In some ways, South Boston has changed more over the past several years than any other Boston neighborhood, with the Seaport District, Fort Point, and Broadway all becoming hotspots for everything from residential developments to new stores and dining and drinking spots. All of these changes come at a price, however, as the "old" Southie continues to disappear, and with it, a number of dive bars, neighborhood watering holes, and old-school restaurants. A few such places still exist, though, including a spot that is renowned not so much for its restaurant and bar area, but for its function room, and if you haven't heard of the Seapoint Bar and Grill--or its predecessor, the Bayside Club--you still probably know of the place even if the names don't ring a bell.
The Seapoint Bar and Grill is located in the mostly residential Dorchester Heights/Telegraph Hill section of South Boston, and as is the case with much of this area, it resides along a very steep street--so steep, in fact, that the top of the street becomes a staircase. The front entrance is on Eighth Street, and this is the aforementioned function/events room that the Seapoint is probably known best for, as back when it was the Bayside Club, former senate president Billy Bulger hosted the legendary St. Patrick's Day Breakfasts there. What many do not know is that a back entrance that is accessed from Covington Street (the street that becomes a staircase) leads to a neighborhood restaurant and bar downstairs from the function room that is about as old-school as they come, with pool tables, Keno, big-screen televisions, a mural of local sports legends, and a dining area set up next to a bar where you will often find the Southie of old, with lots of laughter and storytelling going on. The Seapoint Bar and Grill may have the feel of a true local hangout, but it is by no means a sketchy or rough place, as everyone from families to couples to blue- and white-collar workers can be found here, dining on pub grub and drinking beer or cocktails. By the way, folks coming by car have it made at this spot, as it actually has its own parking lot, which is a rarity in Southie.
The menu at the Seapoint Bar and Grill is mostly typical bar bites and classic American fare, but this place has been here for a long time and they put out good versions of comfort food at very cheap prices. Lovers of pub grub will indeed find all the basics here, including house-made potato skins, wings and tenders, mozzarella sticks, burgers, turkey clubs, meatball subs, pastrami sandwiches, American chop suey, chicken pot pie, and an almost shockingly good pizza (think more thin-crust Italian than bar-style pie, and go with simple pies like meatball, pepperoni, mushroom, or a white pizza), but the Seapoint tends to be known for its outstanding steak tips, which come close in quality to such stalwarts as the Newbridge Cafe and Floramo's in Chelsea, Cronin's in Quincy, Silvertone in Boston, and Conrad's in Norwood, Walpole, and Sudbury. The tips here are tender and moderately lean (but not so much as to lose their flavor) and the marinade is a bit sweet and a bit tangy, with the grill adding a nice smokiness to the tips. Two other options for tips include pork tips and turkey tips, and the turkey tips are every bit as good as the steak tips, which makes the "combo" option a worthwhile choice here, though the steak tips and sausage combo plate is also worth considering. Don't expect high-end options for alcoholic beverages at the Seapoint, as cheap beer and liquor tend to be the popular options here.
The Seapoint Bar and Grill is one of those places that half of Boston knows about, but few actually realize that they know of it. And while the St. Patrick's Day Breakfast events are long gone from the spot now, the function room remains a well-known place among Southie residents for all kinds of events, while the well-hidden restaurant and bar downstairs is definitely your classic hidden gem--especially if you like pizza and steak tips.
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