This downtrodden local institution--not a favorite of Allston's black-clad scenesters--caters to loyal regulars with an unpretentious environment, inexpensive drinks, and hard-charging live music. Atmosphere comes by way of a weathered deer head, a photo of Elvis and Richard Nixon, and the smell of stale beer and cigarettes. Surprisingly friendly bartenders are usually good for a story, or a light.
O'Brien's truly comes to life on the weekends, when its pulsating, live rock shows can be heard down the street (pity the poor neighbors). After paying a reasonable cover (usually around $5), expect an inexpensive night of drinking and carousing. While there's a well-stocked bar and eight beers on tap, most drinkers settle for cheap bottles of Bud. Fidgety patrons pass the time with a game darts or cribbage, while those looking for a bite have to make do with packets of potato chips.