1.1 min readBy Published On: December 20th, 2023Categories: Features63 Comments on Remembering Bailey’s Ice Cream Shop

When I was kid, going to Bailey’s Ice Cream Shop was always a special treat.  I remember going after visiting the Enchanted Village at Jordan Marsh at Christmastime.  My mother always made sure my brother and I were dressed up – usually matching Rothschild coats.  We would walk a few blocks in the cold from Winter Street to 45 West Street.  Inside the shop were small marble topped tables with wrought iron legs and chairs.  You ordered your ice cream sundae from a counter and it was served in silver pedestal ice cream bowls on top of silver plates with long spoons.

After your sundae, you would look at the candy in glass display cases.  Sometimes my mother would get a pound of fudge for my grandfather.  For many, it was part of growing up in Boston.  It was a tradition that was passed down for generations.  Sadly, the legendary ice cream shop closed its doors in the late 80’s.

What’s your Bailey’s memory?

History Lesson

Opening in 1873 at 45 West Street, Bailey’s sold candy and ice cream.  The owners were John B. Bailey and D.H. Page.  When Bailey’s first opened, the shop focused on candy but later added ice cream.  Eventually, Bailey’s opened up 11 ice cream shops. 

Image via Dirty Old Boston Instagram 


  1. Veet Plezz November 9, 2021 at 12:02 am - Reply

    I used to work at Baileys in Harvard Sq. If anyone has any pics, I’d love to take a look.

    • Ronald carroll October 7, 2022 at 7:44 pm - Reply

      I work there around 1967-68.

  2. Peta Richkus January 3, 2022 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    When I lived in RI (late 60’s), my regular day trips to Boston always included ‘lunch’ at Bailey’s. If lunch was their overflowing butterscotch sundae… It got walked off. (lol)

  3. Ace Lightning January 10, 2022 at 4:24 am - Reply

    My aunt who lived in Chelsea always took me shopping for “back to school clothes” in Filene”s or Jordan Marsh (I usually stayed with her over my summer vacation). And then of course we’d go to Bailey’s. I’d eat a sundae (with the hot fudge running over the top of the tulip glass and dripping own onto the plate) and get some bulk candy – they made some “crystal mints” that were very minty and I loved them.

  4. Ace Lightning January 10, 2022 at 4:26 am - Reply

    Does Bailey’s still exist?

    • Maureen Dahill January 10, 2022 at 10:50 am - Reply

      Sadly, it does not!

    • Kristen Smith August 16, 2023 at 9:37 am - Reply

      There is a place called Bailey’s Bubble in Wolfboro NH … Think same family! http://baileysbubble.com/

  5. Cate January 18, 2022 at 3:34 am - Reply

    I worked at the Arlington St. location in the late 70’s.

  6. Susanne Varnum January 28, 2022 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    I worked at 60 State Street and loved going there on my lunch hour – I especially liked their pink and yellow gummy bunnies! Sooooo good

    • Mario Fialho August 28, 2022 at 10:09 am - Reply

      I worked for Bailey’s in the HQ building in Malden. I was 13 and made minimum wage. $3.65 and hour. My first job at 13y/o. I worked summers and every weekend. My Mom wrapped the candy boxes and we got to watch the old ladies had swirl the chocolate designs on the top of each candy individually. And the ice cream! The freezer was so cold you could only be in there for 5 mins before you started to get frost bite. Such a fun job. Then they closed. I think the owners wife committed suicide. And the whole place went down the tubes. It was sad. I was stuck emptying the place into storage containers. I ended up leaving and going to Pizza Hut.

      • Ann March 25, 2023 at 2:01 pm - Reply

        Mario, thank you for sharing those memories. I really miss Bailey’s. I worked on Devonshire St. Downtown and loved going to Bailey’s for lunch – egg and olive on rye with lettuce and tomato and a coffee ice cream soda with coffee ice cream. What made it even more delicious was eating at an old-fashioned marble table in an old-fashioned wrought iron ice cream parlor chair!

        • Christine Benoit March 9, 2024 at 10:01 pm - Reply

          Dad worked their for years, We would go in all the time after hours and play down the long hall looking out to the Boston Common. Temple Place. He would be cleaning and setting up for the next day!

      • Maureen February 5, 2024 at 11:30 pm - Reply

        Mario. I worked there too…my first job …1986-87 in Malden. Loved it! I have memories of the ladies out back making the chocolates. So sad it closed.

  7. Christine February 4, 2022 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    Used to love going to the one in Harvard Square in the 80s and also the one in Coolidge Corner.

