’t need a ticket or admission to get in. It’s a hidden gem, located on Landsdowne Street under the Monster.
- Located in Kenmore Square directly across the street from the red line T stop. It’s the closest you’ll get to the West Coast burgers like Wannaburger and In n’ Out. A million options of toppings, plus reasonably priced. You’ll feel like a college kid after a Saturday night bender.
Where should I eat in the North End? Doesn’t matter.
- Just a few blocks from the Garden, the North End is Boston’s answer to Little Italy. There could be lines outside many establishments (especially on a Friday or Saturday night), but you should just follow your nose. There’s dozens of incredible restaurants within a four square-block radius. The intoxicating smells will overwhelm you (which is a nice reprieve from the smells of the intoxicated around the Garden). Just follow your nose, grab a bottle of wine, enjoy some seafood over pasta, and pick up a cannoli at one of the many pastry shops in the neighborhood. You’ll feel like Jeremy McNeil after Thanksgiving.
Should I venture into Chinatown? Maybe.
- You like authentic Chinese food where fish swim next to you in tanks of water waiting to be cooked? This is your place. If you’d rather just take your chances with a P.F. Chang’s, there’s one of those near the Common.
Is it hard to get around? Depends.
- If you travel by subway (The T), you’ll be fine. It’s way less complicated than NYC’s subway, and hits almost every major destination. It stops running at 12:45a though. Cabs can be okay, although after games around the Garden it might be tough to catch one. Forget driving. You’ll drive yourself batty. It’s a city built around cow paths, horse-drawn carriage roads, and walking trails. Wanna look like a Kardashian at a science fair? Try to drive in Boston.
If you have other questions, leave them below. I’ll answer them, and try to update the guide with stuff I may have forgotten.