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Traditional Irish pub (with thatched cottage) for downtown office tower

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  January 19, 2011 03:57 PM

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(Jeremy C. Fox /

Four Green Fields owner Colin Breen and Director of Marketing Maria J. Rojas stand in the upstairs John L. Sullivan Lounge, overlooking the main dining area and the thatched-roof cottage below.

Soon, downtown office workers with the urge to drink a pint of Guinness in a comfortable room paneled in dark wood will have a new option that may surprise them — a first-floor space in the steel-and-glass tower at the corner of Washington and Court streets.

On Feb. 10, Four Green Fields will celebrate its official grand opening just outside the lobby of the BNY Mellon Center at One Boston Place, though it may be able to open its doors as early as next week. Named for a song by Irish singer Tommy Makem that refers to the four provinces of Ireland, the pub will feature beer on tap, traditional and contemporary pub food and a big helping of authentic atmosphere.

Owner Colin Breen, the son of Irish immigrants, established his first Four Green Fields pub in Tampa 19 years ago and has long sought Boston location. Though this glass-walled spot at the foot of a 41-story office tower may seem an unlikely space to create a cozy Irish pub, Breen said it’s the best possible place.

“We can’t go to a neighborhood because we’re not from the neighborhood, so that wouldn’t make any sense,” Breen said. “And most spaces that you end up finding are the smaller, long-narrow kind of thing.” But this spacious location allows for the creation of three different indoor environments, he said, plus room for around 100 seats in the outdoor patio area when the weather warms up.

Most importantly, it allowed Breen to include a small cottage with an authentic thatched roof done by a professional thatcher from Scotland — a design on which Breen has obtained a US trademark. The cottage will be used as a gallery for Breen’s collection of Irish, American, French and Eastern European paintings and as a function room, said Maria J. Rojas, director of marketing for the pub.

“Hopefully we’ll get to do some wine tastings there, and food pairings with wine, and do something a little bit fun every once in a while, besides just the art,” Rojas said.

The goal is to bring not just visual art but also music and literature into the space. Opposite the cottage, a stage will feature live performance by Irish bands “almost every night,” according to Rojas. And the upstairs John L. Sullivan Lounge — named for the 19th- and early-20th-century Irish-American boxer known as “The Boston Strongboy” — will feature weekly literary meetings with book signings by authors such as Dennis Lehane and Michael Patrick MacDonald.

“We like to think of it as sort of a literary pub where we’re going to feature a lot of the wonderful talents that came in from Ireland and were cultivated here in the United States,” Rojas said. “I’m obviously not Irish, but I’ve traveled to Ireland, and you can’t deny the culture that it’s brought to the United States. I think that’s another wonderful thing about it — you don’t have to be Irish to come here, but you can enjoy some of the literary treasures.”

Breen said he expects to get a lot of business from the approximately 4,000 people working in One Boston Place and from nearby City Hall and the State House. He anticipates a mostly professional, upscale crowd but said it would be a relaxed space where college students, such as those from nearby Suffolk University and Emerson College could also be comfortable, though Breen said, “It’s not going to be a shot-and-a-beer joint. … No pitchers [of beer].”

To make things easier on nearby office workers, Four Green Fields will offer delivery of lunches and snack trays — only within the building to start — and online ordering will make it possible to get table service as soon as you walk in the door.

“They could literally have a party of 10 come in … and the minute they sit down, if they’re in a rush, we could have everything already started,” Rojas said.

And for that morning coffee, customers who work in One Boston Place can purchase a Four Green Fields coffee mug, keep their cream-and-sugar preferences on file, pick up their made-to-order coffee in the morning and drop off the empty mug when they head home at night.

Rojas said it’s all about building relationships with customers that make them want to come back, making the pub a social center the way pubs in Ireland are. “There are a lot of pubs, but we are going to try to make it special, and every time you come in, we’re going to be happy to see you and hopefully know your name by the second time you come back around,” she said. “And when you come and drop off your mug, you might stay and have a pint.”

Email Jeremy C. Fox at

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(Jeremy C. Fox for

Four Green Fields Director of Marketing Maria J. Rojas shows off the thatched-roof cottage on the first floor. The space will be used as an art gallery and function room.

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