  8. Cati Lahive February 15, 2022 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    Trips to Filene’s, Jordan Marsh and RH Sterns with my grandmother, Minnie were always memorable. Taking the train from West Roxbury we would do our shopping and end our day with lunch at Bailey’s. This would consist of either an egg salad or cream cheese and jelly sandwich, followed by the most decadent hot fudge sundae I have ever had the pleasure of eating. The tulip shaped silver goblet would be placed in front of me filled with delicious vanilla ice cream overflowing with marshmallow and hot fudge crowned with whipped cream and a cherry. The marshmallow and hot fudge cascaded down the sides of the frozen vanilla treat onto the white plate it snuggled into. These are some of my favorite memories with one of my favorite people. I brought my children when they were little to the swan boats then to Bailey’s to share my experience…..sadly Bailey’s had closed it’s doors. Very disappointing fortunately I still have my memories. Thank you Minnie and Thank you Bailey’s!!

  9. Roy Magnuson March 5, 2022 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Does anyone remember if the Bailey’s on West St. had a second floor? I remember going somewhere in this area for lunch in the 1950’s with my mom and we always rode up an escalator that was on the right as we entered. A grilled cheese sandwich with a chocolate frappe. So delicious those lunches were.

    • Jean Dunklee West August 27, 2023 at 1:17 pm - Reply

      Bailey’s on West Street did have more than one floor but never an escalator . I worked there in the mid sixties and loved running the old fashioned elevator by myself to an upper floor ( think it was the third) on weekends to get fresh chocolates .

    • Russell Kaplan November 27, 2023 at 4:11 pm - Reply

      The second floor was where the old ladies hand dipped the chocolates

    • Bostonian Ann December 21, 2023 at 3:05 pm - Reply

      You meant an elevator…How fun! Bailey’s was such a wonderful treat with my grandmother and grand-aunt in the 50s!!…with a side trip to S.S. Pierce on Tremont St. :)

  10. Michelle March 5, 2022 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    Did Baileys sell special gifts for holidays? I have 3 nesting Easter decorated eggs. The large one is almost as big as a football l. The middle one inside the large one has a red sticker on the inside that says Baileys 26 Temple Place Boston Mass.

    • Brenda J Proctor July 5, 2022 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      My mom moved from Maine to Boston in 1976 she bragged on about bailey’s and once I took my first bite into my chocolate sundae I understood why she spoke so highly of Bailey’s, wonderful memories

  11. James Carras March 21, 2022 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    Michelle, baileys for Christmas and Easter had special boxes for their candy. The boxes you described were Baileys specials. Let me know if you are willing to sell it. I am writing a history of baileys.

    • Annmarie July 24, 2023 at 8:28 am - Reply

      Would love to know more about what you’re writing. I worked in their office on Temple Place and “moved” to Malden with them.

  12. Karen Gardner-Ogg March 30, 2022 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Will never forget my trips on the train from Reading,MA with my grandmother to Filenes basement and either Durgin Park or Baileys for lunch.
    The places and times will always leave a special memory in those who were lucky enough to enjoy Boston in a somewhat calmer manner with those now gone.

  13. LF April 30, 2022 at 10:41 am - Reply

    While I went to school in Boston I worked part time in their office, on Temple Place. Such nice people and fond memories. Their chocolates were delicious too!

  14. Sara Orel May 11, 2022 at 1:21 am - Reply

    My Dad used to deliver their newspaper in the 1930s and if the store was not busy they would give him an ice cream. I was glad to have been taken there in 1983. I remember the hot fudge marshmallow sundae.

  15. Melinda August 20, 2022 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Does anyone know what happened to the marble topped tables grom the Bailey’s stores?

  16. Melinda August 20, 2022 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    from, not grom

  17. ML August 20, 2022 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    Does anyone know what happened to the marble- topped tables from the Bailey’s stores?

    • Christine benoit April 7, 2024 at 7:03 pm - Reply

      My mom has one in the basement marble tables heavy as hell and two chairs are silver with heart shape on back with round red seats.

  18. Peter L August 22, 2022 at 11:30 pm - Reply

    My grandmother worked at Schraffts in Charlestown for over 50 years. She made chocolates the old fashioned way – as a hand dipper.
    Her next job was working at Bailey’s in the 1980’s, again, making chocolates. One of my fondest memories is taking the bus into Boston in the morning with her as we both commuted to work. She was 80 years of age at the time.
    She loved working there because making chocolates by hand was a lost art. They are all made by machines now.
    She appreciated that Bailey’s put out a quality product.

