Despite its unappetizing moniker, ‘Beantown’ actually boasts quite a desirable food and beverage scene. Couple that with an expanding array of boutique lodging and exciting new construction projects and you’re looking at a city that’s having an undeniable ‘moment’. Particularly as the weather warms, and walkability isn’t stymied by Old Man Winter. Here’s why you should be plotting your next visit now.
Boston has been welcoming guests for nearly 400 years. Tourism is certainly nothing new to this town. But if you haven’t been in a while, you might be surprised to see how many boutique hotels have sprouted up across the landscape. In the historic Beacon Hill district you’ve got XV Beacon, a 63-room luxury property featuring gas fireplaces in every suite. Starting at $400/night, amenities include cashmere throws, a pillow menu, 400 thread count Frette linen, and bathrooms fitted with white Italian Marble. On the ground floor, a modern steakhouse, playfully titled, Moo…. was recently renovated and offers its full menu in-room until 10pm, nightly. Starting in spring, the hotel opens up its rooftop garden and patio overlooking the Commons and surrounding skyline.
Surprisingly, rooftops aren’t as rare as you might imagine in this part of the world. The Colonnade in the Back Bay section of the city even holds an outdoor pool above its 15 stories. You’ll find it next to the bar, serving the largest Moscow Mules you’ll ever see. Rooms here start at $200/night.
A Growing Skyline
But if you’re looking for something decidedly more luxe, the 61-story Four Seasons is preparing to open across the street. The 742-foot tower looms large over the neighborhood; it will be New England’s tallest hotel and residential building when completed later in the year. It comes on the heels of the 685-foot Millennium Tower, a condo residence that opened in 2016.
Exciting New Restaurants
You used to come to Boston just for lobster and ‘chowdah’. You can still get plenty of both, of course. But why have traditional fare when you get funky with crudo or crispy head-on shrimp at the newly opened Alcove in the West End. Here chef Maxime Fanton takes typical regional ingredients, reviewing them through a Mediterranean lens. That means New England beef carpaccio and squid ink pasta with cockles, fennel, and bottarga. Mains are divided into ‘sea’, ‘field’, and ‘land’. All of it arrives at your table overlooking the iconic Zakim Bridge as it crosses the Charles River.
The North End is no stranger to old school Italian-American cuisine, but now the South End is getting a taste of something a touch more ambitious. James Beard Award-winner Karen Akunowicz plates house made pastas at Fox & The Knife, inspired by the savory flavors of Modena. Less than a month since opening, it’s already the toughest reservations in the neighborhood.
Elsewhere around town, omakase looks to be the latest craze. You find it at No Relation, a nine-seat sushi bar within a bar–the surrounding Shore Leave was already the city’s hottest destination for all things tiki. Two nightly seatings at 6 and 8:30 feature over a dozen selections of fresh raw fish for up to $120 per person. It joins Kamakura as the city’s dual incubators of a full-fledged Japanese culinary awakening.
Yvonne’s, a popular restaurant/nightclub hybrid, just launched The Gallery. It’s a rotating underground art exhibit built around just seven dining tables–so book well in advance. Enjoy whimsical installations alongside the bars playful concoctions, such as the Root Beer Julep: a decadent mashup of Woodford Reserve, Galliano, Amaretto, and vanilla sarsaparilla underneath a toasted marshmallow garnish. Drinkable dessert.
Crazy About Craft
And speaking of drinks…Boston is now making plenty of its own, right within city limits. Bully Boy Distillers is a hidden gem lurking within the city’s industrial south. Step off the streets into a charming Prohibition-inspired drinking parlor. The backbar overlooks the operation, where whiskey, rum, gin–even amaro is crafted with the help of a photogenic copper pot still. Come for daily tours and tastings, and stay to have the talented bar staff mix you up something unique using solely the liquids distilled on site.
When it comes to craft beer, the city has long been an embarrassment of riches. This is the home of Sam Adams and Harpoon, after all, two OGs of the movement. But somehow it just keeps getting better. Last year, Trillium Brewing Company opened its highly anticipated brewery and restaurant in Fort Point. Behind a beautiful brick facade is a massive interior featuring two floors of sipping space, adjacent to the large oak vessels where new beer waits patiently to come online. The outdoor patio/rooftop terrace promises to be among Boston’s most popular drinking destinations come spring.
Up at North Station, local lager-maker Jack’s Abby is readying its Track Zero Taproom, which will feature 10 offerings from the Framingham-based craft producer. It’s set to start pouring within the month. You don’t have to be on the afternoon commute to appreciate the brewery’s newest release–a crisp, dry-hopped pilsner called Citra Brau.