You have to ask for a small Bloody Mary at the Townhouse to get one. The quality matches the quantity. It's one of the few spots in the area which uses garlic and horseradish.
Take one part funky restaurant and one part festive bar scene. Sprinkle it with urban hipsters, geeky academics, and East Cambridge natives. Shake gently to the beat of Sinatra or maybe a little Esquivel. Chill to taste. 92 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA .
Tina Burgos is that one effortlessly stylish friend we all envy—the one who has just the right outfit for every occasion and can mix patterns with aplomb. Her boutique and online shop, then, is just the place for indie finds you didn’t realize you needed: bright, simple coveralls from Ilana Kohn, handmade clogs from No. 6, even cheerful pineapple pins. Styles are unique without being over the top, and so is Burgos. Refreshing. 947 Great Plain Ave., Needham, MA 02492, covetandlou.com.
Come gala season, socialites and fashionistas make this light, bright Newbury Street boutique their one-stop shop. That’s because owner Leslee Shupe scours fashion-week shows for distinctive dresses that you won’t see on anyone browsing the department stores: trendy crochet frocks from Giambattista Valli (easily one of her favorite designers), bold and artful sheaths from Roberto Cavalli, breezy bohemian tunics from Dodo Bar Or, and rocker-chic Mugler cocktail dresses. 134 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, serenella-boston.com.
Dreams and Prayers, A Far Cry's self-released, Grammy-nominated album with clarinetist David Krakauer, isn't just one of this year's best classical recordings, but also one of the best narratives, too. As dramatic as anything in our Netflix queue, Dreams and Prayers—recorded at Sacred Heart Church, in Fall River—is a thoroughly modern, century-spanning, globe-trotting sonic adventure. Catch the group live at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where it's the in-house chamber orchestra. afarcry.org.
Since 2010, this renovated candlepin bowling alley/pizza joint has been winning adult fans with its craft brews, locally distilled spirits, and expertly fired pies. But it’s also a magnet for families, with its roomy booths, tables that can be easily rearranged to suit large groups, and, of course, bowling, perfect for play datesor kids’ birthdays, as one Boston editor discovered this spring. Best of all is the attitude of the staffers, who consistently make little ones and their parents feel well taken care of. 45 Day St., Somerville, MA 2144, flatbreadcompany.com.
Sonsie-bashing had become such a popular sport for a while, the ensuing recoil could only have put the place back in vogue. Well, here's at least one hard-hitting reason to quit caviling: the martinis. To start, simply sit back and admire the presentation: A gargantuan, perfectly chilled glass arrives empty, frosty, and luminous. Then the fetching bartenders (ours had an uncanny resemblance to the French lover in Unfaithful) quickly and efficiently shake, ice, add the perfect amount of vermouth, and pour. Just one inspires great conversation. 327 Newbury St., Boston, MA sonsieboston.com/.
Why limit yourself to one seafood venue when you can have it all on just one block? Main Street's dream team of major seafood players—Tom Shea's (for unbeatable grilled seafood), Woodman's (for topnotch classic fried clams, lobster tails, and scallops), and Periwinkles (for expertimental, fusion-minded fish dishes)—offers Cape Ann's highest concentration of fine fish. Put together, they provide what may just be the perfect seafood sampler. Main Street, Essex, MA .
The fantasy: wedding wear from Bagdley Mischka, Carolina Herrera, and the vaunted Vera Wang. The reality: You can actually afford such wonders—really, you can—at Vows, where one-on-one service and an understanding staff will help you find the perfect fit for a fraction of the retail price. And you can save the cash for something truly important. Like that fairy-tale honeymoon you've always dreamed of... 334 Watertown St., Newton, MA bridepower.com/.
Fashion shoots, celebrity clients such as Julianne Moore and Helena Bonham Carter, and two makeup lines—one for adults, one for tweens—keep Coco Grace trotting the globe. When in town, she gives lessons and consultations at her Brookline studio and the Loft Salon and Day Spa on Newbury Street, where her helpful hints (suck in those cheeks for better blush contour) and best-friend-you-always-wanted demeanor have earned her a devoted following. 98 Addington Rd., Brookline, MA 2445, cocograce.com.
When we're working out to Gaga alongside 20 perfect strangers, we like to follow one rule of thumb: Don't stop moving. And no one keeps us going like Dossas, whose energetic routines—whether in Kettlebell Knockout or Hard Body Meltdown classes—are unfailingly synchronized to heart-pumping beats. If we ever pause while Dossas is teaching, it's only to wipe away the sweat. 131 Dartmouth St., Boston, MA 2116, equinox.com.
Given the current expense of solar energy systems, this wood-burning import from Denmark is the most practical way to reduce one's heating bill. 8 Elm St., Braintree, MA .
The paper's Sunday "Pols and Politics" column—a breezy, biting collection of one-liners, tidbits, and anecdotes culled from the annals of the state's number-one spectator sport—is a must-read for political junkies.
As any kid might confess, museums can often be dull. Not this one. Younger visitors might push one of Theo Jansen’s kinetic Strandbeest sculptures across the gallery, learn about design by prototyping a product, or simply lounge on a beanbag chair. 161 Essex St., Salem, MA 01970, pem.org.
Whether required for stalking an ex, masking last night's excesses, or just plain blocking the sun, sunglasses are a very personal accessory—they're the shades on the windows to one's soul, after all. Eyewear emporium Robert Marc gets top marks for its sleek styles, but the one-brand situation leaves something to be desired. And while the high-to-low price spectrum at Solstice is laudable, it can't compare to Saks, where choices abound for men and women of seemingly all tastes and budgets: Museum-rare Chloé, Valentinos, and Cavallis reign among hundreds of frames from Prada, Dior, and Oliver Peoples, and even Marc by Marc Jacobs pairs that can be had for less than $100. 800 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2118, saksfifthavenue.com.