NFT Boston Allston (South) / Brookline (North)

Allston (South) / Brookline (North)

Essentials
For most Bostonians, crowded living and rowdy students define Allston. There's no place in the city where so many cheap eats, dive bars, and used goods are crammed into so few blocks. It's a dirty mashup and the city is better for it.

Sundries/Entertainment
Allston Rock City! Clubs drive the scene here, with live music and DJs every night of the week. Check Paradise, Great Scott, and even the velvet rope at Wonder Bar. Taps dominate Sunset Grill and Big City. As for food, we've been known to fantasize about kebabs at Saray and Bánh Mi at See more.

>Super 88.

BonChon can satisfy your Korean fried chicken craving and Pho Viet is good Vietnamese. For hangovers, it's Tavern in the Square's an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet. The Upper Crust serves up traditional sloppy, cheesy pies. Yum.

The sporty and outdoorsy converge on City Sports and Eastern Mountain Sports. Boston's also a biking town, and riders can get tune-ups, gear, and honest advice at International Bicycle Center. You can always find some good stuff at spots like TJ Maxx and Urban Outfitters, both of which come in handy more often than not. Oh, and we love the ice cream at J.P. Licks.

Transportation
The Green Line doesn't get more crowded and unbearable than the B train to BC. Parking is notoriously difficult in Allston. Clubbing and busing go like this: 66 bus to Harvard, 64 bus to Central Square, and if you think it's faster than the T, 54 bus to Kenmore Square.




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Baked (Goods) in Brookline

By Andrew Palmacci
Andrew Palmacci never met a bagel he didn't feel comfortable eating. Follow him on an ambitious excursion from chain to bakery as Palmacci discovers once and for all what makes the likes of a Jewish yeasted bread circle or crescent-shaped puff pastry so gosh darned important.

Read More...
Boston's Rock Roots

By Suzanne Cope
I wanna rock! Rock! Long before Bostonians were sailing to America and hanging witches, they were performing live, sold-out rock shows decked out in glittery makeup and five-inch heels while harems of slithering females with golden candelabra headdresses did weird swishy circular hand dances around their faces. Don't believe me? Tell it to Suzanne Cope.

Read More...
Nightlife After College

By Katherine Hayes
Just because you graduate doesn't mean you have to stop having fun! RIGHT GUYS!!? Take it from Katherine Hayes and never be lonely (for post-collegiate revelry) again.

Read More...
The Drinking Man's Guide to Boston

By David Sargent
A drinking man must have a drinking plan and for this reason he reads David Sargent's feature.

Read More...
Boston's Squares

By Janet Potter
Ain't just squares in the schools we're talking about. From Copley to Coolidge, Kenmore to Central, Boston is a geographically square-rich complex of squarish personas. Join them, and they will always respect you.

Read More...

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Patrick Hellen
Photo:  Patrick Hellen

Wings Over Brookline
When I was a young man at UMass Amherst, I discovered my love for crazy hot and delicious chicken wings thanks to a local joint called the Hanger that my buddy delivered food for. The delivery service was called Wings over Amherst, and it has since expanded into a chain of 23 hot sauce soaked delivery joints. A few years back they decided to open one in Brookline, showing that my prayers to baby Jebus have finally been answered. Let's start with heat. If you like insanely hot wings, that are guaranteed to make you sweat, curse, and go, "WhoooOOOOOOO," then Afterburner is by far your best option. I love hot wings, and I approach these with reverence and tons of extra blue cheese. For those of you who value flavor over heat, there are plenty of other options like Jamaica Jerk, Garlic Parmesan, and my other favorite--Cajun BBQ. They'll also do you right with ribs, buffalo chicken sandwiches, and waffle fries. Everyone LOVES waffle fries. So next time you've got a platoon of football loving, Teddy Bruschi jersey wearing, hungry sonsabitches coming over to watch the game? Wings is your go to guy for all the edibles.



