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Belly Up

Posted by Jim Botticelli  October 3, 2013 01:43 PM

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Old Town Tavern, South Boston
Photos by Jim Kelley

"To alcohol! The cause of, and the solution to, all of life's problems." ... Matt Groening
The Old Town Tavern was an old school, dyed in the wool Southie joint where you could belly up to the bar pretense-free wearing the same clothes you wore all day on the shop floor. In fact, we bet if you showed pretense it was best if you grabbed a cab to the nearest brick and fern bar. The Old Town was the real thing, a bar where a guy could knock back a couple and have a few chuckles. Conversely he could knock back a few and have a couple of chuckles. The bar was run by Ken Conley, a longshoreman in the Conley Terminal , who had run the 1-A for a few years.

Located at the Corner of K & Third, The Old Town's reputation gained traction when Dottie Collins, from St. Ambrose Parish in Fields Corner began cooking her famous Roast Beef dinners on Saturday nights that drew patrons from all around the way. Beef sliced to order and piled high, mashed potatoes gravy or not, kernel corn or string beans for vegetables. No one called them veggies. That's a DOB guarantee. Take that to the bank. 99 cents for the chow. Short on cash? Ken Conley let his customers pay when they could.
Ray Flynn would stop in. Mike Barnicle, columnist with the Boston Globe hit it. Television personality and news lady Liz Walker drank at the Old Town. One regular got tagged "Laughing Gas" because of his explosive laughter. Oh, and just for the record? No bookies allowed.

Thanks to Rick Winterson and South Boston Online for vital information

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About the author

Jim Botticelli, a 1976 Northeastern University graduate, is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher. In college, he drove a cab and learned the city's cow paths. An avid collector of More »

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