Matt Murphy's is simply a great pub and a great place to eat lunch or dinner. The differences are that Matt Murphy's was begun by a restauranteur, not a bartender, and it has always maintained a casual, almost country flavor which is friendly and authentic.
Unlike most Irish bars around Boston, Matt Murphy's has real pub food, not the hamburgers or upscaled sandwiches you now find. The bread is thick cut. The food is rustic and unpretentious. And yes, they take the full time to pour a true stout, letting it settle rather than rush it.
It seems like an easy recipe, making an Irish bar that feels real. But only a few get it right and Matt Murphy's is one. You never feel processed here.
BTW, the place is small. It is in a small restaurant row in Brookline Village.