Patrons of Sonny McClean’s Irish Bar in Santa Monica are convinced that America’s Most Wanted man Whitey Bulger was a regular there.
The bar is a shrine to Boston Irish sports and is visited by all Boston ex-pats who live in the Los Angles area. Whitey was just a few miles away in his apartment when he was arrested for his suspected role in 19 murders
The Wall Street Journal described the bar as being“dimly lit with Red Sox and Patriots banners on its walls and framed photos of Larry Bird and Tom Brady hanging over its green upholstered booths.“
Last week, the pub was playing and replaying ’The Departed,’ the Boston-Irish mob movie where Jack Nicholson's character is based on Whitey Bulger himself.
In the men’s bathroom graffiti announced: "Whitey wuz here."
"He had to have come in here for the clam bellies"—a New England specialty, Joanie O'Hara Schecter, the bar's co-owner, told the WSJ . "We're the only place in L.A. that has them."
Boston Irish are showing up outside Whitey’s old apartment, too. Some wore shirts that read "Southie"; another read, "Harvard."
Writer and Boston native Michael Patrick MacDonald showed up for Whitey’s hearing. "I don't know why I came. I just had to," Mr. MacDonald said. "I was remembering all the mothers who lost their kids in that neighborhood."
Inside Sonny’s, Boston writer Dennis Lehane simply said, "I'm glad they got him."
Bartender "Big" Tom Nicholson felt a little differently. He expressed, "I'm almost sad he got caught...he was a legend in Boston. He comes from a time and a place that doesn't exist anymore in Boston…he reminds everyone of the old days, for better or for worse."