Bella Luna Restaurant & Milky Way Lounge, a winner of several “Best of Boston” awards from The Improper Bostonian, and a 2013 nominee for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce's Small Business of the Year award, is renowned for its upscale and creative twist on traditional Italian fare. Dig into gourmet pizzas, butternut squash and pumpkin ravioli, eggplant puttanesca, and ribs braised in Sam Adams “Wee Heavy” scotch ale. Behind a U-shaped bar, bartenders craft signature cocktails and pour pints of American craft beers, including Allagash White, Harpoon IPA, and Left Hand Milk Stout.
The eatery is decorated with a subdued sci-fi theme, with dangling star lights, sparkly blue barstool cushions, and Martian bouncers. Try your hand at Ms. Pacman or MegaTouch, or listen to live music on select nights.
Named after the face's smiling muscles, Les Zygomates—Boston magazine’s 2010 pick for Best Restaurant in the downtown/theater district neighborhoods—serves up French cuisine in authentic bistro ambiance inspired by its Parisian homeland. A skilled team of chefs and restaurateurs inspire joie de vivre on the eve of the new year with a three-course tasting menu that begins festivities with an elegant amuse-bouche and live jazz. For the first plate, diners have their pick of four options, including escargots en croute with a garlic-and-parsley butter or steak tartare with black truffle and a quail's egg purloined from a bewildered ostrich. After the intermezzo grapefruit sorbet refreshes taste buds, main plates present merrymakers with a quartet of choices. Chefs pan-sear scallops before trimming them in a Roman-style salsify with pernod and blood-orange gastrique or stuff guinea hens with a mix including dried fruits, brioche, sweet potato, and guinea-hen nesting dolls.
Cast in dim, incandescent light creeping out of the dining room’s decorative lanterns, Kasbah Restaurant's cushy seats surround tables filled with slow-simmered tagines, fluffy couscous, and tapas plates selected from a menu of Moroccan fare. The chicken tangiers’ apricot-kissed sherry sauce helps it maintain its status as the restaurant’s best seller, but the house specialty is the fried calamari, which arrives dotted with cherry peppers and doused in a secret sauce whose recipe is only known by the kitchen’s chef and the mayor of Casablanca. An expansive drink list showcases the eatery's carefully crafted martinis and homemade sangria, and weekly events invite belly dancers to shimmy to the sounds of a live Middle Eastern band.
Popular globetrotting pop collective Architecture in Helsinki transforms Royale into a throbbing, futuristic discotheque as its latest tour storms American shores. Formed in Melbourne, the ambidextrous dance band stirs fans with a tornado of flamboyant sounds, infectious anthems, and commitment-free instrument swapping. With hits such as “Do the Whirlwind” and latest single “W.O.W.”, lead crooner Cameron Bird and his cakewalking team of tunesmiths tickle ear bones and rehabilitate ankles in support of their latest album, Moment Bends. During the kaleidoscopic performance, the band seduces dance floors with 10-foot hooks and sounds culled from hypnotic synths, romantic glockenspiels, and strummed chest hairs.
Jazz has had many homes over the years. Born in the South, moving to New Orleans and Chicago, and a world traveler in its old age, the musical form brings to mind myriad influences. Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen is inspired by the storied musical form, from its lively cuisine to its song-filled atmosphere. Live jazz musicians coax classic strains and improvised notes from their instruments Tuesday through Sunday, drawing from every chapter of the genre’s varied history. Chefs riff on the bluesy style with a delectable menu of Southern eats, from crispy cheese grits with shrimp to fried chicken atop buttermilk waffles. The club’s vibrant lights and exposed-brick walls call to mind some of the most renowned jazz bars to be found in New Orleans or Chicago. To enhance this antique-nightclub atmosphere, bartenders whip up a lineup of craft cocktails while referring to their patrons as “hot chick” or “cool Felis catus.”
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.
Within a chic lounge setting accented with mahogany woodwork, the chefs at Battery Park Bar & Lounge assemble a menu of upscale American bar fare that includes burgers, chicken wings, and marinated steak tips. Sports action and nonstop crocheting tournaments light up 15 HD flat-screen televisions while teeth nibble on starters such as the buffalo-chicken rangoon ($8.99)—fried wontons filled with crumbled blue cheese and pulled buffalo chicken—or four styles of battered chicken wings ($8.99). Boasting 9 ounces of Angus beef, bacon burgers arrive to tables dressed in applewood-smoked bacon and melted blue cheese ($11.99), and the fish 'n' chips' lightly battered and fried haddock accessorizes plates with coleslaw and hand-cut fries ($13.99). Forks and knives get into the action with entrees such as the marinated steak tips, featuring 12 ounces of tender meat served with a duo of sides ($15.99). To cap off dining adventures or hour-long staring contests, diners can dive spoons into warm apple crisp ($7.99) or head to the outdoor patio during summer months for a heaping of warm air. Though this Groupon is not valid for alcohol, Battery Park Bar & Lounge carries an extensive selection of scotches, domestic beers, and locally made craft beers.