When it comes to haircuts, men tend to be creatures of routine. Nobody knows this better than Shag’s stylists. As such, they’ve mastered the art of negotiation and will subtly downplay the standard “#3 on the sides, fade in the back” in favor of a contemporary style that looks sharp and is easy to manage. Just remember: This isn’t the corner barbershop—call ahead for an appointment. 840 Summer St., Boston, MA 02127, shagboston.com.
Browsing Shreve, Crump & Low is a lot like strolling around an art gallery dedicated to the fine work of the Swiss. You’ll see the classics, of course, from Jaeger-LeCoultre to Audemars Piguet, as well as more modern interpretations by Roger Dubuis, all brightly illuminated for your viewing pleasure. Every so often, a true masterpiece will stop you in your tracks—for us, it was IWC’s "Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia," a watch so splendid it’s made only by special request. 39 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, shrevecrumpandlow.com.
You're buzzed in the front door like it's a speakeasy, quickly greeted hello, and then given merciful room to roam. From Petrol-leather zip boots by Carol Christian Poell to handcrafted Italian cap-toe sneakers, Alan Bilzerian has your inner foot fetishist in mind when he curates his selection of stylish hoof art. 34 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, alanbilzerian.com.
West Roxbury isn't known as a culinary haven, but Himalayan Bistro transports diners from the suburban western edge of Boston to the eastern reaches of India and Nepal. Enveloped in the warm scents of coriander, turmeric, and curry wafting from the kitchen, they tuck into smoky tandoori chicken, creamy tikka masala, and regional dishes like craªpes stuffed with potatoes and lamb against the backdrop of colorful Hindu art. 1735 Centre St., West Roxbury, MA 02132, himalayanbistro.net.
Art-punk heroes and alterna-rock granddaddies Mission of Burma, whose original 1979-83 run influenced R.E.M. and the Pixies, roared back with a handful of high-decibel concerts that proved their jittery, angular poetry had not been dimmed by 19 years in hibernation. Bassist Clint Conley called the reunion "a full-blown midlife crisis," but these fortysomethings played with the same verve as when they were pups.
Homer Simpson's bowling alley it's not. First, the food is actually good: pizza from Bella Luna, not greasy hot dogs that spin around and around under a heat lamp all day long. Second, there's funky art on display. And this Jamaica Plain hot spot also has a lounge, where you can shoot pool, jam to live bands, or dance a little salsa on Saturdays. Oh, and the lanes. They're dimly lit, lined with Christmas lights, and as cool as disco. 403 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, MA milkywayjp.com/.
As moms and dads know a little too well, when kids find a book that works for them, they tend to go back to it again and again. And again. The same applies to our pick in this category. Four-time winner Barefoot Books brims with fresh, cleverly illustrated titles, and doubles as an independent publishing house run by parents dedicated to the art of old-fashioned storytelling. 1771 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 2140, barefootbooks.com.
This gem of a store's Charles Street window is always so artfully filled with brightly colored home furnishings and accessories that passing by without stopping in is nearly impossible. If you're looking for the perfect lamp, chair, or vase, you'll find it here, along with accouterments you may not have considered—beautifully molded candles and gorgeous pillows, for example. With brands including Francesco Rota for Paola Lenti and Reidel, the home selection here is as cutting edge as it gets this side of Paris. 34 Charles St., Boston, MA koodekir.com/.
There's no shortage of painfully chic, designer-heavy boutiques in the western 'burbs. But this four-year-old spot manages to be both artfully fashionable and charmingly approachable—no sizing up or talking down to customers here. The place is stocked with glamorous yet fun apparel and accessories, and the stylish staffers, including owner Lee Gaston, are happy to help you translate the trends to complement your personal taste. 21 Leonard St., Belmont, MA 2478, bessieblue.com.
A class-A PGA pro who's done teaching stints at the Legends Club of Tennessee and Stow Acres Country Club, Parker gives duffers a 21st-century swing at his high-tech indoor training center, outfitted with state-of-the-art practice bays and virtual rounds at St. Andrews and Pebble Beach. Free advice: "Most golfers slice to the right, and think they should align their feet to the right to fix it. But it's the opposite—align to the left. If you're a slicer, aim your feet to the shortstop and swing to the second baseman." CityGolf, 38 Bromfield St., Boston, MA citygolfboston.com.
Drawing inspiration from art, culture, and global travel, Istanbul-born designer Nirva Derbekyan fills her eponymous line with flowing, feminine dresses and separates that feel utterly of the moment. Relaxed silhouettes belie painstaking construction—hand bead-ing, embroidered straps, and detachable details. And many pieces reveal clever surprises, like a simple jersey halter backed by an incredible pattern of hand-twisted cords, or along cotton tee with leather trimmings. 1628 Massachusetts Ave., 2nd Fl., Lexington, MA 2420, nirva.com.
A double winner here. The four-story style mecca is the arbiter of quality men's fashion for both those who are looking to stand out from the crowd and those who are classic and cautious. You'll find Italian made-to-measure masters, standard faves like Ralph Lauren's purple label, and Louis' own line. Fashion-timid men may require some education— not to mention a platinum credit card— but Louis' staff are masters in the art of dressing. 234 Berkeley St., Boston, MA .
When you need paint, Johnson has it, from the usual house paint to aniline wood dyes to oil and watercolor. (There's an art-supply store upstairs— is that perhaps because more artists than we suspected pay the bills by painting houses?) When it runs a sale, you'll find yourself planning the recoloration of rooms you don't even have. 355 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Had Fitzgerald created Jay Gatsby today, he might have installed his debonair protagonist at the Chatham Bars Inn. The 1914 hotel's foyer alone, with its polished wood floors and stately white columns, is redolent of money and understated class. Still a place where old New England summers, the property now encompasses 25 acres of landscaped grounds, four restaurants, a state-of-the-art spa, 40 guestrooms, and 30 private cottages, a handful of which sit on bluffs overlooking the Atlantic. 297 Shore Road, Chatham, MA 2633, .
The scene of the crime is that newly purchased, splendid Victorian house whose floors are battered by years of abuse and besmirched with coats of deck paint. Enter Larry Fidalgo and company—and 24 hours later, stunning pine planks gleam from beneath a coat of crystal-clear polyurethane. Not only does Fidalgo refinish soft- and hardwood floors, but he installs them, as well. Among his clients are the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Restoration Society of Charlestown. Which isn't a bad way to finish. Somerville, MA