Hot Date

By Alexandra Hall | Boston Magazine |

From predinner drinks in the South End to a nightcap by the Public Garden, local jeans guru Alison Barnard finds the Boston nightlife scene a perfect fit.


This is Alison Barnard’s favorite time of year to go out in Boston. “I’m a summer person,” says the owner of In-jean-ius (441 Hanover St., 617-523-5326), a boutique in the North End. “Everything is just so much prettier here then.”

The Boston-area native knows plenty about looking pretty. Her designer store peddles cutting-edge denim that flatters figures of every shape and size, which is why so many women flock to her for advice on the best blues for their bods. But when Barnard gets a night off, she’s happy to get out of the store, grab her boyfriend and hit the town.

“I’d start out early in the evening at Union Bar and Grille [1357 Washington St., 617-423-0555, www.unionrestaurant.com] for a drink,” she says. “I love sitting at the bar and having pomegranate martinis. Their secret ingredient is vanilla vodka—it makes them so delicious. But be careful. They sneak up on you,” she warns.

“Then we’d go for a stroll, passing through the South End to Back Bay, and maybe do some shopping at Fresh [121 Newbury St., 617-421-1212, www.fresh.com].” That’s where she indulges her urge to splurge. “All their products for men and women are amazing, so we’d both find something we liked. I know I’d end up buying something from their line of sugar-scented body products,” she says.

“By then we’d be hungry, so we’d stop at Sonsie [327 Newbury St., 617-351-2500, www.sonsieboston.com] for dinner,” Barnard says. “On warm nights, it’s a fantastic place to sit next to the open French doors and watch the world go by.”

And for a nightcap? “The bar area of Excelsior [272 Boylston St., 617-426-5684, www.excelsiorrestaurant.com] looks out to the Public Garden,” she says. “You have the trees all around you and you can watch couples strolling around the pond. It’s a perfect summer scene.”