The red-orange glow of smoldering coals only enhances the cozy, inviting vibe of Sheesha Lounge, a local hangout that recently earned a spot on CBS Boston's list of Allston’s Best Hookah Bars. It's not hard to find something to love about this place, whether it's the exposed brickwork and padded, pillow-lined banquettes or the fact that the lounge stays open as late as 2 a.m. The biggest draw, however, has to be the 35 different flavors of tobacco, which include rose, jasmine, vanilla, mint, and mountain spring water. As the fragrant, cloud-like wisps of smoke mingle in the air, guests can dine on sweet snacks that include cheesecake and baklava.
In Boston’s financial district rests Vintage Lounge, an American bistro with an extensive wine list that has earned the restaurant a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence every year since 2007. While perched on leather chairs in an amber-hued dining room, guests pair designer cocktails with sharable small plates and hearty entrees such as braised short ribs crowned with roasted shallots and acorn squash or hand-cut fettuccine in a bolognese sauce. A glowing candle-topped bar adds to the restaurant’s romantic atmosphere and helps diners celebrate overcoming their fear of shadow puppets.
France has graciously loaned three things to America: flag colors, Gerard Depardieu, and the cuisine behind today’s Groupon. For $20, you’ll get $50 worth of contemporary French cuisine at North End’s Sensing Restaurant. The literal brainchild of famed French chef Guy Martin—no, you may not call him "French Guy" for short—this modestly upscale establishment brings Paris to the Fairmont Battery Wharf via authentic cuisine, fine wines, and words with a silent but deadly x. The restaurant recently received AAA’s prestigious Four-Diamond rating, so feast with the confidence of a hypocrite lecturer, mon semblable… mon frère!LibertyFrance: The ideal of liberty consists of being able to do anything that does not harm others.USA: Liberty is used mostly to wear pajama pants outside.
Voted Best Cigar Shop in the 2010 Boston A-List contest, Cigar Masters houses a fragrant collection of fine cigars and smoking accessories in a sophisticated setting. The shop maintains an aromatic armory of over 50 brands of chic cigars, from time-tested classics like Romeo y Julieta ($10), to specialty smokecicles such as La Flor Dominicana ($13). Refined unwinders can send each other sophisticated smoke signals with the smoldering bouquet of Liga Privadas ($16 each) or replace their signature Slim Jim with a more dignified Don Pepin Garcia ($10). The knowledgeable staff receives ongoing education, keeping them keen on the latest lighters, cigar cases, and stylish smoking bibs. A luxurious, urbane lounge creates an ideal haven for aficionados who wish to bask in the glow of varnished wood and leather seats amidst an aura of refined conversation and stuffed trophy scotches. The lounge offers a full selection of libations and requires proper evening attire after seven. Cigar Masters supports a variety of local charities, including the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Back Bay Association.
Former Boston mayor James Michael Curley was known as a man of the people: charismatic, popular, and controversial. The same could be said at this restaurant that shares his name. jm Curley's menu is crowd-pleasing, but not without controversy. Case in point: the jelly donut, which is fried in bacon fat, filled with strawberry rhubarb, and glazed with foie gras. Need more examples? How about the organic hot pocket, made with grilled leeks, Vermont raclette, and tempura or the beet Doritos made with beet powder, citric acid, and corn tortillas. Of course, jm Curley is out to please all the people, so these eclectic offerings are balanced by more traditional dishes such as a 9-ounce natural angus burger or fried chicken with biscuits, both of which tread the middle ground in the culinary divide. Regardless of whether diners prefer their cuisine creative or conventional, all can come together over a beer. But even that may prove contentious, as jm Curley’s beer menu features more than 60 brews to choose from, including the chef’s private stock of Narragansett Cream and Genesee Cream Ale. Can’t decide? Just order a Manhattan or a hot toddy and save energy for more important debates, like deciding who has to carry the car home.
Franklin Southie is part of a small group of eateries owned by the Franklin Restaurant Group, including Franklin Café in the South End; Franklin Cape Ann in Gloucester; as well as Citizen Public House & Bar and Tasty Burger, both in the Fenway area. Like the others, Franklin Southie offers a welcoming neighborhood vibe, serving American fare using top notch ingredients, and pouring creative cocktails and great, often local craft beer. This is a go-to spot for when you’re craving fried chicken, mashed potatoes and other homey dishes, with the added bonus of a late-night kitchen that serves until 1:30 a.m. That’s a rarity in this town. Sunday brunch has some wacky offerings, like fried PB&J and Boston crème pie doughnut holes, but standards like huevos rancheros and steak and eggs keep locals coming in, as do the delicious Bloody Marys and Bellinis.