  19. Jason miller September 3, 2022 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    I remember the Bailey’s in town by Arlington Street and downtown I think it was on Washington Street. The last one I remember was in Belmont and on some days I would take the bus from town to Belmont just to get the best sundae I ever had with hot fudge marshmallow and nuts. I wish they still were around. I miss them

  20. andrew hyde September 14, 2022 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    I went on Trolley from suburb to shop at Filene’s Basement or Jordan Marsh. I was a stamp collector novice and I got of at Mass Ave. , first, just down from Symphany Hall. Then upstairs to Scotts Catelogue Store.
    I got to downtown and I surprised myself when I got to the door of Bailey’s.
    I wish I could recall all the scenes going through my thoughts. I can not tell if they are …….
    Important is, though! My great grandpa Reuben Robinson opened Robinsons & Company 1889 at
    329-331 Washington St. There were Abraham, Phillip, Solomon, Simon, Fanny , Sara, Rachel_________Mommy Mrs. Dora (Rubinsky) had passed just then, too. I have researched so much real estate and surrounding Land Marks. Please if there one person delving into genealogy, too; pleasure learning of yours.
    regards. Andrew R, Hyde 786-326-0351 [email protected]

  21. Ronald carroll October 7, 2022 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    Does anybody remember Waldorf cafeterias in boston?

    • Sheryl Smith December 24, 2023 at 11:21 am - Reply

      I do! I was fascinated by them. Them, along with Horn & Hardhart’s….we could use something like Waldorf’s today. A place where people can eat at a reasonable price.

  22. Susan B October 21, 2022 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Wasn’t there a Bailey’s off Rte. 9 in Chestnut Hill for a while?

    • Debbie Dusel January 7, 2023 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      Hi Susan, yes there sure was. It was almost across Route 9 from the Chestnut Hill Mall. My Grandparents took my twin Sister and I as a very special treat. She would get a Butterscotch & Marshmallow Sundae and I would get the Hot Fudge & Marshmallow sundae.

    • Jay May 1, 2023 at 2:50 pm - Reply

      I managed the Chestnut Hill store, around 1975 or so.

  23. MaryEllen October 29, 2022 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    I’ve loved reading all the comments! I worked at BAILEYS OF BOSTON in my high school years. I LOVED IT! I had three cousins, Dennis, Mark and Maryanne Callahan who all worked there (beside RH Stearns) when I started. When I first started in probably 1967/1968? only “boys” were allowed to wear those red & white striped shirts and work at the soda fountain!!!!! Maryanne worked in the cards department and worked in the candy department!!!! The candy is “still with me and always will be ~ attached to my curvalicious body” I was the only kid in the department, all the other ladies were old enough to be my mother and grandmother. But, I loved it. I learned so much from those dear sweet ladies about the store and life and manners etc. Our dept manager “Charlotte” wore a “pink” coverup jacket and all us other ladies wore a beautiful teal color coverup over our clothes. We had to learn every swirl on those chocolates and hand pack any specialty boxes…however the customer wanted them. ….20 choc caramels, 5 coconut, 1 vanilla cream etc. My favorite chocolate was called a “winterberry” pink, creamy, a little minty…delish!!!!!!!!! We sold all kinds of fancy candies, fudge, nuts , turkish delights, ginger candies….specialty mints looking like daisies for wedding showers etc. We tied all the boxes with red ribbons. I learned how to gift wrap the packages and tie fancy bows. I loved gift wrapping, I still do. At the holidays, they had special foil wrapped Santa clauses, Easter eggs etc. I would have to price them all and help set up the displays. It was so much fun. The people who worked there (Management) were always so friendly, kind, patient and fun. I remember Mr. Mapes, Mr. Winer, Eleanor, etc. I met a few boyfriends there. Baileys had great holiday parties for us. I was only a kid, but I worked Monday and Wednesdays after school until 9pm and all day Saturdays. I went on a bus from Brighton to Kenmore Sq, then a trolley to Park Street…..or a bus to Central Sq in Cambridge, then a train to Harvard Sq!!!!!!! I was only 15 (I fibbed on my application, sorry Mr. Mapes!!) until I graduated from high school. My mother trusted me, and my instincts. Probably no mother would let a young girl do that, alone, now…. I also had to help out occasionally, at the other Boston stores, Harvard Square, Wellesley? I also covered the card department when someone went on a break…GREAT MEMORIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jay May 1, 2023 at 2:54 pm - Reply

      I think I recall Mr Mapes. (I managed Chestnut Hill around 1975.)

    • Annmarie July 24, 2023 at 8:14 am - Reply

      I worked in the office in the 1980s.