Posted By:  Patrick Hellen
Photo:  Patrick Hellen

Dorado
YES! There's a new joint in Brookline that delivers one of my many addictions, Mexican Food! Dorado, on Harvard street, is about 6 weeks old, and let me be the first to welcome you to Boston, cemitas and all. What’s a cemita you ask? Why it’s a mexican sandwich that cures what's ailing you with it's unique construction of holy ingredients. Let's start with a sesame seed bun, and toss in a chunk of avocado, a bushel of cilantro, oaxaca cheese (the mexican equivalent to mozzarella), some type of meat (portobello for the veggies), some black beans, and slap it all together and cram it down your gullet. The result? Unbuttoning of your top button in an, "I'm full and loving it," motion. For those of you with appetites of developing countries, throw in some Elote--fire blackened and cheese covered corn, or a few of the fish tacos that I have heard are some of the best you'll find on the Left Coast. Don't like mexican? Get a full rotisserie chicken, slathered in spices. THEY DO IT ALL! It's small, it's new, it's delectable, and it's here to satisfy those of us with a tortilla-tooth. Hit it, now.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

Wisteria
Over the past several months, we have seen many changes at Super 88. The change in ownership has brought on a smaller grocery store and a soon to be expanded food court. While we are anxiously awaiting the opening of the new food stalls, there are so many amazing ones to visit. Whenever I go, I seem to stick with my old favorites since they are really that good, but the other day, I decided that I would check out a new stall. Since I couldn't make up my mind when I got there, I just went to the one with the longest line. This ended up being Wisteria. Even though they have been at this location for over a year, and in the Boston area for even longer, this was a first for me. No matter if you are adventurous or not, you will order something delicious. If you want a hint, start off with Leek & Chive Pie.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

Gitlo's
When people ask me where to get the best dim sum, my first recommendation is no longer to head to Chinatown. I now tell them to check out Gitlo's in Allston. Unlike dim sum in Chinatown, you can get Gitlo's delicious buns and dumplings until 10:30 pm. While they might not be pushing carts around for you to pick your dishes from, they do have tons of options on their menu and even more daily specials posted on their wall. They also have a lot of non-dim sum items on their menu. With most dishes priced under $4, you can afford try a few. I have too many favorites to list, but a few are the Curry Spare Ribs with Potato, the Char Siu So, and the Cantonese Dumplings.



Posted By:  Emily Doutre
Photo:  Emily Doutre

J.P. Licks
At the risk of putting my head on the Boston chopping block, I'm gonna come right out and say that I do not care for Dunkin Donuts coffee. That's right. I think it tastes like aspartame. And fakeness. Before you release the safety, I think you should give JP Lick's coffee a try. I know, you're asking why you should have to go to an ice cream joint to find good coffee. Well does that make any less sense than going to a doughnut place for the same thing? I didn't think so. Now: smell the richness and bask in the mellow body of what real fresh roasted joe should be like. And naturally lower your heart rate with the knowledge that JP Licks uses fair trade beans, so no farmers had to take the shaft just to give you your daily caffeine fix. Let’s face it: at this point, George W and the Carlyle Group don't need/deserve another dime from you. (Get on the Google if you don't know what I’m talking about.) So stop giving it to them by way of Dunkin Donuts' crappy coffee, and start being good to yourself by drinking JP Licks.




Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

Metropolis Scooters
Getting parts for my old Vespa is a pain in the ass. While there are tons of shops in town selling new scooters, they are of no help to me. Herb Chambers has some old scooters in their storefront for show, but when it comes to the most basic part for my 1969 Vespa, they don't have it. Ordering from the countless scooter shops across the country doesn't work when I only need one small part. JavaSpeed, while a great shop, is located too far away in Providence, but luckily, Eric got motivated and opened up Metropolis Scooters in Allston. While it's a small shop, it has what I need, and for those who don't know how to work on their old Vespas and Lambrettas, they do top-notch repairs and maintenance. They are appointment only so you can't just swing by, but getting in touch with them is a snap by phone, email, or directly from their website. If you are looking to buy an old Vespa or Lambretta, get one here since (unlike most of the scoots being sold on ebay and craigslist), you can be sure that the scoots at Metropolis are as new as they can be for being so old.



