Enjoy hosting your friends in your über-cool city apartment while mixing up painstakingly hand-swizzled drinks? Going to the Hawthorne is a lot like that, with a built-in cleanup crew and a better bartender (no offense). This place is as persnickety about its elixirs as any cocktail bar in the country, but exudes a refreshing "Come in, let us make you happy" attitude. 500 A Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 2215, thehawthornebar.com.
A bit loungey, a tad yuppie, Harvard Gardens is an ideal place to meet your dress-casual mate. The bar is crowded from Wednesday to Saturday, but the low lighting and comfy booths make the setting conducive to storing digits in your cell or just having a light getting-to-know-you conversation. Mostly for the 20s-to-30s set, this spot is especially popular on Thursdays, when you'll have ample opportunity to pitch the perfect pickup line. 316 Cambridge St., Boston, MA harvardgardens.com.
Word about its low-priced, generously portioned Sicilian fare got out a while ago, but dinner at this no-longer-hidden gem in East Somerville still makes you feel you're in on a well-kept secret. It could be because the no-frills dining room is set up in the back half of a corner store, where the handmade mafalda noodles are magnificent. Once you've feasted at Vinny's, you won't be able to resist boasting to all your foodie friends about your find. 76 Broadway, Somerville, MA vinnysatnight.com/.
Fulfill your most outrageous ice-cream fantasies by choosing from a five-page ice-cream menu, or create your own combinations from more than two dozen hot and cold sauces (including five different hot fudges) and more than three dozen flavors of Richardson's ice cream, plus tofu ice cream and frozen yogurt. 743 Washington St., Newton, MA .
The folks at Ginza in Chinatown and Brookline have brought high-quality Japanese food one step closer to the suburbs with a new Watertown location. The ultrafresh sushi and sashimi make us weak in the knees, but if you're still reluctant to wrap your mind around the raw fish thing, there are plenty of broiled fish, teriyaki, and noodle entrées to sink your chopsticks into. Vegetarians will be delighted, too. 63-65 Galen St., Watertown, MA newginzaboston.com/.
Every Thursday afternoon in the summer, locals from surrounding South Shore towns converge at this piece of green for one purpose: to buy super-fresh produce. The selection—brilliant green herbs, a slew of greens, bright red peppers—is outstanding, as are the breads and pastries. You can even pick up some handmade crafts, from woven wreaths to rustic pottery, on your way back to your car. Cohasset Common, Cohasset, MA cohassetfarmersmarket.com/.
There are as many farm stands west of the city as there are historic battle sites. But, sadly, most are just glorified supermarkets. For a real honest-to-goodness country produce market, head to Verrill Farm in Concord, where you can actually see the veggies popping out of the ground. They even cook up and package country fare for takeout in their own kitchen. You can also pick your own berries, jump on a hay ride, and tap your foot along with the banjo band, along with other seasonal events. 11 Wheeler Rd., Concord, MA verrillfarm.com/.
After a few beers and Talking Heads covers, nothing’s quite as satisfying as scoring a $1 chicken teriyaki skewer. Dance your heart out at the club upstairs, or just huddle around a scorpion bowl with your pals while some State Street suit croons “Friends in Low Places.” 65 Chatham St., Boston, MA 02109, hongkongboston.com.
We all know it: Accessories make or break an outfit. It's as true on your wedding day as it is on a Saturday night out. Which is why the Altered Bride has a huge assortment of veils, tiaras, gloves, wraps, and shoes in styles to suit almost every taste—and to accent your dream gown with the pretty panache it deserves. 376 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
Yes, there's terrific furniture, but Repertoire also has a spectacular selection of accessories and necessities for the table. Plates and vessels from Richard Ginori, Calvin Klein, and Jonathan Adler will make your head spin. The refined color palate and simplicity of design will easily mix with your great grandmother's sterling. 114 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
Whether your lingerie fantasies run to the Victorian bride look or something out of a French romantic novel, you're likely to find the goods in this charming shop. The selection of silk camisoles is so lovely you'll want to wear your underwear as outerwear. 207 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
A more self-consciously trendy restaurant than Turner Fisheries might call this a deconstructed buffet: Solicitous staffers bring to your table two apps, an entrée, side, dessert, and adult libation. Your in-laws won't even miss the omelet station. 10 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 2116, turnersboston.com.
If summer finds you in the city instead of on the Vineyard, console yourself with a noon swim at the Colonnade's rooftop pool, then have lunch and work on your tan. For $20 you get use of the pool, towels, and a changing room, plus a light salad or sandwich. Bring your own sunscreen. 120 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA .
By day it's a fast-food Italian eatery, but four nights a week Galleria Italiana is transformed into a trattoria, complete with background opera music and an Abruzzi-inspired menu. Try the risotto with spinach and four cheeses or the pasta with tiny mussels from New Zealand. 177 Tremont St., Boston, MA .
Estonian beer, caipirinhas with a citrus twist—this swanky underground bar is not your typical Vineyard watering hole. The drinks are fun, the atmosphereis cozy and intimate, and the food (including 10 different burgers) is tasty. Don't miss the photo booth on your way out. 137 Main St., Edgartown, MA atriamv.com.