Boston's Hidden Restaurants

Damien's Pub

279 Spring Street, Hanson, MA 02341
(781) 447-6556 Find location!

Photo of Damien's Pub, Hanson, MA It has been said more than a few times on this site that if you want good bar pizza, you generally need to go south of Boston. Much like the North Shore being the place to go for roast beef sandwiches, the South Shore and other areas south of the city are where you will find this unique regional food item, and if you get on the back roads away from Routes 3 and Routes 24, a treasure trove of hidden bar pizza spots await, including in such communities as Whitman, Abington, Pembroke, Brockton, Randolph, and Hanson. And it is this last town that is home to a rickety old place at a bend in the road called Damien's Pub, a classic drinking spot that features outstanding bar pizza--and is almost completely unknown outside of the immediate area.

In some ways, Damien's looks a little like the legendary Lynwood Cafe in Randolph, with both places residing in old wooden structures that could be mistaken for houses rather than bars. And much like that iconic bar pizza spot, Damien's looks a bit, well, questionable from the outside for those who might not know what exactly it is. And while the place wears the "dive bar" tag with pride--it actually calls itself a dive bar on the menu--it is not a sketchy spot at all, catering to everyone from families to retirees to bikers to suburban folks who simply want a bite to eat or a drink. The interior has quite a bit of tables for diners, while the bar itself takes up a fairly large part of the room--and the lack of a real partition between the two sections can make the spot a tad loud when it's busy, but remember, this is a bar so it isn't exactly a place for quiet conversation. To the right is a hallway that leads to a takeout area (which has a separate entrance from the outside as well), and as is the case with the Lynwood, Damien's sells a lot of pizza to go, so much so that it has a completely separate counter for takeout.

Like some of the other drinking spots in the area that feature bar pizza, Damien's offers an array of pub grub and comfort food items as well, with a few favorites here including steak tips in a house-made marinade, boneless buffalo fingers that can be ordered grilled or fried, wings with several heat options (including one labeled "suicidal"), turkey tips glazed in a bourbon sauce, fish and chips with freshly-battered haddock used, and an old-fashioned chicken parm with red sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pasta. For many customers, however, it is all about the bar pizza at Damien's, and for good reason; while slightly different from the bar pies at such favorites as the Lynwood, the Home Cafe in Brockton, and Buddy's Union Villa in Easton, the pizza here is terrific in its own way, with the thin cracker-like crust having a slightly spicy tomato sauce and a mix of greasy cheeses, and as is the case with all good bar pizza, the sauce and cheese extend all the way to the outer edge of the crust. The bar pies at Damien's are somewhat similar to such stalwarts as Poopsie's in Pembroke, Hoey's at the AMVETS in Randolph, and the Venus Cafe in Whitman in that the crust is very thin--so much so that burnt edges are not really an option here, unlike at the Lynwood, Home Cafe, and the Villa where burnt edges are actually offered on the menu for a small charge. A lot of pizza toppings are available at Damien's, including linguica, hamburger, pepper, onion, garlic, black olive, sausage, ham, bacon, pepperoni, and broccoli, and for those who want a really loaded pizza, as many as six (or more!) toppings can be added to an individual bar pie. Drinks at Damien's feature few surprises, with mostly basic beers and wines served along with various spirits from the fully-stocked bar, while live music is featured on the weekends.

Damien's isn't typically mentioned in the same breath as the Lynwood, the Cape Cod Cafe in Brockton, or the Town Spa in Stoughton, but it should be, as the bar pizza here is among the better ones tried for this site. If you like rustic old bars that feel like they are straight out of a remote town in Northern New England or the Adirondacks in New York--and you like greasy bar pies washed down with cheap beer--this relatively unknown spot should definitely be added to your list of places to try.