Discussions of Boston’s Irish pubs typically involve squirrely notions of authenticity. The problem is, no such thing exists, and most attempts ring about as true as some "Ireland-land" simulacrum at Epcot. So this year we decided to give the nod instead to the best pub, period, which just so happens to be Irish (a subtle but important distinction). The Phoenix Landing is like four bars in one: You can go for a quiet afternoon pint alone, brunch with the family, crack-of-dawn soccer broadcasts, or nighttime dancing to some of the best DJ talent around. 512 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 2139, phoenixlandingbar.com.
How to dress for a day that includes a corporate meeting, a yoga class, and drinks with friends? This common conundrum is what led Allison Daroie to create her line of transformational apparel. Each piece in the collection transitions into a completely new article of clothing: One wrap dress, for instance, triples as a cardigan and a boatneck frock with a plunging neckline in the back. Sold at Daroie’s adorable shop on Beacon Hill, the minimalist styles are all made in New England in a premium blend of rayon, nylon, and Lycra, and come in a basic color palette for easy mixing and matching. 127 Charles St., Boston, MA 02114, paridaez.com.
You own more than one shirt, right? And probably a couple of pairs of shoes? Well, See is committed to making sure you have glasses to match every outfit, too, working with designers from all over Europe and the United States to create on-trend specs that look more like fashion accessories than vision enhancers. The bright boutique displays all of its eyewear on open shelves, never in locked cases, so you can try on pair after pair until you find the perfect fit. 115 Newbury St., Boston, 617-236-0105; 1276 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-868-1500; seeeyewear.com. 115 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, seeeyewear.com.
Since Idle Hands arrived early into the Boston area’s craft-brewery explosion in 2011, times have certainly changed: Plenty of other makers have joined the game, and you can now find a juicy, locally made IPA on every corner. But founder Chris Tkach continues to set the pace by adding trendier brews, such as the Kill Your Idles sour beer series, to a lineup distinguished by exemplary European styles. His flagship hop bomb Four Seam, meanwhile, is still one of the best hazy IPAs around. 89 Commercial St., Malden, MA 02148, idlehandscraftales.com/site.
Like all things on this island, Nantucket’s bike paths were designed with aesthetics in mind—think: rolling hills, unspoiled harbor vistas, and, best of all, the safety of being tucked away from traffic, occasionally meandering through forests and other preservation land. If you must pick one direction, head west to Madaket, where at the end of the road you’ll find Madaket Beach, a favorite for families to while the day away under rainbow umbrellas. Before heading back into town, stop by Millie’s Market for a scoop of s’mores ice cream and savor the sweetness of summer. Nantucket, MA nantucket-ma.gov/985/Bike-Paths.
Founder Samantha Shih is out to prove that custom suits (not to mention shirts and blazers) are an attainable—and necessary!—luxury for men and women of all shapes and sizes. It all starts with a painless one-hour consultation at 9Tailors’ Leather District studio or via video chat, during which time you’ll choose design details and materials ranging from rich velvet to Glen plaid. By the time your made-to-measure masterpiece arrives five to seven weeks later, you’re guaranteed to have come up with more than a few places to wear it. 132 Lincoln St. , Boston, MA 02111, 9tailors.com.
When you work with Caitlin Spaulding, you won’t just get custom wedding invitations—you’ll send out one-of-a-kind works of art. Whether she imagines your wedding venue in watercolor on your envelope linings or depicts your love story in a colorful illustrated map, the footwear designer turned stationery guru understands the impact of personal touches. Her talents go way beyond invites, though: She can also carry your design vision through to your save-the-dates, place cards, menus, programs, signage, and more. wouldntitbelovely.com.
One of the best things about a day off is having the ability to choose comfort above all else. At the Boston outpost for this popular designer, sartorial-minded gents can find soft, well-fitting tees and premium cashmere track pants that won’t look embarrassing in the produce section. And if an invite comes your way that involves meeting people you know in public, you won’t have to sacrifice said comfort when you swap the sweats for cotton pants, a linen shirt, and crisp, retro-looking sneakers. 17 Arlington St., Boston, MA jamesperse.com.
