Hands down, the best dim sum in Boston. Get there before 10:30 a.m. on Sunday or be prepared to wait for cart-delivered delicacies that include shrimp chow foon, sticky rice wrapped in grape leaves, and chicken feet—if you dare. The bill usually averages around $12 a person, and then you need not think about food again until dinner. 9 Tyler St., Boston, MA .
A classic pale ale—vaguely sweet, distinctly hopped, and tinged a deep shade of copper—this is the flagship brew of tiny Atlantic Coast Brewing, more commonly known as Tremont Brewery, in Charlestown. The really cool part? After years as a tap-only product, Tremont is finally, thankfully, in bottles available at finer packies everywhere. For a by-the-pint-only treat, look for Tremont's cask-conditioned best bitter of IPA, stocked in small batches at select bars such as Doyle's in Jamaica Plain.
Among those who've been in at one time or another: Joe Kennedy, George Bachrach, Jim Roosevelt, Mel King, Tom Gallagher, Carla Johnston, Tom Vallely, Jim Spiegel, Clark Abt. Midlred Jefferson, Robert Cappucci, Bill Galvin, Richard Black, Vin McCarthy, Joe Markey, Jon Hillson, Markham Lyons, and Bob O'Connell.
In his newly renovated restaurant, chef Franck Tessier serves extraordinary French cuisine including goat cheese—and—portobello timbale, scallops with saffron risotto, and chicken fricassée. Guests sit in one of three tasteful dining rooms, and pastry chef (and Tessier's wife) Rachel Portnoy makes a hot chocolate mousse and a banana toffee tart that are sweet bliss. 150 Main St., Lee, MA cheznousbistro.com/.
Set in bucolic West Stockbridge, the Williamsville Inn boasts everything a home away from home should: superb service, snowy linens, and cut flowers. Husband-and-wife team Erhard and Kandy Wendt have transformed this once dilapidated 18th-century inn into a modern country guesthouse complete with blond hardwood floors and quaint touches. Erhard also acts as the inn's chief chef, and his German-inspired fare is some of the finest in the county. 286 Great Barrington Rd. (Rte. 41), West Stockbridge, MA williamsvilleinn.com/.
Technically speaking, Alma Nove is a restaurant. But why quibble? There are only so many places where you can sit outside next to a giant fire pit, sip a well-crafted cocktail, and look out over the bay—and this Wahlberg-family-owned spot is one of them. If you just can't miss the Sox game, head inside. The bar is long and armed with two 50-inch TVs. 22 Shipyard Dr., Hingham, MA almanovehingham.com.
With its classically elegant dining room and steak-and-seafood-packed menu, the Scarlet Oak plays the part of a swanky suburban establishment. But don't expect the usual tepid filet mignon and gluey mashed potatoes. Every dish, from the spicy tuna tartare and perfectly cooked rib-eye to the oven-fired blue-crab-and-sharp-cheddar dip, is meticulously prepared and delicious. 1217 Main St., Hingham, MA 2043, scarletoaktavern.com.
Occupying the better part of a nondescript strip mall on Route 114, Giblees has attire for every manly occasion: golf, work, weekends, and formal affairs—plus a pool table and coffee bar for gents who need a break from the dressing room. Assistance is available but never forced—our inquiry about a birthday bow tie for a super-stylish pal yielded a drawer full of dapper options. 85 Massachusetts 114, Danvers, MA 1923, giblees.com.
Few comedy clubs these days are actually dedicated to the craft—which makes this Harvard Square studio a rare gem. Not only does it fill seats six nights a week with a variety of acts, it also devotes time to nurturing up-and-coming cutups and runs a sought-after comedian-in-residence program. And because it's located above the Hong Kong, you can get your laughs with a side of greasy-good Peking ravioli and a scorpion bowl. 1238 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA thecomedystudio.com.
It's not exactly a shock that Harvard is able to reel in big names for its reading series. The pleasant surprise is the sheer variety, from political leaders (Ralph Nader) to literary-world sweethearts (Gary Shteyngart). Listen to discussions on the environment, the economy, or good old-fashioned plot analysis—and even take part in one yourself, with the book circle or the "Philosophy Café" Many events are free, and the ones that aren't seldom cost more than $5. 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 2138, harvard.com.
Owned by Mr. Red Sox Nation himself, Jerry Remy's has upped the ante (and the cholesterol count) for Fenway bars. The TVs are mammoth, and the kitchen serves a burger wedged between two pieces of fried dough. Best of all, the barroom is so close to the park that when the windows are open, you can even join a 'Yankees suck' chant while noshing on a tasty RemDawg sandwich. 1265 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2215, jerryremys.com.
Looking forward to the safe return of crowded dance floors? Whether you’re after disco or Motown, throwback ’90s hits or Top 40, this energetic group — part of the well-respected Wilson Stevens family of artists — has what it takes to keep guests of all ages on their feet. Choose between an eight- or nine-piece ensemble, both led by a powerhouse vocal trio featuring two Berklee alums, and prepare to party like it’s 2019. wilsonstevens.com/bands/encore-band.
As part of a dramatic 2017 renovation, the legendary hotelier has elevated its 3,500-square-foot ballroom to even greater heights of opulence. Think: a dazzling backdrop of platinum-leafed wallpaper, antiqued mirrors, a lavish custom-painted mural by Moss & Lam—and, in the center of it all, you and your beloved twirling blissfully during your first dance. 10 Avery St., Boston, MA 02111, ritzcarlton.com.
The flavors of the Arabic pantry shine in the vibrant dishes sent out of chef de cuisine Rory Lee’s small open kitchen, from the fatteh with yogurt, dill, and shiitake mushrooms to the shareable, deeply charred grilled fish shingled with sweet lemons and swimming in peppery harissa. One of the best parts of a meal here, however, doesn’t cost a penny: the za’atar bread with sweet orange-blossom butter that comes compliments of the house. 243 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139, moonarestaurant.com.
Need to grab groceries for your next dinner party? Set up a last-minute car inspection? Don't sweat it—just call Fini Concierge, a small firm that helps busy people all over Massachusetts find the assistance they need. Choose from the _ la carte service list, or opt for a monthly membership—either way, Fini will get it all done, leaving you free to tackle the next 50 things on your mile-long to-do list. 665 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02215, finiconcierge.com.