fb-pixelL Street Tavern, iconic Southie bar, getting sold in March Skip to main content

L Street Tavern, made famous in ‘Good Will Hunting,’ being sold in March

L Street Tavern in 1995, two years before the release of "Good Will Hunting."TLUMACKI, JOHN GLOBE STAFF PHOTO

Ownership of L Street Tavern, a South Boston bar made famous by the film “Good Will Hunting,” will change hands in March but will “continue its neighborhood traditions” under the new proprietors, the establishment said Friday on social media.

“After 27 amazing years, Jack and Susan Woods will be selling L Street Tavern, in early March,” the tavern said in a statement posted to its Instagram and Facebook pages.

In a nostalgic reflection, the bar offered special thanks to its loyal customers.

“For almost three decades, YOU, the patrons, have helped shape the character of this place while creating lasting relationships and lifelong memories,” the tavern said. “Together, we supported our elected officials and local charities. We celebrated sports championships and special occasions. We marched. We sang and went swimming for epic cold water events.”

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The cold water events were a reference to the annual L Street Brownies’ plunge into the frigid waters of Dorchester Bay each New Year’s Day. The tavern was one of the local businesses that hosted the Brownies when they sold shirts for the plunge, with proceeds going to charity.

“We welcomed celebrities and strangers from near and far, and dignitaries from overseas,” the tavern said. “We celebrated with Irish festivities for a whole Saint Paddy’s Day season. We had a front row seat for some of our favorite love stories, engagements and even the next generation of babies. We raised our four amazing kids just a block away who were born into the business.”

The tavern will “continue its neighborhood traditions,” under the ownership of the Medico family, the message said.

The statement concluded with a word of thanks to all who shared “in this run of a lifetime and creating the L Street Tavern experience. We are blessed. Good Times. Good friends. Good Will. Good-Bye.”

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The Woods were away and not available for comment at the tavern Friday evening.

Dan Monahan, president of the Brownies, said he is confident the new owners will honor L Street’s community ties.

“This has always been a neighborhood bar, and now it’s just being passed on to another fantastic family in South Boston,” Monahan said at the tavern early Friday evening. “The tradition continues.”

“It’s like a safe zone,” Monahan added. “You know you can come down here and meet a friendly face, have a good time. It’s passed on from the owners now and to the new owners. That’s not going to change.”

Kenny Tallent, Danny Monahan, and Carol Galvin enjoyed their beers at L Street Tavern.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

“A local, great guy bought it,” agreed Joe Donovan, 53, of South Boston, a customer for more than 30 years.

Carol Galvin, who lives three blocks away, said the tavern is “a place where everybody knows each other.”

“Even if you don’t know each other, you still become friendly real quick because everybody’s very welcoming.”

The neighborhood tavern took a star turn more than two decades ago when Massachusetts’ own Matt Damon and Ben Affleck featured the bar in their breakout movie.

The 1997 film “Good Will Hunting,” about a hardscrabble South Boston orphan with a searing intelligence, included a scene at the tavern where a female patron lobs a crude joke toward Affleck’s character.

Over the years, the bar played host to a parade of politicians seeking to press the flesh with constituents, including former governor Charlie Baker, who swung by in September 2018.

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Charlie Baker tended bar at the L Street Tavern in 2018. Photo by Katherine Taylor for The Boston Globe

His sleeves rolled up to his elbows and a Guinness in hand, the Republican looked like a bartender listening to the concerns of patrons, the Globe reported at the time.

On most nights, L Street is a place where patrons of all ages go to have fun.

“It’s very underestimated how many young people come out, especially on the weekends,” said Hannah Touchette, 23, who moved from the Midwest to South Boston in June. “On the weekends, Saturday nights, it makes a line out the door from everyone slowly crawling their way back here.”

“It’s just a fun place to go and meet everyone,” said Olivia Sloane, 26, who was at the bar with four friends.

Any advice for the new owners?

“I think they just shouldn’t change anything,” Sloane said. “We have new bars, we have so many new restaurants coming in [to South Boston], they should just keep it the way it is and not do anything. Don’t facelift it. They should just leave it the same.”

The L Street Tavern.Erin Clark/Globe Staff


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Lila Hempel-Edgers can be reached at lila.hempeledgers@globe.com. Follow her on X @hempeledgers and on Instagram @lila_hempel_edgers.