October 15, 2021 by Marisa Olsen
Situated in downtown Hingham stands The Snug, a cozy Irish pub and local institution, paneled in wood with intimate seats and a quaint bar, and of course a tap of Guinness and its famous steak tips.
The Snug opened in January 2003. Husband and wife team Ed and Ellen Brown purchased the former Colonial Lunch from The Dunn family. “We had originally thought we would buy in Vermont as we have a ski house there. The previous buyer for The Colonial had fallen through, and the rest as they say, is history,” remarks Ed Brown. Prior to becoming restaurateurs, Brown worked in sales and finance for insurance and Ellen was in the retail business. Right after 9/11, the Browns decided to change gears and open their own pub. Ed always found himself to be an entrepreneur at heart and ready for a challenge, which worked in his favor.
The Snug menu is quite robust and showcases traditional dishes, such as fish and chips, Shepherd’s Pie, and corned beef. But one of their most famous dishes is the Steak Tips. “We started marinating our own Snug steak tips since the beginning, and have won numerous awards with The Taste of Hingham. The marinade is BBQ bourbon based, and other than that ... the rest is a secret,” shared Brown. (For the record, we tried to convince Ed to reveal more of the sacred ingredients, but he keeps his recipes close to his heart.)
The entree is served on a large plate with six plump steak tips. Diners have an option to select two sides, and on our most recent visit, we chose the vegetable of the day, which was roasted yellow squash and zucchini, and sweet potato fries. The steak tips had that perfect char and an almost caramelized sauce. They were tender and filled with a mesquite and sweet flavor. They were delicious and filling, and addictive.
The steak tip recipe was created by Ed and a former chef. Rather than bring in pre-made marinated meat, the team decided to create their own, and it seems like they made the right decision. It makes sense that these tips have won countless awards and accolades, including “The Taste of the Town” in Hingham for 15 years. When asked for the perfect accompaniment drink, Brown doesn’t hesitate, “A perfect pint of Guinness pairs especially well with our signature steak tips, and this would be our recommendation for a first-time customer.”
Obtaining the perfect pint is not a quick draft pour. It’s a two-part pour; the first part of the pour is done holding the pint glass at a 45 degree angle, and filling up to the iconic harp on the Guinness pint glass. The contents in the glass must settle, sitting the pint upright on the bar for about 30 seconds. During this time, a cascade effect takes place. Once the cascade has settled, the pint glass is filled, while the tap is pushed backwards, creating a softer pour. The beer is then filled to the top without any bubbles. The Snug also washes the outside of the glass with water to keep the glass clean and sticky-free. When the beer is completely black with a creamy gold top, the beer is ready to consume … a perfect pint.
If you like to enjoy your pints and steak tips outside, you’re in luck. Like so many hospitality businesses, The Snug had to accommodate a changing dining landscape due to the pandemic. “One of the silver linings of the pandemic was the ability to put a patio on the tunnel cap. On July 4, 2020 we opened up the patio and now our customers enjoy sitting outside. We hope to keep it going, weather permitting.”
As The Snug approaches it’s 20th anniversary in a few years, Brown remains thankful to his family’s success, “We are looking forward to our continued success and we appreciate our customers who have supported us during the pandemic.”