Metro, Column

The Last Call At Boston’s Beloved Dive Bar

A crew of New York Yankees players including Thurman Munson and Reggie Jackson sat at the counter at Daisy Buchanan’s on Newbury St. just over 36 years ago. The Yankees were in Boston for a one-game playoff against the Red Sox—the winner would be crowned the American League East Champion. It was customary for Yankees players to stop in at Daisy’s before a game the following day, and have a beer alongside local Bostonians. For a few hours, the hated Bronx Bombers could escape the malicious hectoring by Red Sox fans. At Daisy’s, the infamous baseball stars were just ordinary dudes.

A sign on the wall of Daisy Buchanan’s bar describes the cozy, run-down bar as a place “where anything can happen.” And that’s true if you’ve ever made the journey down the steps from Newbury St. and bellied up to the bar alongside athletes like Munson and Jackson, as well as celebrities Leslie Nielsen and Ellen DeGeneres.

Now, that is all about to change. Daisy Buchanan’s, a staple on Newbury St. and a favorite among Boston’s professional athletes since 1970, held a goodbye party this past Saturday. Last April, owner Joe Camino told The Boston Herald he sold the bar, along with a property at 41 Fairfield St., for a combined $14.5 million. Currently, Camino’s son is searching for a new home for the bar, whose name was inspired by the heroine in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic The Great Gatsby. According to The Globe, Camino plans to open the bar next year at another location in the Back Bay.

A big component of Daisy’s success was the daily sightings of professional athletes and celebrities who have ventured into the subterranean space for a frosty beverage. They went not to be treated like celebrities, but to be treated as equals. Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Jake Peavy, Mike Napoli, Bobby Orr, Terry O’Reilly, and Charles Barkley are just some who have blended into the crowd during visits.

There were also many romances that started and ended at Daisy’s—some in wedded bliss. Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley met his wife at Daisy’s. So did Scott Zolak, the fun-loving backup quarterback of Patriots, as well as former Bruins enforcer Lyndon Byers. Legend has it that the humorous island singer Jimmy Buffett wrote his song “Boat Drinks,” the lone hockey-related song in his repertoire, after a winter night of debauchery at Daisy’s.

In a city that prides itself on its rich history and tradition, the loss of Daisy’s is a big blow to Boston. Where else can locals go and see Rob Gronkowski sitting in the bar stool next to them after catching a game-winning touchdown pass to upset the Denver Broncos?

The bar provided a sense of community that was uniquely Boston—a place for locals, celebrities, athletes, and tourists to congregate and enjoy a drink in the heart of the city. It has been an integral part of the city for over 40 years. Although I was never able to venture down into the depths of the run-down Newbury St. building, I know that the historic bar will be missed.

It’s last call at Daisy’s, and Boston doesn’t want to leave.

Featured Image by Emily Fahey / Heights Editor

November 12, 2014