Beer, Wine & Spirits in Melrose

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Beantown Pub Crawls commemorates the joy of the holidays with a few good beers and some celebratory strolls through Boston. Bringing revelers to some of the city's most beloved watering holes, Beantown's organized crawls ensure that holidays?including Valentine's Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Christmas?can be celebrated on more than just one day. The Ugly Sweater Crawl encourages participants to don tastelessly festive threads as they help raise money for Toys for Tots, and previous events, such as Halloween's Costume Crawl, have involved significantly more outlandish duds.

14 Lexington
Stoneham,
MA
US

By combining thorough education services with modern technology, Babbel's interactive learning tools help students speak a second language by connecting with potential friends and business contacts across the globe. Babbel offers programs for 11 languages, including French, Brazilian Portuguese, Swedish, German, and Spanish, with integrated speech-recognition tools and review managers that adjust exercises according to each learner's progress. The online lessons can be accessed from home computers. Babbel's Web-based software also connects users to an online community of learners and native speakers who offer assistance by chatting with users, commenting on writing exercises, and posting obituaries for dead languages.

155 New Boston St
Woburn,
MA
US

The Wine Shop of Reading prompts clients to ask themselves, "am I the next Sam Adams?" But not because they're helping found a nation, but because they're interested in brewing beer. Onsite, The Wine Shop staff works with visitors to not just sell them great beer, but show them how to craft a solid home brew with the skills, ingredients, and equipment to do so. Instructors also teach wine making, as well as bartending skills, which involves more than artfully draping a towel over one shoulder and coming up with punny cocktail names.

676 Main St
Reading,
MA
US

The food at Shays Pub & Wine Bar ranges from Tex-Mex feasts to light servings of hummus, but all the dishes are united by one common thread: almost everything is made in-house from scratch. One example: the homemade enchilada sauce, which is smothered atop burritos bursting with melted cheese, rice, jalapeños, and onions. The fries are likewise homemade and hand cut, and make a perfect accomplice to the cheddar cheeseburger and the turkey and bacon sandwich. The wines on the menu, however, were not made in-house; even better, they hail from Italy, France, and New Zealand. Shays Pub also features 10 brews on tap and a list of bottled beers that includes Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and Sam Smith’s Nut Brown Ale.

58 Jfk St
Cambridge,
MA
US

Growing up across the street from the historical North End building where Villa Francesca now stands, Guglielmo Ranauro never guessed that he'd open a restaurant in 1976 and name it after his beloved mother. Ranauro was inspired by her traditional cooking and wanted to create a place where other people could get an authentic taste of Italy.

Today, Ranauro has handed over the family legacy to longtime manager and prot?g? Tomas Salmeron. Salmeron and his culinary team continue to follow those classic recipes, turning fresh-caught fruits of the sea into a daily seafood prix fixe menu. Furthermore, they transform chicken, lamb, steak, and veal into dishes you might find while strolling through a Tuscan piazza or steering a one-person submarine down a Venetian canal. The eatery?s extensive wine list, which includes 140 Italian and international varieties, earned a 2012 Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. Even the ambiance points diners in the direction of Italy: tin ceilings and stained-glass accents add Old-World nostalgia, and the exposed-brick walls are anchored by Romanesque archways and paintings of bustling village scenes.

150 Richmond St
Boston,
MA
US

Thousands of fashionistas flock to StyleFixx Premier Shopping Events to meet up-and-coming independent fashion designers and browse the latest styles. This year’s displays include the 2012 lines of Hivernage NYC, Bling Boutique, and Cimber Designs. In between shopping sprees, attendees may relax with complimentary beauty treatments such as hair services by Dellaria Salons, makeovers by Virginn Pure Mineral Makeup, and body wraps by good-natured mummies. Once pampered, refreshed guests mingle while sipping free cocktails and munching on samples from Finale Desserts and Haru Sushi, and each partygoer receives a StyleFixx Swag Bag loaded with product samples.

539 Tremont St
Boston,
MA
US

Melrose Scene