Boston has no shortage of excellent small music venues, but T.T.'s just keeps edging out the competition. Perhaps it's because former Clash guitarist Mick Jones chose this Central Square nook to showcase his new group last April. Or because it features a healthy mix of worthy local bands and visiting punk veterans like New Model Army and Jesse Malin. Or because some weekends DJ Chris Ewen busts out our favorite '80s New Wave classics. Whatever. It's cramped, it's sticky, it's totally authentic—and it's unbeatable. 10 Brookline St., Cambridge, MA 2139, ttthebears.com.
Sometimes a little 'YMCA' is all it takes to get the party started. Other times, it's enough to send it packing. With two decades of experience, DJ Bruno knows what to spin when, and where. His far-reaching musical arsenal gets clubbers going nightly—devotees never miss his Sunday R&B-meets-house-meets-soul party at Boston Rocks, or his upbeat hip-hop and reggae beats on Thursdays at Caprice. Request the Village People, if you must; he'll have your hands up in no time. MA djbruno.com.
When Mark Twain called golf a good walk spoiled, he'd never walked Cyprian Keyes. Built just two years ago with a sensitive eye to the ecosystem, this Central Mass sprawl of wetlands and high pines feels like a private club, from the well-maintained fairways and greens to the cushy clubhouse and steep fees ($52 weekends). It's a tough course, but utterly fair to those playing the front tees: 6, 844 yards form the back tees, 5, 079 from the reds. At only 40 minutes from Boston, you'll wish you could take out a membership. Boylston, MA
As the first recreational pot shop in Boston proper, and the first Black-owned one in the state, Pure Oasis carries the weight of history on its shoulders. From the moment it opened in early 2020 (unluckily, mere moments before COVID lockdowns set in), the store has been embraced by its community. Stocked with an impressive array of flower, tinctures, THC-infused chocolates, and even a line of locally made cannabis seltzers, it certainly has the goods. But a year later, shopping at Pure Oasis still feels like a celebration — of a ceasefire in the war on drugs that caused immeasurable harm in its backyard, and of all that’s yet to come as the industry flourishes. 430 Blue Hill Ave., Boston, MA 02121, mypureoasis.com.
If you have kiddos under 12, chances are you still need plenty of masks. Thank goodness, then, that Schnelle Shelby’s hand-sewn face coverings come in three adult sizes and two children’s sizes. Choose from a wide variety of styles, from quirky mermaid scales and spaceships to tasteful plaids and beautiful African and batik patterns. And know that by ordering from SchnelleCares, you’re supporting a business that donates masks to food pantries and health centers in the city, as well as gives a portion of sales to the Boston Resiliency Fund for COVID relief schnellecares.com..
Trust Jenny Luu with your bridal makeup, and she’ll do so much more than expertly blend your foundation and apply false lashes. Weeks before you walk down the aisle, Luu (a self-proclaimed “skinthusiast”) will equip you with a personalized skin-care routine to ensure that your face remains blemish-free. Then, on the big day, the Boston-based artist will use products from Charlotte Tilbury and Dior, among others, to create a look that not only highlights your natural beauty, but also outlasts the after-party (seriously). 460 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02118, jcluu.com.
Any java can wake us up in the morning—but Recreo’s also help us sleep at night. Though much coffee production is notorious for labor exploitation, this hyper-responsible West Roxbury café sources its single-origin beans from co-owner Miriam Morales’s family farm in Nicaragua, which uplifts area workers and their children with free lodging, schooling, and healthcare. Not only is this a coffee shop with a conscience, but Recreo’s rich, full-bodied espresso is so good, the team even won the chance to set up a high-traffic takeaway counter right inside Boston City Hall. 1876 Centre St., West Roxbury, MA 02132, elrecreoestatecoffee.com.
In the beforetimes, Philippe used her Instagram blog to hype Boston bars and booze brands—and show off her always-on-point manicures. Since the city’s first Black Lives Matter protest of 2020, though, her platform has also reminded us to #SayTheirNames with a compelling photo series of original drink recipes dedicated to Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, and others lost. The poignant project importantly helps Philippe’s 35,000-plus followers get educated about systemic racism, even as she continues sharing top-shelf cocktails we can actually handle making at home. instagram.com/nailthecocktail.