Posted By:  Patrick Hellen
Photo:  Patrick Hellen

YoMa
Myanmar. It's in Asia. It's controlled by a junta (a great word to say), it used to be called Burma, and it got hit by a hurricane. Yoma. It's in Allston, it's the size of a postage stamp, and it makes some damn fine food. If you have to visit one, I say stay local. Here's the thing. If you're going to take anything away from this radar, it's the following. Order the Green Mango Salad. The curry was none too shabby, the soups were pretty decent, but sweet tiny baby Jesus, that Mango Salad was fantastic. We're talking slightly sour mango, peanuts, ground up dried shrimps, and shredded cabbage. Did I mention it was damn delicious? Prices are pretty low for the amount of food you get, but word to the wise. No liquor license. I didn't ask if they had a BYOB policy, but since this is Allston and there are liquor stores within stumbling distance in all directions, it wouldn't shock me. Cheap ethnic food in Allston is pretty easy to find, but this place is worth looking for.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

YoMa
What bothers me most about Allston is not all the students, the 66 bus, or what a pain in the ass it is to get a parking space, it's that there are too many restaurants. What pisses me off even more is that most of the restaurants are cheap and delicious. This problem is getting worse since several new restaurants have opened up. And, many of them are just as tasty (or even more tasty) than my old favorites. One of these newbies is YoMa, the only Burmese restaurant in town. While the ambiance of the little restaurant leaves a lot to be desired, their food is fantastic. There are tons of options on the menu, and I have not even tried a fraction of them so I'm leaving you to your own devices when it comes to ordering. But, I will tell you that YoMa is one of those restaurants where it is better to share than to get your own dish. The portions are on the small size so you should order at least one more dish than the number of people at your table.



Posted By:  Leah Bagas
Photo:  Leah Bagas

Media Performance Institute
I know you must have sat in the movie theater (or your house) and watched a film and smugly thought, "I could definitely do better than that." Well, prove it! Take an acting class through Boston Casting at the Media Performance Institute and see how you do. They have classes going all the time for all levels. Think you have what it takes to be in the next Valtrex commercial? Take acting for commercials and hone your skills. I took acting for the camera and I loved it. They have a class for everything but if you are going to drop the dough, you better be prepared to do your homework and memorize your lines.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

John's Market
For this radar, I must thank the wonderfully food-obsessed posters at chowhound since I otherwise never would have looked down Linden Street to find this place. Located just a few blocks away from Super 88 and around the corner from Spike's Junkyard Dogs sits John's Market. With a very unassuming name, this small place is primarily packed with Korean food. While they do carry many packaged and frozen goods, the main draw is right behind the meat counter. Here, one of the owners is usually busy preparing delicious, ready-to-eat items or creating a marinade for the delicious meats you'll be cooking at home (you don't have a choice here, they are just too good to pass up). The refrigerated section of the store carries a huge variety of freshly made banchan (these are those sides that you get when you order your meal at a Korean restaurant). Most of these items are priced between $4 & $10 so it is worth getting at least a few of the more delicious looking ones. If you go for one of the marinated meats, they just take minutes to cook at home, and make sure to ask how you should cook them since you will definitely receive a few valuable cooking tips. If you have your own Korean recipe in mind, they also carry a large variety of (non-marinated) cuts of meat.



Posted By:  Leah Bagas
Photo:  Leah Bagas

Rangoli
Around where Brighton Ave meets Harvard Ave, there are a lot of tasty Asian treats. Thank you, Boston, for being a melting pot. However, you need Indian, you need to go to Rangoli's. Mmm mmm. Now, I suggest you go on a nice weekend afternoon and get the buffet (I am always partial to buffets because I have to taste everything) as on these occasions they give you freshly baked naan when you sit down. I think the most surprising thing was when some kid came in and got the buffet to go. He piled food so high into that Styrofoam container that I just couldn't believe management was letting him get endless buffet to go! Oh well. If he can do it, so can the rest of us... covertly... in our dreams.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

Aneka Rasa
Lately, I feel that the majority of my radars have featured eating spots in Allston. There is good reason for that. Allston, as I’ve said too many times before, can’t be beat for the price, variety, and tastiness of the restaurants that occupy just a handful of city blocks. Added to my list of top notch cheap eats is Aneka Rasa. Yeah, I know that Penang is the more established (and pricier) Malaysian restaurant in town, but don’t let the reviews fool you. Aneka Rasa is tastier. Don’t doubt my words or try to argue with me because I am right. When you go, be a little adventurous and try something new, don’t order what sounds familiar, stick with their Malaysian dishes.