  24. Sheila Koback November 6, 2022 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Baileys was always the highlight of a Boston shopping trip (Filenes Basement) with my Mom! Good memories🤗💞🍨

  25. Lisa D'Ambrosio November 23, 2022 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    Don’t think I’ve seen the Medford Square store mentioned in this thread! My husband is from Medford and we would go there when we were dating & first married. Closed some time in the late ‘80’s I believe.

  26. Ann marston November 30, 2022 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    Best hot fudge sundaes

  27. jeanne December 3, 2022 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Many fond memories of having Sundays (always to fudge) there with my Mum after a day of bargain shopping in Filene’s Basement with possibly trip to Jordan Marsh – then maybe we’d wonder over to Grant’s and sit at their counter for a most delicious hot dog ending with some nice warm peanuts…..sometimes we’d wonder over to the Common and share our peanuts with the squirrels and pigeons….then my older sisters would take me and unfortunately they closed before I could the same for their children – but we did make it to the Common for ice skating – and the short ride home to South Boston….

  28. mplo December 6, 2022 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    Mmmmmm!! Bailey’s hot fudge Sundaes were the greatest!!

  29. Michael Wish December 31, 2022 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    i second, third . etc everything everyone has said about Baileys. no one younger than 30 can comprehend how great the sundaes were. lydia shire tried to duplicate the hot fudge since there aren’t written recipes. i don’t think she could. and yes there was a Baileys on route 9 in chestnut hill. 2 downtown and 1 in coolidge corner and wellesley i remember 😎

  30. Carole Hess May 2, 2023 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Anyone have that hot fudge sauce. Recipe???

  31. Donna May 5, 2023 at 2:56 am - Reply

    Long shot: I was addicted to the cream cheese sandwich but can’t remember the name of the dark sweet bread it was served on

  32. Tom Good May 16, 2023 at 7:15 am - Reply

    My father opened and managed Bailey’s Chestnut Hill store from 1966 (when he retired from the Army) to about 1969. Prior to that, from 1964-66 he was part of the management team at Bailey’s Wellesley store. The sundaes were great (because the components were so good!) and the hot fudge sauce was to die for. I particularly enjoyed Bailey’s deeply colored and richly flavored coffee ice cream, but unfortunately, I’ve never found an equally good coffee ice cream since. When my father moved away in 1972, he sent for some Bailey’s coffee ice cream, packed in dry ice for shipment, to give to his co-workers who didn’t initially believe it was so good. And, nobody believes me now when I say the same thing! A classic car can be appreciated by young people because it still exists with all its charm and function, but Bailey’s ice cream apparently can’t be replicated. A loss for Boston and the world.

    • Carola B. May 23, 2023 at 1:20 am - Reply

      Tom: thanks for adding your memories to the discussion. Was there some kind of secret ingredient or technique that made that hot fudge so unforgettable? Can you give any insight to help those of us who try to recreate that experience but cannot get their hot fudge sauce to hold a candle to that Rt. 9 parlor of my youth?

  33. M Goddard June 12, 2023 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    I worked at Ludlam’s pet shop on Temple Place, right across the street from Bailey’s. I could hardly wait for my break. I bet if they just opened one store today, they would be millionaires in a week!

  34. RFC June 26, 2023 at 3:31 am - Reply

    I worked at the downtown Boston location (across from the Commons) in the late 70’s. I was a packer in the candy kitchen, which you got to via a magical secret staircase underneath the soda fountain area! I started as a packer packing chocolates off the belt into boxes (yes, like in the famous I Love Lucy Episode, which I never watched till years later). My first day I remember waiting for the Green Line and just reeking of chocolate out of every pore lol (not a bad thing to reek of though). My coworkers were a wonderful group of wise women who had mastered the art of hand-dipping chocolate. Each different filling had its own unique swirl design which was unique to Bailey’s. Those ladies were an amazing source of insight into life! The candy kitchen was a masterpiece of craftsmanship. I really loved that job and think fondly of it to this day. Lovely to share with others who worked there, here! Good times!

  35. Christie July 10, 2023 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    Bailey’s was a tradition in my family starting with my great-grandparents taking my mom and aunt when they were children. When they finished, she used to say, “Would you like another?” and they were so large that my mother never had another until Baileys had closed and we found one in Bermuda! My grandparents used to take my brother and me when we visited the Boston Common and ride the swan boats. I remember my grandma’s overflowing with marshmallow so I am throwing her an ice cream sundae party in 2023. I liked the chocolate fudge instead. I would love a photo or drawing of the shape of the bowls and plates. I never realized Bailey’s also sold sandwiches because we went the for ice cream, but I do remember the white marble and wrought iron. Thank you all for the memories!

