Beer nerds and brewmasters, unite! This suburban shop, which lines its shelves with everything from Rock Art Jasmine pale ale (Vermont) to Hofbräu Dunkel (Germany), is the place for suds aficionados. And for those just getting into the craft-beer scene, the knowledgeable staffers here offer weekly tastings that let you try before you buy. 51 Leonard St., Belmont, MA craftbeercellar.com.
At this relative newcomer in North Cambridge, the presentation is so artful that you almost feel guilty (almost!) for polishing off the expertly cut and dressed Japanese sea bass, isaki, and kasago. Guess what? You’ll get over it. After all, chef Gary Lei, an Uni alum, highlights the freshest and most flavorful fish around, and mercifully, his multicourse experiences don’t come with the eye-popping prices attached to most omakase. See? Guilt vanquished. 2372 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140, umamiomakase.com.
Mobsters, drugs, priceless art, and an unsolved mystery: This riveting capsule podcast about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist has it all. Meticulously crafted by WBUR’s Horan and Rodolico and the now-retired longtime Globe staffer Kurkjian, Last Seen’s twists, turns, and revelations are something you have to hear to believe. wbur.org/lastseen. wbur.org/lastseen.
This revelatory restaurant treats ramen-making as autobiographical performance art: Self-taught chef Masuo Onishi will operate Tsurumen for only 1,000 days, and reveals a new bowl of springy noodles inspired by a chapter of life every 200 days—such as the Formula 1995, a richly glistening miso ramen with wrinkly wontons that represents early adulthood. Savor every precious slurp. 420 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA .
All too often, long-haired gals find themselves at the mercy of scissors-happy stylists with their own agenda. Not at this new South End salon. Owner Sam Kane approaches each cut as if it’s art in the making, shaping her canvas by listening carefully and never passing judgment. Case in point: She declined to scold us for waiting 10 months between cuts—and left our revitalized locks at just the right length. 61 Berkeley St., Boston, MA blackroomsalon.com.
You might say Hudson has New England roots and California tips. That's the product of the decor vision of owner-designer Jill Goldberg, whose store is an ecumenical palette of vintage, modern, romantic, and tribal. There are soft, sweet sofas by Shabby Chic; stately Oly chairs and ottomans; and art deco-accented lamps from Worlds Away. It's an aesthetic that can make any Boston home kinder, gentler, and full-on cozier. 312 Shawmut Ave., Boston, MA hudsonboston.com.
Talk about misnomers. There's nothing but kidding—and playing and learning—going on within these walls. The many nooks and crannies burst with craft supplies, musical toys, scientific playthings, and dolls, and children are encouraged to sample the displays to their hearts' content. Merchandise tends toward the more educational and high quality—Thomas the Tank Engine, Hello Kitty, and Playmobil, as well as classics like Radio Flyers—but the bottom line is having fun, especially on fall Friday nights when the shop hosts card games, arts and crafts, and sing-alongs. 19 Harvard St., Brookline, MA .
At the end of Brighton's vintage row sits The Lush Life, a shop with a fabulous selection of antiques. Art Deco is a feature here, and the goods include everything from dining room sets, velvet sofas, and chandeliers to quirky martini glasses and shakers. If you're willing to rummage and don't mind picking up a piece that needs restoring, you can unearth good finds at cheap prices. 13 Harvard Street, Brighton, MA thelushlifeantiques.com.
Specializing in 18th- and 19th-century Italian and French furniture (with the odd 20th-century accessory thrown in), Autrefois has a warehouse ambience but a treasure trove of beautiful pieces. Bonus: Original light fixtures from the same eras are on sale, plus other unexpected objets d'art. The prices are fair, particularly given the hard-to-find merchandise. 125 Newbury Street, Boston, MA autrefoisantiques.com/.
The delicate art of hair removal with wax is practiced with finesse and care at this self-described "studio for personal grooming." Austens happens to be the master of extreme waxing: The fabled "Brazilian" job (in which 99 percent of a client's pubic hair is removed) is on offer; mercifully, champagne and cocktails are, too. This mellow salon helps to take the edge off any procedure. 115 Newbury Street, Boston, MA .
It's unfair to call the artists at Trefler's mere restorers. In fact, they are museum-level art conservators who perform miracles on ancient porcelain, paintings, antique furnishings, gilded frames, and books. These artisans will rescue your First Period blanket chest from the ravages of time, or save you much heartacheif a careless elbow sends your Ming dynasty vase tumbling. 29 Tower Rd., Newton, MA trefler.com.
From the smiling doorman who greets you to the freshly redone interiors, the Eliot boasts a European charm. The lost art of the small hotel has been reborn here with an eye for little details. the Back Bay location puts visitors within walking distance of all the shops, restaurants, and river strolls one could possibly cram into a single visit. Plus it's got a great new restaurant, Clio. 370 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA .
When she's not working on photo shoots, Cal gives the model treatment to those mere mortals in need of a helping hand. She has mastered the art of the updo, gives great glamour locks to even the straightest hair, and can make you up to look like you just stepped out of a fashion spread. She's available Tuesday and Saturday, and by appointment. Daryl Christopher, 37 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
These are the qualities we look for in a waxing: speed, and a thoroughness that lets us put off the next one for as long as possible. After 15 years on the strip (so to speak), Roussou has the process down pat. She's versed in the fine art of distraction—as she chatters on about shopping or the local dating scene, you scarcely notice the hot wax near your nether regions. Plus, post-treatment includes a gentle rubdown with calming oils. 338 Newbury St., Boston, MA g2ospasalon.com.
Think hot-towel shaving is a lost art? Not so: Young Rich Firicano is keeping the tradition alive and well. After thoroughly prepping your whiskers with a warm washcloth, a special softening cream, and the standard foam, he will proceed to dispatch them with smooth strokes and a steady hand—just what you want when a four-inch razor is skimming your neck. 240 North St., Boston, MA firicanosbarbershop.com/.