Jogging and Beer Drinking? Boston's Freedom Trail Combines the Best of Both Worlds
March 01, 2018
Boston is a runner’s town. It’s home to the Boston Marathon, the oldest annual marathon in the world (1897) held each year in April. And on the heels of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, runners have united in force as part of the Boston Strong movement—running is a connection here, a lifestyle.
Boston is also a beer lover’s town, and every runner and running group knows that a post-run brew tastes better than any other.
A perfectly Boston run-and-brew outing is to jog the Freedom Trail. The 2.5 mile red-lined trail snakes through historic downtown Boston/Beacon Hill, the North End, and Charlestown, and is flanked with 16 historical sites including Paul Revere House, Old North Church, Boston Massacre site, Bunker Hill Monument, and USS Constitution.
You’ll find plenty of opportunities to quench your thirst for Boston’s illustrious history on the Freedom Trail—and, after your run, at these taverns, pubs and restaurants. Note: You’ll more likely be jogging than sprinting along the trail. That’s because you’ll share the path with tourists and tour groups, as well as contend with cobblestoned streets at times. This is a perfect, light workout, and fun way to get fit and see the sights at the same time.
You can jump onto the trail at any point you like, but typically trailblazers begin at Boston Common in downtown Boston and end at the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, or vice versa—either way there are pubs and taverns to celebrate with a post-run cold Sam Adams Brick Red (the ale is only brewed and sold in Boston) or maybe a Guinness. (You can get detailed info about the trail to map your run at www.thefreedomtrail.org)
Assuming you kick off at the Boston Common and end up here, where you’ll see the last attractions on the Freedom Trail—the USS Constitution and the Bunker Hill Monument—head to Warren Tavern for your post-run cool down. Or, be a badass and run up the monument’s 294 steps to take in the intoxicating view of Boston before hitting the tavern. The tavern dates to 1780 and was named for patriot Dr. Joseph Warren. It was a favorite spot of Paul Revere, and George Washington visited once—in fact, his funeral speech was given here. A rewarding snack would be the Pretzel Sticks with a Sam Adams Cheese Dip or Tavern Wings—and a Samuel Adams Boston Brick Red, the ideal Freedom Trail brew.
You can also opt to map your run along the Freedom Trail to end at Faneuil Hall, which was a meeting hall in 1743. Today you’ll find shops and celebrated Boston taverns and restaurants that go way back. Boston is also famed for its Irish bars and pubs, and you’ll find a couple on, or a jig away, from the Freedom Trail in the Faneuil Hall area. Here are suggestions:
The Black Rose
For runners who crave a proper pour of post-run Guinness, this is the spot for a pint. It’s one of Boston’s most popular Irish spots located just off the Freedom Trail and steps from Faneuil Hall. Gotta love a place that lists a pint of Guinness under the Appetizers section: “what every great meal should start with, 20 oz. of perfection.” Curry chips (pub-cut chips served with curry dipping sauce), Steamed Mussels, Crab Cakes are other apps to share—and if you run the Freedom Trail in the morning, a proper Irish breakfast is served here daily until 11:30 a.m. (two eggs, Irish sausage, rashers of bacon, traditional black and white pudding, Batchelor’s baked beans, and toast).
Hennessy’s of Boston
20 imported brews and a good selection of local craft beers are poured at this Irish hot spot. And if you’re hungry, the Irish-centric menu features Irish Stout Onion Soup, Jameson BBQ Wings (wings smothered in Jameson), and Bangers & Mash (Big Ben Bangers with Buttery Mashed Potatoes and Yorkshire Pudding with a Guinness and Onion Gravy) for an earned post-run meal.
Green Dragon Tavern
The Green Dragon was the spot where rumblings of the plans for the invasion of Lexington and Concord were overheard, leading to Paul Revere’s famous ride (the original location of this historic tavern, which dates to 1654, is not far). A light, healthy cool-down Scallop and Spinach Salad (pan-seared scallops, baby spinach, hard boiled eggs, bacon, balsamic vinaigrette) will work—with a Guinness or local craft beer.
Union Oyster House
Oysters go down easy after a run at this storied restaurant right on the Freedom Trail. Sit at the semi-circular oyster bar and slurp down freshly-shucked oysters, or dig into steamers, lobster, fish and crab cakes, sweet potato fries, and hoist a brew to the Freedom Trail Hall of Famers like Paul Revere who hung out here.
This Faneuil Hall restaurant “serves history” and insists it’s been around before you were born—and since it dates to 1827, that’d be accurate. The Hideout, however, is likely younger than you—it opened in 2006 and is the dive bar located beneath the restaurant. It’s opened Thursday through Sunday—expect 16 draft beers, craft bottled beers. There is also a street-level pub open every day which features a Happy Hour menu and special John Durgin Ale, made especially for Durgin Park by Harpoon Brewery in Boston, and Sam Adams Boston Brick Red is also served.
The Bell in Hand Tavern
Keep the Freedom Trail history lessons going. This is America’s oldest tavern—the first ale was poured in 1795. It’s changed locations through the years and today it’s located just around the bend from the Green Dragon Tavern and Union Oyster House—post-run pub crawl! Dive into warm soft pretzels with fig dip and honey mustard, sliders, oysters, lobster rolls—and Boston crème pie.
Downtown Boston/Beacon Hill
Another option: Map out your Freedom Trail run so that the Granary Burying Ground in Beacon Hill is your destination. Samuel Adams is buried here and other notables including Paul Revere and, wait for it, Mother Goose. Just across the street is the Beantown Pub: “The only pub in the world where you can drink a cold Sam Adams while viewing a cold Sam Adams.” Perfect cool-down snacks: homemade seasoned deviled eggs, homemade hummus with pita bread, carrots and celery sticks, baked jumbo pretzels with honey mustard. Cheers!