It makes you think, it makes you laugh, it makes you cry… I first watched Good Will Hunting in Russia many years back and fell in love with it. But after visiting Boston, walking around MIT campus and trying to find my way in small and sometimes scary streets of Southie… where do I even begin to explain how much better I understood the story while watching this 90-s classic the second time around a few days back. Boston in this movie is not just a backdrop for the story but a self-sufficing character.
Hillary Richard in BBC article “The Boston Immortalized in Good Will Hunting” observes:
“The 1997 film resonated with audiences worldwide and is still beloved, thanks in part to its filming location. Boston is a city of neighborhoods, each with a distinct personality and proud residents. And the city is still home to characters like those in the film – from bohemian students and Harvard professors to young fans clad head-to-toe in Boston sports apparel.
This is the beauty – and the genius – of Good Will Hunting’s scenery: Boston got to speak for itself. The most mundane, everyday locations evoked a powerful sense of place.”
My midnight movie session was inspired by a visit to Good Will Hunting bar, or as it’s actually called L street Tavern – one of the filming locations in South Boston (or Southie as locals call it).
The tavern from outside as it was featured in the movie:
Hillary Richard continues:
“Filming in Massachusetts in the 1990s, before officials began offering film-credit incentives, was both challenging and expensive. But when Grafft [the head of locations for the Massachusetts Film Office] took director Gus Van Sant through South Boston to scout locations, Van Sant was immediately drawn to several local spots, including the L Street Tavern – and no sound stage in Toronto could do them justice”.
It was L street Tavern where the gang would spend evenings having beer and where Will introduced Skylar to his friends.
What did I expect to find there? A ton of tourists trying to get the table where Will and his friends sat in the movie, ok drinks and staff bored with people taking selfies. What did I actually find there? A true neighborhood bar with locals sipping beer at the counter, amazing cocktails and the sweetest bartender I have ever met who not only said “Take as many pictures as you like” when we walked in but also made us delicious custom drinks.
The place has been renovated since the movie was shot here but it still has that same spirit of a simple neighborhood pub. We did get the table where Will and his friends had pints of beer: it has pictures and quotes from the movie.
After a few rounds of these magic-green cocktails featuring midori and pineapple juice I could very vividly imagine Matt Damon and Ben Affleck sitting on the same chairs as us some 20 years ago.
To tell the truth, I assumed it would be a one-time visit just for the sake of taking a picture. But the bar’s relaxed atmosphere, friendly bartender and outstanding drinks made me realize that it’s much more than a tourist attraction and I will definitely be back here.
Address: 658 E 8th St, Boston, MA 02127
Hours: Mon – Sun: 12 PM – 1 AM
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AUTHOR: YULIA DYUKOVA
Yulia is a Russian food and travel blogger who found home first in Sri Lanka for 3 years, then in Brazil for a year and is currently based in Austin, Texas. She is the kind of person who starts a research of the new country by googling “what to eat in…” instead of “what to visit in…” Yulia is a self-proclaimed “food nerd” who will spend hours reading on the origins of pecan pie before trying it and who doesn’t consider waiting in line of 50 people to get a cronut a waste of time. She finds it hard to keep her delicious findings to herself and that is the reason why this blog exists.