The Boston Public Market debuted on Hanover Street just three years ago, and already we can’t remember a time without it. The 28,000-square-foot indoor food hall is the ultimate one-stop shop for all things local and scrumptious, from the perennially sweet-smelling cider doughnuts of Phillipston’s Red Apple Farm to the artisanal homemade sausages at Hardwick’s Stillman Quality Meats. The market’s 35-plus vendors make it tough to choose what to buy, so take an investigatory loop around first, then fill a few reusable bags right up to the brim. 100 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02108, bostonpublicmarket.org.
Housed in a little shack just outside downtown Vineyard Haven, Artcliff is the epitome of an island establishment, beloved by locals and tourists alike. Slurp down your bottomless cup of joe at one of the counter stools before sinking your teeth into the delightfully uncomplicated Hot Stuff breakfast sandwich—two eggs, chorizo, jalapeño, and pepper jack on toast or an English muffin. For something with a little more local flavor, order up the Bull’s Eye—a codfish cake with two eggs and spicy hollandaise. No matter what you choose, you won’t leave hungry. 39 Beach Rd., Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, .
April Gabriel opened the permanent location of Boston General Store three years ago with the goal of bringing back the type of shop she remembers from her childhood: one that sells simple items made to last. In today’s ever-cheaper, disposable retail landscape, Gabriel’s old-fashioned vision is a welcome change. Pass along the nostalgia with high-quality, well-made gifts crafted by artisans both near and far—think pocket knives from Japan, a wool picnic blanket from the U.K., and shave oil made just down the street. 305 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 02446, bostongeneralstore.com.
For years, Grill 23 has served Boston’s ultimate power-crowd fare. Sure, you have your waiters in white jackets, towers of fresh seafood, and a top-notch wine list, but the reason we keep coming back to this local institution is because no one in town cooks a better steak. It’s salty, crusty, buttery—an unmistakable carnivore’s delight. And remember, if the 10-ounce American Kobe cap seems a bit too small, the 18-ounce 100-day-aged prime rib-eye will be more than happy to oblige. 161 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116, grill23.com.
ArtsEmerson certainly brings the world to its stages. This season alone, it hosted acrobatic feats from Montreal's troupe Les 7 Doigts de la Main in Traces; Isabella Rossellini in her cult-tastic one-woman show, Green Porno; an oil-drums-and-marimba reimagining of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute, by South Africa's Isango Ensemble; and, from the Hub's own Israeli Stage, a North American premiere of the affecting Ulysses on Bottles. Most impressive, ArtsEmerson realizes its global vision while remaining audience-focused and community-centric. (Cutler Majestic Theatre, 219 Tremont St., Boston) 559 Washington St., Boston, MA 02111, artsemerson.org.
The November Project, a fitness movement born in Boston nearly three years ago, began as a way to embrace the harsh New England winters by starting the day with a heart-pumping workout among friends. Now it’s ballooned to a group of up to 300 people who meet three early mornings a week for workouts that include running the stairs at Harvard Stadium and shoveling out neighbors on Summit Avenue (there are also some sweaty hugs involved). One Runner’s World cover and numerous New Balance commercials later, the always-gratis November Project has 17 " tribes" across the country and in Canada. Want to get involved? #justshowup. november-project.com.
Buying within a clothing genre whose designers seem to delight in tweaking our dysmorphic tendencies has left us feeling broke, fat, and alone on more than one occasion. But at Riccardi, no body is left behind. With original denim-obsessed hipster Riccardo Dallai Sr. at the helm, brands show up here before the kids (not to mention the department stores) even know to lust after them, and the dozen-plus lines in stockcult favorites like Nineteen48, Nudie, Ksubi, and Superfinecater to thin, thick, petite, pear-shaped, stick-straight, and overly self-critical alike. 116 Newbury St, Boston, MA 2116, riccardiboston.com.