Metro, Food, Food Guide 2022

Irish Pub Dunn-Gaherin’s Provides a Cozy Hangout Spot For All

Tucked away in the hills of Newton Upper Falls on a quiet street, Irish pub Dunn-Gaherin’s is an unsuspecting place, but it’s one that visitors are unlikely to forget.  

Comfort food, beer, and the warm environment keep the locals of the Newton, Wellesley, and Needham community coming back. 

“Everyone there was lovely,” said Grace Dennis, MCAS ’23. “I felt at home.”

Dennis, still in college, is younger than most of the regular crowd at Dunn-Gaherin’s. A typical Friday at Dunn-Gaherin’s starts with a wave of local teachers who come in after school. Around 5 p.m., as businesses start to close for the day, professionals coming off their shifts will stop in. The dinner waves arrive next, followed by the late-night drinkers who hang out at the bar right up until it closes at 10 p.m.

Those looking for more than a pale ale can browse the menu and sit in the back half of the restaurant, which is illuminated with dim lamps and string lights and surrounded by walls lined with old photos and newspaper clippings. In traditional Irish pub fashion, tables are small and packed closely together. 

In recent years, Dunn-Gaherin’s has expanded its seating options with an outdoor patio area in the back of the restaurant. 

The 10-count chicken buffalo wing appetizer is a common order to start a meal, though the restaurant also offers more unique flavors such as “cajun fire” and garlic parmesan. The right balance between crispiness and sauce is hard to come by in the world of chicken wings, but Dunn-Gaherin’s may have found it.

“I’m not a huge wing fan, but I really enjoyed their wings,” Dennis said. “I would eat them again.”

The caesar salad is incredibly large, fresh, and well dressed.

Specials range from sirloin steaks to seafood stews to shepherd’s pie, but the angus beef burger is a staple at Dunn-Gaherin’s. The restaurant offers a variety of sides to complement their burger, including eggplant fries and sweet potatoes.

The bar offers a colorful array of lagers, pale ales, and stouts on draft, as well as a wide selection of liquors. 

The restaurant has built a list of simple cocktails over the years, with many drinks taking the names of the regular customers who frequently order them. 

Co-owners Seana Gaherin and Robert Dunn opened the restaurant in 1991, and both are still almost always in the restaurant, greeting new guests and old ones alike with the same enthusiasm they had 31 years ago.

The pub uses the phrase a  “balance between old and new” to describe itself on  its website, and that mantra holds true inside. The bar area is dim, but flat-screen TVs airing the Boston Celtics game light up the walls. 

Those not engaged in conversation focused intently on the Celtics, occasionally cheering aloud when they scored. 

While there’s no such thing as a quiet weekend at Dunn-Gaherin’s, the week of St. Patrick’s Day is by far the busiest time of year for the Irish pub. 

Gaherin and Dunn typically host the city’s political breakfast roast, during which politicians and emcees take the mic and poke fun at each other. 

The pub’s cozy, light-hearted environment makes it a perfect place for all people—even politicians—to let down their guard and remember that life isn’t always that serious.

Dunn Gaherin’s Pub is located at 344 Elliot St. in Newton Upper Falls. The restaurant is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 3:30 p.m. until 10 p.m.

April 26, 2022