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Cambridge Brings Patrons a Musical and Culinary Center All in One at the Plough & Stars

By Marina I. Jokic

A popular Irish pub in the Boston area, the Plough & Stars was founded in 1969 by the O'Malley brothers Peter and Padraig and has become a local landmark of the city's literary and music scene. Owner Gabriel O'Malley talks about the diverse musical talent that has played at the Plough, and of course, the distinctively northeastern fare on their menu.

O'Malley tells us the Plough was named after dramatist Sean O'Casey's eponymous play, and that it purportedly was the first pub to offer Guinness in the U.S. "Since its early days, the Plough has been a meeting point for people from all walks of life, but it has always had an outsized place in Boston's literary and music scene," he notes. The pub regularly invites new musical talent on its small stage, and has, in the past, seen the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, Morphine, G-Love, Elin Jewell, and Will Dailey to name a few.

The literary magazine Ploughshares, founded inside the pub itself, has been publishing fiction and non-fiction since 1971. The Plough has live music seven nights a week, and serves lunch and dinner on weekdays as well as brunch on weekends.

Executive Chef Jim Seery has cooked up a delicious menu with varied choices. The fish tacos and steamed mussels are inspired by the rich coastal tradition that Boston is known for. Baked Cheesy Nachos and Caramelized Brussel Sprouts are the quintessential pub foods that pair well with local brews like Sam Adams and Allagash.

Their sandwich and burger selection served with your choice of fries or salad includes Fried Fish sandwich, Blackened Catfish, Pressed Cuban, and basic and vegetarian burgers as well. If you find yourself particularly hungry, you might want to try the Plough's Grilled Steak Tips with whipped garlic mashed potatoes and green beans, the New Orleans Gumbo with shrimp and andouille sausage, or the Bouillabaisse, a Provencal seafood stew in rouille. The dinner menu offers the same selections starting at 6pm every evening.

Brunch is a major affair at the Plough & Stars, featuring hearty breakfast favorites such as Eggs Florentine, Huevos Rancheros, French Toast, or, for the particularly daring, the full-on Irish Breakfast with two eggs any style, bacon, two bangers, black and white pudding, baked beans, and a grilled tomato on toast. The Fried Chicken and Waffles with maple syrup will leave you pleasantly full.

For those looking for a slightly lighter option, perhaps the Smoked Salmon with toasted bagel, cream cheese, capers, tomato, and onions or the customizable omelet will hit the spot. It's never an authentic brunch without a classic morning cocktail, and the Plough won't leave you hanging. They offer Irish coffee, a classic Bloody Mary and a Bloody Red Mimosa, Bourbon Cider featuring Bulleit Bourbon, and Aperol Spritz among others.

"The Plough is small -- so small that you are likely to bump elbows with people at the next table and strike up a conversation," O'Malley remarks lightheartedly. The walls are a warm, burnt orange, and an actual Plough sits atop the bar. Stars adorn the ceiling. The bar is exactly where you want to be on a cold day or evening, savoring a warm drink. O'Malley wants people to know that even though the Plough has been around for a long time, it still has its 'mojo', with a friendly face waiting to greet you.

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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