Washington Square, one of Boston's hottest restaurant scenes, attracts many of Boston's most talented chefs to the restaurant row on Beacon Street. Find traditional taverns, sophisticated restaurants, trendy eateries and other out-of-the-ordinary dining options.
The Publick House, recipient of the Best Neighborhood Diversion award from Boston Magazine, welcomes customers in a cozy wood-paneled room with medieval flourishes including fleur-de-lis doorways and a lively tavern atmosphere that draws in locals. A favorite spot for after-work drinks and leisurely weekend meals, the Publick House menu presents thoughtful variations on pub classics, including dry-rubbed buffalo wings served with gorgonzola dressing and mussels steamed in a house-made fish stock. Stand-outs include the rich, gooey mac and cheese served with Maine lobster and the fried brussel sprouts with bacon-horseradish aioli. The bar impresses with its list of Belgian craft beers and knowledgeable staff on-hand for recommendations.
Sample and share small plates of tapas at Barcelona Brookline. Served in a refined rustic atmosphere with raw clapboard walls, the Spanish menu includes artisanal meats and cheeses, such as nutty manchego and dry-cured Spanish ham, as well as meat entrees and paella. Try the chorizo and fig for a sweet and savory balance or the tender grilled hanger steak drizzled with truffle vinaigrette. Expect a wait on weekends, and while waiting enjoy a much-praised pitcher of sangria.
For a casual meal, locals line up at Rod Dee Thai for what might be the best pad thai in Boston. The cash-only establishment doesn't have wait service, so you choose your own table in the brightly painted room. Other favorites include the curries and the Indonesian fried rice. Fans of spice appreciate the tom yum soup.
At night, locals crowd into the neighborhood eatery bars on Beacon Street for craft brews and expertly blended cocktails. At Washington Square Tavern, customers cozy up at the candle-lit mahogany bar to choose from the spirit-lined shelves, which includes a superb selection of single-malt scotch whiskeys. The comfortable yet upscale spot gets crowded on weekends, when old-school bartenders serve up craft brews and crafty cocktails.
Though music fans won't find many live shows in Washington Square, locals trek into neighboring Allston for big crowds and bigger sounds. Fans pack the small concert room at Paradise Rock Club to hear new bands and established musicians play everything from rock and metal to hip hop. Regulars love the venue's size, with an intimate stage and a second-level balcony. Reasonable ticket prices ensure a diverse crowd, and several full bars mean you won't get stuck in line.
For a quieter evening out, head over to the Coolidge Corner
Theater in Coolidge Square, a beloved neighborhood institution for indie films, midnight screenings and classic movies. Inside the Art Deco theater, painted ceilings and decorative accents grace the old stage spaces, while several tiny screening rooms hold modern padded armchairs for comfortable viewings of even the most obscure titles.