A three-way tie. House Speaker George Keverian, Boston mayor Ray Flynn, and Senate president Billy Bulger.
Keverian for getting the Duke's wormy 1988 budget and the universal-health-care package through the legislature in time for the Democratic convention. Flynn for the wisdom he showed in announcing he was not running for governor—even if he had to announce it twice and even though he'll probably change his mind. And Bulger "for getting away with it yet again," said one admiring panelist.
We don't expect too much from big cinema chains—just Jujube-free upholstery and a "no zombies" hiring policy. Generally speaking, moviegoers here are upstanding citizens who bus their own seats after the show. And while the Web has almost obliterated human-based transactions, this theater's help desk is still populated by one of us. 201 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA 2215, regmovies.com.
The Four Seasons' lounge caters to both sorts of solo patrons: those who find themselves alone, and those who wish to be left alone. The skilled barkeeps are the city's quickest studies of stag drinkers, able to gauge whether you're up for a chat, a snack, or a stiff drink and silence. And the Bristol's cozy appointments make it perfectly suited to parties of one. 200 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2116, .
Long a local favorite, brunch at Johnny's is worth the wait on the weekends—especially with kids in tow. The boisterous atmosphere, child-friendly menu, and vibrant retro décor would be worth a stop even without the incredible food. Our favorites: the outstanding crunchy French toast, generously sized omelets, and Johnny's porridge, a creamy concoction topped with dried cranberries. Prompt service—and, if you still have room, the frappes—ensure that no one leaves unsatisfied. 30 Langley Rd., Newton Centre, MA johnnysluncheonette.com/.
Does anyone care about workmanship anymore? The congenial Russian husband and wife who own Euro Design do, and it shows in the intricate, graceful jewelry they create. They preside over a cadre of cases gleaming with ethereal diamond bracelets and ruby necklaces so delicate they seem to float on the neck. Much of the jewelry—designed and crafted on the premises—is custom-made for clients, so if that one perfect, lustrous pearl brooch wrapped in sapphire streams is still looming in your imagination, your search ends here. 1298F Worcester Rd., Natick, MA eurodesignjewelry.net/.
By the time the meaty ribs and chicken served up here come off the smoker, they've been slow-cooked for as much as 14 hours over apple, hickory, and cherry woods. Add the tangy homemade sauces, and you can see why Tennessee's is running out of room on the wall of its strip-mall locale for the list of barbecue cookoffs it's already won. Well, here's one more. 341 Cochituate Rd., Framingham, MA tennesseesbbq.com/.
Tucked away on a quiet Beacon Hill side street, the Green Room is the perfect spot for anyone yearning for a sharp cut, but desperate to avoid the Newbury Street traffic. With just a single chair, Jessica Dill offers her undivided attention to one client at a time in a cozy studio that feels more like a private retreat. Discretion, personalization, and customer service are paid more than mere lip service, as she offers off-hour appointments and complimentary neck trims to ensure we’re always looking our best. 49 River St., Boston, MA 2114, greenroomboston.com.
The best galleries have a knack for spotting cool things early. In recent years, the Harrison Avenue space featured Andrew Masullo’s cartoony paintings before he appeared in the Whitney Biennial and presented "Not About Paint," a survey of gonzo assemblage that went on to inspire a deCordova show. Last year’s coup was Ben Sloat’s "One Blast," which explored how technology modulates everything via paintings of a dazzle-camouflaged ship riding digital waves. 450 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 2118, stevenzevitasgallery.com.
This New England institution churns out all manner of crispy delicacies, but it’s the fresh clam belliesplump, briny, and fried to perfectionthat keep crowds of tourists and locals alike in the dining room year round. In fact, rumor has it that the place actually invented fried clams nearly 100 years ago, right here in Essex. The bivalves taste even better when enjoyed at one of the restaurant’s outdoor picnic tables, which offer views of salt marshes and the Essex River. 121 Main St., Essex, MA 1929, woodmans.com.
Come to Sevan for one thing, and you’ll likely end up with three bags’ full of exotic ingredients you didn’t know you needed. It’s no wonder: The international market, which specializes in Armenian and Mediterranean essentials, offers an array of tantalizing choices, from olive and nut bars overflowing with the choicest morsels and a prepared-foods case packed with freshly made grape leaves, meat pies, and hummus, to bags of exotic spices and a vast selection of international cheeses. 599 Mount Auburn St., Watertown, MA 2472, sevanboston.com.
Though Natale’s focus is on suiting (with more than 2,000 suits and 1,000 sport jackets available), this one-stop shop also offers golf shirts for hitting the fairway, cuff links for hitting the boardroom, and everything else you need to smartly (and stylishly) dress for all your days. And because Natale’s provides free alterations for the lifetime of its fine suits, pants, and sport jackets, your wardrobe can grow with you. 171 Washington St., Norwell, MA 2061, natalesclothing.com.
Is it a gym or a wellness oasis? Actually, it’s both. In addition to offering the essential yoga and indoor cycling classes, Life Time Fitness lays on the extras: nutrition counseling, weight-loss support, even chiropractic care. Feeling guilty about leaving the tots while taking time for yourself? There are kids’ classes, too, even for infants. Why not send your little one to preschool yoga while you visit the spa? 300 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, MA 02459, lifetime.life.
The longest continuously operating museum in the U.S. is also one of the area’s best for kids. Model ships anchor the vast maritime collection, while rotating exhibits are often colorful and interactive, not to mention displayed in large, disaster-proof open spaces. There’s more fun to be had in the Maker Lounge, where children take part in arts and crafts activities. Expect even more to explore when the new wing opens in 2019. 161 Essex St., Salem, MA 01970, pem.org.
There’s hardly a bolt or screw in sight on a Thos. Moser original: The Maine-based company’s sleek wooden creations, ranging from masterfully sculpted side chairs to one-of-a-kind bed frames, nix metal fasteners in favor of visible joinery. The result is a timeless form that revels in simplicity, allowing the craftsmanship to shine through. 19 Arlington St., Boston, MA 02116, thosmoser.com.