From public markets and Bellinis at brunch to new-school oysters and family-run distilleries, here’s how to eat, drink and do Boston like a local.
Here at The Revolution Hotel, Chef Colton Coburn-Wood’s soon-to-open taqueria, Cósmica Mexican Eatery & Bar, is set to shake up Mexican fare in the South End. Rumor has it that duck carnitas are on the menu, and the restaurant’s 30-seat bar will soon be the spot for slurping down vacation cocktails and mezcal-spiked boozy slushies while inhaling your ahi tuna and passion fruit and habanero curd-enlivened ceviche. Follow along for opening details.
Just around the corner from the hotel is The Beehive, a South End hot spot frequented for its live music, bohemian atmosphere and generously portioned comfort food dishes. Their weekend jazz brunch is a damn good time, showcasing some of the city’s best musicians while you sip on fizzy breakfast cocktails from the Bellini bar.
Also along the South End, B & G Oysters remains a stalwart neighborhood favorite as Chef Barbara Lynch generously schools us on what a classically modern oyster bar should be. Here, diners can select from a large variety of East and West Coast oysters, aided by knowledgeable waitstaff with an affinity for mollusks and bivalves that runs as deep as the salty blue sea.
One of our favorite distilleries in town belongs to the Willis brothers, whose Roxbury distillery, Bully Boy Distillers Tasting Room, has hit it out of the park since firing up their stills in 2017. The intimate, 26-seat tasting room crafts up some of the city’s finest cocktails using their house-made whiskey, gin, rum, vodka and amaro. The brothers, who grew up helping out on their fourth-generation family farm, conceived of Bully Boy Distillers upon coming across an old vault in the basement of their family’s farmhouse — the brothers found an old stash of pre-prohibition and prohibition-era spirits stowed away by their grandfather inside. Upon the discovery, the desire for a distillery of their own was born, and Bully Boy Distillers took root.
For a quintessential Boston quaff, grab a beer at the Bell in Hand Tavern, which enjoys its renown as America’s oldest continuously operating pub since first opening its doors in 1795. Though the surroundings are historical, the beer and cider offerings stay current, and are the perfect pairing with a warm cup of creamy clam chowder.
For a taste of Boston’s live music scene, Wally’s Café, at the intersection of Massachusetts and Columbus Avenues, hosts some of the best live music in the city’s South End. Founded in 1947 by Joseph L. Walcott, who, notably, was the first African-American man to own a club in all of New England, Wally’s Café remains one of the oldest family-owned jazz clubs in the United States.
We recommend you do just about everything in dirty old Boston, but we do have a few favorite spots.
The Isabella Stewart Garden Museum is downright dreamy. This Venetian palace has an impressive collection of works from around the world, and is particularly notorious for falling victim to a 1990 art heist wherein 13 works valued at roughly $500 million were stolen from the museum by two men posing as police officers. To this day, the Gardner Museum theft remains an active and ongoing investigation — tips welcome!
On Saturday nights, get down with Soulelujah at The Sinclair, where soul, funk and R&B tracks are spun on 45s and bad times are not allowed. This dance party has been vibin’ on for almost two decades, so if you love to groove to the smoothadelic sounds of yesteryear, boogie down to Harvard Square.
Open year-round, the Boston Public Market features scores of local artisans housed under one roof on Hanover Street. This indoor farmers market is a vibrant showcase of New England craft foods and wares located a short distance from the historic Paul Revere House. Built in 1680, the Colonial home of the American patriot functions as a museum showcasing three centuries of Boston history — you don’t want to miss it.