As couples grapple with uncertain wedding plans during the coronavirus outbreak, virtual celebrations have emerged as promising alternatives—and Hummingbird Bridal & Events as the firm to make them happen. Helmed by planner Mandy Connor, the nearly 11-year-old Boston-based company can help coordinate an intimate live-streamed ceremony before whisking you away for a festive meal for two, complete with a bespoke playlist, to keep the party going. Want to make sure your guests feel the love? Connor is happy to send out DIY cocktail kits to your nearest and dearest so they can join in on the fun from afar. 213 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, hummingbirdbridal.com.
There would be a lot more strangers in Boston without this multicultural networking group, which aims to remind business leaders of all backgrounds that our economy is a web, stronger when we work together. Run by public relations maven Colette Phillips, the organization has long linked a diverse range of professionals through job listings, a digital magazine, and high-profile events honoring influential people of color. Now it’s doing so through webinars about how small businesses can survive the pandemic, mentoring sessions with senior execs, and more—all online for everyone to take part in. getkonnected.com.
There are plenty of ’90s trends we’re glad to welcome back into our repertoires—chunky sandals, slip dresses, high-waisted everything—but one thing that can stay in the last century? Pencil-thin eyebrows. Thankfully, Lauren Genatossio is firmly on the same page, creating nothing but lush, full looks from her South Boston and Hingham studios. Bring your out-of-control brows to Genatossio and watch as she plucks and trims them into goddess-like arches, creating the exact shape needed to make your eyes and cheekbones pop. 840 Summer St. , Boston, MA 02127, sarraboston.com.
Drinkwater’s might be small, but its shelves contain countless sartorial gems—all thanks to Gary Drinkwater, who earned his stripes at Louis Boston. Now, 15 years into running his own brick-and-mortar, Drinkwater uses his discerning eye to curate only the best clothing and accessories for his customers: suits from Samuelsohn, shoes from Paraboot, and neckties from Seaward & Stearn, to name a few. Want to go bespoke? Take advantage of the shop’s Made to Measure program to ensure the perfect fit for a sure-to-be perfect day. 2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140, drinkwaterscambridge.com.
Owner Paul Niski culls the world for art and oddments seldom seen here in Boston, and consequently Good's inventory of goods—which run the gamut from furniture to linens to pure objets d'art—is almost continuously refreshed. Among the constants in this tiny, museumlike space: John Derian's eccentric découpage pieces, handcrafted jewelry from the likes of Melissa Joy Manning and Chan Luu, and pristine Japanese lacquerware by Morihata. Above all, there's Niski's own exquisite taste, which, if you're unsure of your gift recipient's style—or even your own—is quite a reliable one to adopt. 133 Charles St., Boston, MA 2114, shopatgood.com.
The dress may garner most of the attention, but no vision of white tulle is complete without a few painstakingly chosen accessories. And the more perfect they are, the better the odds they came from the Altered Bride. For more than a decade, Boston brides (and bridesmaids) have made this boutique a crucial stop on their way to the aisle. They come to quiz the knowledgeable and experienced staff and browse the exquisite offerings of jewelry, shoes, and veils, as well as the area's largest collection of handmade tiaras. In her new and expanded Boylston Street space, owner Roseanna Martino acts as a guide, strategizing ensembles that are both simple and extravagant. And when even that is not unique enough, she's happy to provide custom-designed headpieces and veils. 376 Boylston St., 2nd floor, Boston, MA .
The Boston alpinist's Valhalla sells all the gear you'll need to get down the hill—and look damned good doing it. Bob Smith's stock of sticks is on a par with that of other ski shops, but the service is unparalleled, thanks to a staff that actually skis—a major plus, considering the impressive and serious selection of K2s, Völkls, and Salomons. Lest we forget the agony of suffering through a season in the wrong boot size (usually too large, he says), custom boot fitter Dave Prahl is on call to save us from ourselves, expertly assessing fit and alignment. 1048 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA .