You always hear about the “new” Southie—the shiny, glittering Seaport District, the red-hot Fort Point area, the ever-changing Broadway, and the white-hot area around the Broadway T stop that, like much of Southie, is literally unrecognizable to people who may not have seen it for a decade or two. South Boston still has its core of working-class folk who have been around for generations, however, and while many of the old-school restaurants and bars are no longer around, a handful of such spots do exist—especially once you get off the main roads. And one of the least known of the bunch is an odd one in some ways, because even though very few outside of Southie know about it, Seapoint Bar and Grill happens to reside underneath one of the neighborhood’s most famous spaces.
Perhaps one of the toughest dining and drinking spots to get to in South Boston if you aren’t familiar with the layout of the neighborhood, Seapoint Bar and Grill sits about midway up the hill between Carson Beach and Dorchester Heights where E 8th Street and Covington Street meet, and the latter is such a steep road that the top of it becomes a long staircase that seems like something you might find in San Francisco. The entrance on E 8th Street is for the function/events room, and this space is one you might know about: It is where former senate president Billy Bulger used to host the St. Patrick’s Day Breakfasts when the place was called the Bayside Club. The lower level of the space is accessed via a side entrance in the parking lot (yes, it has a parking lot) along Covington Street, and this is where the bar and grill part of Seapoint Bar and Grill resides, only a few steps down but a world away from the function room. Here, you will find a dark and very old-feeling watering hole with pool tables, Keno, TVs, and a mural of local sports figures. There is a bar on the right where you’ll likely hear some serious Boston accents (or Irish accents) and a dining area just to the left of the bar where you’ll find a mix of locals, but probably very few people from outside the immediate area. Even though it is definitely a provincial-feeling spot, the Seapoint is a friendly place overall, and it really is less of a dive bar and more of a neighborhood joint.
Because it is a no-frills local hangout, the offerings at Seapoint Bar and Grill hold few surprises, and much of the food here is basic pub grub and classic American fare such as wings, tenders, mozzarella sticks, potato skins, grilled cheese, club sandwiches, chicken pot pie, American chop suey, fries, onion rings, and the like. There are some real highlights, however, including two in particular that are reason enough to come here: the steak tips, which some say are the best in Southie (though it is really tough to beat the outstanding “Quiet Man” tips from the nearby Telegraph Hill restaurant and bar) and the thin-crust Italian-style pizza, which is indeed among the best in South Boston, with a rich sauce, flavorful crust that has just the right amount of char, and perfectly browned cheese on top. If you are a beer or wine snob, look elsewhere (or pretend not to be a beer or wine snob for an hour or two) because there aren’t many high-end choices here, but there’s nothing wrong with cheap beer, wine, and mixed drinks—or shots—especially when you have a plate of tips or pizza in front of you.
The building housing Southie’s Seapoint Bar and Grill has a whole lot of history, as the space upstairs has been the site of lots of jabs, jokes, and good times over the years that many have either seen in person or on TV. But the restaurant and bar itself remains a nearly completely unknown place that is a good option if you want to feel like you’re a million miles away from the trendy eateries and hotspots with long lines. It may not be for everyone, but if you love a good bar and enjoy hanging with locals, the Seapoint isn’t a bad choice at all.
SEAPOINT BAR AND GRILL. 367 E 8TH ST., SOUTH BOSTON.
Marc is the founder of @hiddenboston, a textbook editor, a hike leader for @AppMtnClub, and a food and travel writer and commenter for DigBoston, NBC/NECN, WBZ, WMFO and indie617.