Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Southie Day - Sullivan's and Harpoon

We recently had some out-of-towners come for a visit. Lobster rolls were on their list of Boston things to try, so Nick brought them to Neptune Oyster their first day for lunch, but I thought a fun activity would be a trip to Sullivan's on Castle Island where we could grab lunch and tour around the island itself. This way, we made sure they got to try all sorts of New England classics (including more lobster rolls). Since I had never been, I was also excited to play tourist in my own city.


I was excited to see that Sullivan's is one of those great places where you order at the counter and then have delicious food ready to go in under 10 minutes. With a cheap price point, even if the food was only OK, I was going to be a happy camper. Looking at our box of fried- and lobster-yumminess, I knew we did not have to worry about taste!

Box of Yumminess
Nick went with the lobster roll that was served cold on a classic split top roll, just the way he likes it. As you can see this roll had plenty of lobster and only a little mayo - no skimping here.

Lobster Roll
I was in a fried clam mood and am so glad I made that choice - these were fantastic and a perfect golden brown! The clams had a medium size belly and the batter had a nice flavor, not at all bland. I gobbled these right up. These are definitely some of the best fried clams that I have had in the city.

Fried Clams
Rather than french fries, I chose some onion rings. Again, the batter was so tasty and they were fried to the perfect golden brown.  I normally don't like the thinner, flakier onion rings, but these broke that rule for me.

Onion Rings!
Sullivan's felt like a quintessential New England summer spot, and the others in our group enjoyed fried shrimp, hot dogs, french fries, clam chowder and soft-serve ice cream cones. For under $30 a couple we got tons of food that would have cost closer to at least $50 elsewhere. If you haven't been, its definitely worth the trip.

Sullivan's on Urbanspoon

I would recommend however, timing the weather better than we did.  I was hoping the rain would hold out, but as soon as we started eating rain drops began to fall, which killed our plan to explore Castle Island. We decided to accelerate our timeline and went directly to the new Harpoon Beer Hall. Not surprisingly we were not the only ones with this plan, so we actually had to wait in line a bit to get in, but it was well worth it. We walked in about 15 minutes later and were welcomed into the HUGE new beer hall complete with a long bar and extra long communal tables. We initially had to start out at a standing table in the corner, but after a few minutes 8 seats opened up and we settled in.

Flights of Beer
Since this is the home of Harpoon, there is a much larger variety of beers on tap than you can find in most bars. With about 20 options on tap, there are a couple of different groupings of which you can do a generous flight, including the UFOs. I went with a flight of their specialty beers that you really cannot buy elsewhere. That flight included one beer from the Life is Good guys!  The flight has 4 half pints of beer, all for about $12, which is a great price. After my flight, I got a glass of the pumpkin cider, which was outstanding - the pumpkin cuts the sweetness of the more traditional ciders.

Beer Hall
Nick with his flight!
Though the beer hall's food options are limited to pretzels, they are some of the best out there! They have a variety of salty and sweet pretzels with at least 10 different dipping sauces. While we ordered a couple to share, I wasn't quick enough and didn't get any photos. I highly recommend the cinnamon and sugar one, though - I got one of those to go at the end of the afternoon, it was THAT good.

The Harpoon Beer Hall is a great destination for beer lovers, and a great rainy-day (or sunny-day) activity.


  1. I still haven't been to Harpoon. I should definitely make plans to go there if we have guests in town. And all that seafood looks great!

  2. I've never been to Sullivan's! The close up of those fried clams is making me so hungry!


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