After six years spent whipping the city into a craft-cocktail frenzy with its pitch-perfect Manhattan variations and handcarved ice cubes, Barbara Lynch and John Gertsen's tippler's haven has, thankfully, loosened up a bit. Once-monthly tiki-themed soirees keep things festive, and groups can now make bar-section reservations during off-peak hours. 348 Congress St., Boston, MA 2210, drinkforpoint.com.
Deep inside the grunge of Harvard Square, this boutique is a welcome alternative for those who eschew Birkenstocks for Blahniks. Tess specializes in high-end women's designer clothing from Biella Collezioni, Strenesse, Dosa, Collette Dinnigan, Loro Piana, TSE Cashmere, Han Feng, Mr. and Mrs. Macleod, Ted Baker, and Ter Et Bantine, to name a few. Then there are those value-added services, such as free delivery and private appointments before and after hours. Look out for a second store in Newton Centre this fall. 20 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA .
Hidden in the parking garage of the Atrium at Chestnut Hill is this whiz with the sewing machine. Yelena, mother of Tatiana (as in Bridals by Tatiana), is the seamstress with the mostest. No alteration is too difficult or too hurried for her. We tested Yelena with a pricey Vera Wang gown that had to be refitted in 24 hours; the job included ripping seams, restructuring a bodice, and hemming a fitted-waist A-line skirt. The result: Not a thread out of place. 300 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA tailoringservice.com.
Embracing the mononymy of Cher, Prince, and Christo before him, Bridaa delivers an expert cut for $25—or about a quarter of what you'd pay at many a chichi salon. Soft-spoken and affable, the Moroccan-born barber creates an oasis of calm in a South End shop better known for its laugh-a-minute frenzy. He forgoes pleasantries in favor of genuine, unforced conversation. Or, if you prefer, he'll just shut up and give you a great cut for the price of an hour of downtown parking. 603 Tremont St., Boston, MA 2118, bladebabershop.com.
These days, salons need more than Kérastase products, a funky soundtrack, and an edgy interior to stand out. Kenneth Wildes sets itself apart with highly trained stylists who spend a full hour on each cut and know how to properly frame a face or fix flyaway layers. Owner Wildes specializes in razored short cuts so distinctive, regulars swear they can spot a 'Kenny' a block away. 9 Beacon Pl., Newton, MA 2459, kwsalons.com.
The waves that lap practically at the doorstep of this harborside spa can take decades to turn a shard of glass into a smooth, luminous thing of beauty. Good thing SpaScape's pros work faster. Armed with bespoke scrubs of sea salt and fine oils, seaweed wraps, and Maine mud treatments, they polish clients from head to toe in an hour or two, as the tranquil ocean vibe smooths out any rough-edged psyches. 3 Mill Wharf Plz., Scituate, MA 2066, spascapedayspa.com.
Finale has the whoopie down to a sweet science: Two palm-size triple-chocolate cookies sandwich a white-chocolate cream-cheese filling. The local dessert chain, which also bakes bite-size whoopies, has late-night hours and multiple locations, letting you take care of those cake-and-cream cravings at (almost) any time. 1 Columbus Ave., Cambridge, MA 2138, finaledesserts.com.
This refreshing addition to Chinatown has lots of blond wood, modern lighting, and great food. Start with the Penang Poh Piah (steamed spring roll) or Crispy Pork Intestines (you might enjoy this one more if you order in Malaysian). Vegetarian entrees—especially the bean curd—are terrific, as are the varied seafood selections. Late hours are a plus. 685-691 Washington St., Boston, MA .
It's three hours from Boston, but it also has the lasagna this side of Naples. Sal, formerly of Sal & Ciro's in Provincetown, uses homemade noodles, sausage, and hard-boiled eggs in his recipe; since he serves lasagna on Sunday nights only, until he closes for the winter at the end of September, you'll have plenty of time to budget calories in advance. 99 Commercial St., Provincetown, MA .
If Williamstown is the pro-totype for a picture-perfect country hamlet, its Pine Cobble Trail is the picture-perfect country hike. The wooded 4-mile ramble tops out at 2,100 feet and offers uninterrupted views of Williamstown, North Adams, and the taller and more touristy Mount Greylock. The moderate climb, steep at times, can be completed in two hours, but why rush? Come in September, and the surrounding hills will be ablaze with orange and gold foliage. Pine Cobble Road, Williamstown. Pine Cobble Road, Williamstown, MA 2167, .
Master puppeteer Basil Twist's adaptation of Stravinsky's ballet about a tragic love triangle among a clown, a ballerina, and a Moor managed to convey humanity and grace in the movement of Japanese-style marionettes. One compact hour long, it begged for repeat viewings from both kids and adults. Unique productions like this during ArtsEmerson's inaugural season have proven that this organization should be central to Boston arts for years to come. 559 Washington St., Boston, MA 2139, artsemerson.org.
Sure, you can find a crib or changing table at any old baby-furniture warehouse, but here's what you'll be missing: design staffers who will come to your home, interview your child (who may or may not answer back), and determine the furniture match for her budding personality. Meanwhile, they'll scope out the rest of your pad to ensure the nursery jibes with your carefully chosen décor. Expect high-end contemporary pieces by the likes of Oeuf and Monte, streamlined beauties that are still comfortable enough to take the edge off those 3 a.m. feedings. 82 Boylston Street, Brookline, MA 2445, bambinidesignonline.com.
The dish is hot crab-and-cheese dip, and it goes a little something like this: chunks of tender, sweet blue crab tossed with heavy cream and supersharp cheddar, then wood-fired to a roof-of-mouth-scorching sizzle. After that, the menu at this guilty-pleasure oasis is your oyster. Or your goat cheese-slathered wild mushroom pizza. Or your flaky chicken potpie with a scrumptious baked side of three-cheese macaroni. The elegant setting is so picturesque you could have your wedding reception here—so long as you let out the dress first. 1217 Main St., Hingham, MA 2043, scarlettoaktavern.com.
Perched in an uncomfortable chair, your hands bound (inevitably, an itch) while a stranger picks at your cuticles, you cant help but wonder: Is a speedy, painless, and long-lasting manicure out of the question? Not when youre sitting across from the Lofts Chiaradia, who narrowly bested Jeanne Lee (formerly of Salon Trio, she almost had us with that add-on reflexology treatment). Chiaradias polish work was flawless and superquick, and didnt chip for nearly a week. Hate small talk? Youll appreciate the option to catch up on your E! podcast of Speidi and Glambert gossip as she overhauls your nails in silence. 207 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, .
Throw on a pair of skinnies, grab your cash, and make like it's the '90s at the Midway, which on Thursday nights transforms from a mostly-locals dive bar into a hub for gay women (and the straight folks who love them). Elbow your way to the bar and grab a little liquid courage before shaking your booty or singing your heart out during the Queeraoke interludes. 3496 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, MA 2130, midwaycafe.com.