Old World spirit mixed with New World magic: That’s the mantra of Boston Yoga Union, located in the former Back Bay Yoga space. In an inspiring environment that includes a tapestry in the lobby and a 300-year-old carved archway imported from Rajasthan, India, in one of the practice rooms, co-owners Emily Tevald and Tim Kelleher provide instruction that’s both relatable and empowering for all skill levels. 1112 Boylston St., Boston, MA bostonyogaunion.com.
When President John F. Kennedy established the Cape Cod National Seashore in 1961, he effectively curbed future development in the area. The preexisting Beachcomber, howeverhoused in an 1897 former lifesaving stationwas allowed to keep one of the few commercial permits available on the Atlantic-facing coast. So the next time you’re slurping Wellfleets, enjoying live music, or sipping a piña colada at this popular spot, toast JFK for the special setting and views of the open ocean. 1120 Cahoon Hollow Rd., Wellfleet, MA 2667, thebeachcomber.com.
Were it possible to manufacture the ideal dive bar, you'd first need to reverse-engineer a comfy, lived-in space complete with quirkly local characters, no-nonsense bartenders, a pool table, and cheap, stiff drinks. The result would end up looking a lot like The Eagle, the long-standing South End gay bar that, sadly, is one of the few remaining dives in the area. 520 Tremont St., Boston, MA 2116, .
An establishment must meet certain criteria before it can rightfully call itself a dive. It must be dark. It must be cheap. It must have spartan decor. Most critically, it must not attract tourists. By all these standards, the People's Republik earns the label. We love the surly waitstaff (expect a scowl if you waffle over an order) and the availability of both darts and hot dogs, which effectively cancel out the one potential dive-bar disqualifier: Ben Affleck is said to drink here sometimes when he's in town. 876 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA .
The extensive vegetarian and vegan offerings here one-up the fakin' bacon and sham ham that dominate most meat-shunning spots. At the OtherSide, tempeh can replace chicken in anything, tofu stands in for eggs in omelets, and sandwiches like the avocado-packed California wrap want not for protein. "Raw foodists' chips and dip" and gluten-free beer further accommodate alternative appetites. 407 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 2115, .
A beacon for tattooed bicycle messengers and hard-core triathletes, Wheelworks also welcomes weekend pedalers and the merely bike-curious. The knowledgeable folks behind the counter will not only set you up with a sweet ride or fix the one you've got, but also dispense sage advice on cool local places for tooling around, two-wheel style. Or on as many wheels as you want—Wheelworks specializes in custom-built options for those who refuse to buy off the rack. 145 Elm St., Somerville, MA wheelworks.com.
Although the distinctly un-Spanish corn on the cob is one of the most popular orders at this glamorous shrine to tapas, Toro shows its true genius with more authentic fare, turning out perfect potato omelets, salt cod croquettes, and cured jamón serrano. Each dish is a masterpiece, and even the most jaded gluttons will be in awe of the decadent foie gras with ginger, pickled cherries, and white nectarines. Skip the sangria for a glass of dry sherry, and embrace the jaleo—noisy crowds are as Spanish as garlic and olive oil. 1704 Washington St., Boston, MA .
When it comes time to pop the question, the right ring can do a lot of the talking for you. The cases at Long's house some of the very best sparklers from designers like Ritani, Furrer-Jacot, Memoire, and Michael M at a variety of price points. Still can't find what you're looking for? Check out the store's one-of-a-kind estate finds, or sit down with an in-house designer for a custom piece as unique as your sweetheart. 100 Summer St., Boston, MA .
Thirty years in, Serenella has blossomed under current owner Leslee Shupe, who works hard to keep her clients well appointed. Covetable pieces by Giambattista Valli, Narciso Rodriguez, Thakoon, and J. Mendel make one-up dressing a breeze, while labels like Genetic Denim, Kaufman Franco, and Boy by Band of Outsiders ensure civilized women will never look sloppy. 134 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 2116, serenella.com.
Serenella may have turned 30 last year, but it's hardly showing its age. The Newbury standby continues to display a sure hand in plucking the most-up-to-the-minute designs from venerable names like Versace, as well as from recently minted stars (Tomas Maier, Thakoon). Shop here with the assurance that no one you know will have the same piec—and they'll all be asking where you found it. 134 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 2116, serenella.com.
We're all for supporting the little guys, but we have yet to find a neighborhood shop that can offer even half of City Sports' selection. With one swift stop, you can score the newest super-shock-absorbing running shoe, dart tips for your aging set, and CamelBak water packs for long hikes. Then there's the clothing for indoor and outdoor sports, equipment, and shoes to go with it. 480 Boylston St., Boston, MA citysports.com/.
Boston has no shortage of snowboard shops. Some have good selections, some good service. One has both. Whether you huck in the halfpipe or just concentrate on getting down the hill with your tailbone intact, the folks at Blades will steer you toward the perfect board. Chances are, they have it in stock, too. And if not, chill out. They'll happily order it for you. 38 JFK St., Cambridge, MA .
Suiting up kids in eco-friendly, smart-looking fashions is a cinch at Pure. Nearly all its clothes—Claesen's onesies, Zutano tops and pants, Katybird dresses—are made from organic cotton and other natural fibers. Both playtime and dress-up options are well represented here, alongside shoes and gifts for wee ones up to age 4 and maternity clothes and yoga wear for Mom. The Tannery, 50 Water St., Newburyport, MA 1950, .
Where else can you find exotica such as a classic album from the sixties by the French lounge singer Serge Gainsbourg? Mystery Train carries a wide range of genres from popular rock and jazz to the out-of-print, exotic, and retro. The staff has a quirky and funnier-than-thou attitude that is actually a front for their knowledge. And most important, it's one of the few used-CD stores that let their customers listen before they buy. Vinyl and tapes are also available. 304 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
A cyclist's dream: a bright, airy space filled with top-of-the-line inventory and staffed by fellow riders who know their bikes from shifters to spokes. Not only do these folks understand what you really want, they often go out of their way to offer cheaper alternatives. And Fat Dog may just offer the deal in the Boston area on road bikes: free service for the lifetime of the bike (one year of free service on MTBs, and you can do a lot to a mountain bike in a year). 940 High St., Westwood, MA .