Summer In the City: Hot spots to visit

All too often, friends of mine who are looking to spend time in the city, don’t know where to go. As a self-proclaimed city girl, I am happy to help recommend my most favorite breakfast place or “happy hour” locale but for those of you who don’t have my number, keep reading to find out some seasonal favorites!

If you’re a soon-to-be college student, recent East Coast transplant or just visiting for the weekend, Boston has plenty to do and see besides historical landmarks. In fact, you’ll likely discover that the culinary scene, nightlife and cultural benefits of Boston are forces to be reckoned with in almost every category. Think you know everything there is to know about The Hub? If you haven’t been to some of these places or grabbed a recent copy of The Improper Bostonian, you’ve got a lot more to learn…

Best Beer BarSunset Grill & Tap

Sunset Grill & Tap's "Not Your Average Rewards Program"

Sunset Grill & Tap’s “Not Your Average Rewards Program”: Inquire within.

The collection of rewards cards in my wallet includes everything from AMC Theaters to Vitamin World but want to know my most prized piece of plastic? My rewards card to the aforementioned venue. Why’s that you ask? What’s a city girl like me doing on the outskirts of a cosmopolitan area when I can drink my Guinness somewhere like the waterfront? Well, with Sunset’s perks program (think of it as a “frequent drinker card”), I have the prospect of getting my name on a bar stool and honestly, it doesn’t get much better than that…

Best (Quick) Breakfast: Bagel Rising

I'm not sure it's even necessary to talk about how good the bagels at Bagel Rising are...

I’m not sure it’s even necessary to talk about how good the bagels at Bagel Rising are… // Photo credit: Bagel Rising

I’m afraid that The Improper Bostonian and I must agree to disagree on this one particular topic; Bagel Rising beats Rosenfeld Bagels when it comes to who makes my favorite source of carbohydrates. If not for this fine Allston institution, I may not have survived my MTEL’s and a number of other early morning endeavors. With fresh squeezed orange juice, scallion (or chive) cream cheese and a number of unusual bagel sandwich recipes, this is place is not to be missed as you ride the B line inbound.

Best Brunch: Stephanie’s on Newbury

Rule of thumb: Call ahead and make a reservation. I promise its worth it!

Rule of thumb: Call ahead and make a reservation. I promise its worth it! // Photo credit: Pop.Bop.Shop.

Many a morning (and early afternoon) has been spent dining at this Newbury St. favorite. From what I understand, their Bloody Mary’s are exquisite but since I don’t believe in drinking tomato juice at any time during the day, I will happily praise the mimosas until the cows come home (or until last call). Items to try include the Buttermilk Griddle Pancakes, Thai Style Chicken Salad, Frittered French Toast and Macaroni & Cheese (for the young at heart).

Best Cocktail Bar: The W Lounge

Grapefruit perfection at The W.

Grapefruit perfection at The W

A few weeks back, my very dear friend Kaitlyn and I spent a lovely evening galavanting around the city. It kicked off what has become an incredible summer and I suppose I have the place where our night started to thank for that. As expected, the modern decor at The W matched our drink choices and snack-etizer well. The signature cocktail list, window-seating and casual sophistication makes this place a great spot to meet an equally sophisticated, friend, co-worker or date any night of the week.

Best Date Spot: The North End

It's like the song says, "when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore..."

It’s like the song says, “when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore…”

Is it me or is anything European sensual and/ or romantic? Well, if I’m wrong I don’t want to be right and I will contentedly spend my days alone wandering up and down Salem and Hanover Street, sampling lobster ravioli and raw oysters from Taranta and Rabia’s (respectively) and capping my night with a creme brûlée from Modern Pastry. No offense, but I pity the fool who thinks waiting in line at the overrated Mike’s Pastry is the idea of a good time. I mean, I’d much rather spent that time sipping on espresso with someone tall, dark and handsome at Caffe Paradiso, wouldn’t you?

Best Place to Hang With Your Girlfriends: The Taj

And believe it or not, it's even better than it looks!

And believe it or not, it’s even better than it looks! // Photo credit: Haute Living

The times when I nod my head in approval to myself are when my friends suggest to do the least predictable things. In my opinion, when my fashion stylist friend (also named Vanessa) suggested tea to celebrate her birthday it almost equated to sky-diving for me as the usual birthday plans are usually an expensive mess of dinner+drinks+an overheated and overcrowded club+more drinks. After enjoying a relaxing afternoon at The Taj with Vanessa’s small party, I felt almost as pampered and refreshed as the birthday girl did. If any lady friends, your Mom or your boyfriend’s sister is coming to town, this is a perfectly elegant way to spend some quality time.

Best “Happy Hour”: McFadden’s

Look for this banner when stumbling along the cobblestones near Faneuil Hall!

Look for this banner when stumbling along the cobblestones near Faneuil Hall! // Photo credit: Citysearch

If you like socializing with friends with a drink in hand  and winning things, Boston has you covered. I’m sure I lost count the number of times a friend, acquaintance or lab partner’s roommate’s sister’s boyfriend won a “happy hour” at McFadden’s. If you know anything about Massachusetts’ history, you know that we can be big stiffs about our alcohol. That being said, McFadden’s does everything it can to make up for it by offering a sign-up list on certain nights and if your name is drawn later, you’re contacted for a night of no cover, cheap drinks and all the college kids you and your friends (or anyone who knows your name) have ever wanted to mingle with. If a buzzing spot is what you’re after, then you’ll get exactly what you signed up for (pun intended). Otherwise, try The W or The Black Rose up the street.

Best Nightlife: Liberty Hotel

You sure won't feel imprisoned in this formal, (I mean, former) jail!

You sure won’t feel imprisoned in this formal, (I mean, former) jail! // Photo credit: Concierge.com

I have only been here a couple of times and the majority of those times I was completely mesmerized. Everything from the decor to the simple and fresh names (like Clink and Alibi) for each drink/entertainment/food-related area of the hotel was sleek and glamorous. The only downside seems to be a frantic PR person who came off as abrupt and brash when I attempted to attend their summer ManicureMondays event and do a little coverage. Definitely worth the short wait in line at night but take advantage of Scampo for lunch if you’re desperate to fit it in.

Best People-Watching: Boston CommonThe Boston Public Garden

Swan boats, botanical gardens and people watching near Boston's equivalent to Fifth Ave. or Rodeo Dr.. What could be better?!

Swan boats, botanical gardens and people watching near Boston’s equivalent to Fifth Ave. or Rodeo Drive. What could be better?!

I feel justified in linking these two because if not for Charles St., they’d actually be attached. While you can’t drink here (at least not legally), either space makes an excellent location for a picnic, study spot, or  romantic walk. The best part, its a free way to see even more of the city, from The State House to Newbury St.

What did I miss? Is there a “best place for bar food” or favorite locale for “after work” drink (yes, apparently that is different from a “happy hour”)? Tell me and I’d be happy to review it for you! Also, if you know of a new business opening up within a 25 mile radius of the city, let me know about it and I’ll do my best to visit or spread the word! (See my terms of service for sponsored posts.)

Hope you had a lovely weekend!

xo, Vanessa

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3 responses to “Summer In the City: Hot spots to visit

  1. Hi Vanessa! This is such an amazing post. I really enjoyed reading this. Love the bit about the moon hitting your eye like a big pizza pie part, made me chuckle. Feel like flying over already to visit Boston for a week! 🙂

    (P.S. Glad you could join us at WFBC on Facebook 🙂

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