  36. Liz July 19, 2023 at 9:26 am - Reply

    I remember Baily’s so well.. The chocolate sauce was amazing.. It reminded me of rich chocolate pudding.. Yum! Good memories with my Mom!

    • Nikki Arnet August 7, 2023 at 3:44 pm - Reply

      Oh, that hot butterscotch sauce that cooled and thickened on the ice cream! I miss Bailey’s!

  37. Meryl Dykstra August 15, 2023 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    I worked for a couple of years on the candy counter of the Bailey’s in Harvard Square, eventually (though briefly) as manager. I was in my 20’s, and this was in the “hippy-dippy” era of the late 1970s. Wild times, and the Square was a happenin’ place back in the day. Our store’s proximity to the Harvard campus meant many notable folks with a sweet tooth visited our quaint counter with it’s antique pushbutton cash register. I once sold a 25 cent caramel to Caroline Kennedy, and lawyer Alan Dershowitz was a frequent buyer of dark chocolate-covered candied orange peel (usually with a young coed on his elbow). Many memories of that time and experience are indelible for me today, even though I’m now nearly 71! May Baileys live long in collective memory!

  38. Carla Skinder November 9, 2023 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    For many years starting in the 50’s I went to Baileys EVERY DAY! Wellesley, Cambridge , Chestnut Hill, Boston and beyond!
    I preferred not to go alone for most of my friends couldn’t eat the whole Sundae and I would polish everyone’s dish! A lost treasure:(

  39. Brian November 20, 2023 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    I worked at Baileys from 1975 to 1979, I started as a dishwasher in the temple place store (entrances on both Winter Street and Tremont Street. I worked my way to the counter making and serving those ice cream sundaes. I also worked for the shipping department and actually made the hot fudge in the basement of Temple Place. The Ice Cream was made at the Franklyn Street location in the basement and I worked with a rather large man helping him make and store the Ice Cream. To answer the question asked earlier about the dark bread, it was date-nut bread served with cream cheese. We did deliveries to other location stores on Franklyn Street, Boylston Street and Temple Place in Boston. Three other stores were in Brookline, Wellesley and Cambridge. Names I remember were The owner Frank Weiman, Mr. Clifford, Auther Mapes (his kids – Susan, Michael and Kimberly. Kim’s boyfriend Mike). Paul Nolan, Donna Nolan, Walter Elliot, the LaSpina sisters, mrs. mcgonigle in the candy department, her daughter Grace who worked the candy counter when home from school, her daughter Barbara and son Joseph who worked the Ice Cream Counter. Tom hart, tommy Cain, Blanche Linehan and her daughters Susan and Eileen who also worked the candy counter. Fran O,Keene, Fran Ouellette,, George Waddell the manager, Christine who worked in the card shop. Clint the dishwasher. The ladies who cleaned the tables Ava, Vera and Patsy(?). So many more nice people who passed through, their names I can’t remember.

  40. mplo December 21, 2023 at 12:54 am - Reply

    Mmmmm…..I still remember Bailey’s, both the ones in Harvard Square, and the one in Chestnut Hill. The Sundaes,especially the hot fudge Sundaes were great!

  41. joe keefe December 22, 2023 at 7:31 am - Reply

    in addition ro bailey’s my favorite ice cream haynts were “stahls”ICP on e.b;way, and “Jpe’s spa west B’way and dorchester st in southoie in the early 50s

  42. Mary Picard Walsh December 22, 2023 at 11:08 am - Reply

    As a young woman I worked in an office building at 600 Washington Street and one of my biggest pleasures was having a delicious hot fudge sundae for lunch at Baileys. Sooo good. I alway s strolled thru their gift shop – a long narrow store filled with wonderful trinkets. I use to buy Sebastian Miinatures – hand painted porcelain figurines. The Swan Boats was my favorite. So many memories of Baileys.

  43. Sheryl Smith December 24, 2023 at 11:12 am - Reply

    I just found this post because I was telling a young co-worker about the amazing Bailey’s. My childhood had many of the same memories mentioned here. My late mother bringing me to the Enchanted Village and stopping at Bailey’s after. Getting hot chocolate (theirs was amazing and loaded with whipped cream) after ice skating. My favorite was the one across from the Common. I loved the marble tables, the silver pedestal sundae dishes and and the beautiful wooden counters. Many, many memories of Boston and Bailey’s in a kinder, gentler time. Miss them so much and really appreciated reading this today.

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