Posted By:  Charlotte Strode
Photo:  Charlotte Strode

Great Scott
It might come as a surprise that Great Scott’s small joint in Allston can host nation-wide touring rock bands, Sunday artist sketch events and Brit-pop dance nights all in one small room. This Sunday, I attended a “Rock and Romp” afternoon for parents, giving them an opportunity to debut their toddlers as the new hottest accessory, order a Blue Moon and two Welch’s juice boxes, and grab goodie bags filled with inflatable guitars and microphones—all while listening to live rock and roll. I have never in my life seen so many toddlers dancing to something that I, as a 24-year old, currently have on my IPod. It seems that any event or gathering is possible at Great Scott—at least when it comes to music—which makes the bar unrivaled in community spirit (I believe there is even a dedicated Facebook group). Mostly known for booking indie-rock and underground bands, the grungy bar gathers a scene that is eclectic and down-to-earth. There is no bullshit, no production, no fashion requirement—simply good music, beers, and a cozy time.



Posted By:  Leah Bagas
Photo:  Leah Bagas

Boston Playwrights' Theater
Boston Playwrights’ Theater is only one year older than me (which makes it 26) and that means 26 years of new plays. That’s why I would give the BPT a gold star. When you pass by the BPT and its recessed walkway up to the theater it’s so easy to ignore it or not even see it and when you do see it, it’s easy to dismiss it as Boston U’s theater and perhaps not something to be interested in. Well, stop thinking like that, you theater snob! It was founded to produce and showcase new plays and happily, that is exactly what it does. I know seeing a new play is risky. I mean, when you pick Mamma Mia!, you know exactly what you’re getting, but without new plays there’d be a slow death to creativity. Do you really want to be responsible for that?



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo: 

La Mamma
Yep, it looks like every other pizza shop in Boston, and it is in a neighborhood that has so much amazing food. That’s why I always wondered why this place always had a steady flow of customers. Then, one day, I noticed the word “empanada” on the sign. Suddenly it all made sense. Empanadas are amazing; theirs are phenomenal. Skip past the ones that are heating in the oven and ask them to make a fresh few for you. The trick is to find out the fillings of the ones that are already made, and then order one with a different filling. Trust me. It’s worth the wait. If you don’t want to fill up solely on empanadas, try one of their chacareros.



Posted By:  Claudia Ricker
Photo:  Claudia Ricker

The Compleat Strategist
A hardcore gamer I am not, but as it turns out, I am engaged to one. If you can’t beat ‘em (and I definitely cannot, and probably should not), well, then sometimes you have to join ‘em. They’ve seriously got every kind of game paraphernalia you would want, from board games, card games, and a bajillion varieties of dice, to DVDs, magazines, and role-playing games. The guys working at this place are clearly in their dream jobs and are super passionate about the subject matter. I was treated to a long discussion about the ins and outs of my new personal favorite, a card game I recently purchased called, “Berserker Halflings from the Dungeon of Dragons: An Epic Fantasy B-Movie Card Game.” So, at this point, I’ve made few stops at the Compleat Strategist and I think they were quite happy to have me. I am female after all … just kidding!



Posted By:  Stuart Kurtz
Photo:  Stuart Kurtz

Scallywaggle's
This reincarnation (and you’ll find lots of people talking about reincarnation here, apropos the image) of a former meat and dairy pizza house, T.J.’s House of Pizza (the lack of a real name change must still lure ‘em in) lets you scarf down good pizza, calzones, and subs while helping a social mission bigger than yourself. Steve, the owner, will tell you it’s a social project to shut down the slaughterhouses. It takes 7 to 12 pounds of vegetable protein to make 1 pound of animal protein. But eating here is guilt-free. Fine, fine. But how’s the grub? Well, the fact that some prey-tracking meat-eaters come in once a week is a good sign. The pizzas could fool the regulars at Pizzeria Regina. The “cheese” has a gooey, melty consistency. Try the “chikhin” Parmesan sub with “cheese”. Calzones and subs include “meetbahls” and “sauhsage”. If you’re wondering what’s with the quotation marks and gonzo spellings, it’s not Bahstan Tahk. It’s to set these ingredients apart from their earth-depleting counterparts. Every “chick” or “calf” was soy protein. Steve eventually hopes to open a chain of vegan comfort-food restaurants to challenge the fast-food monoliths. There is live music on Thursday nights.



Posted By:  Leah Bagas
Photo:  Leah Bagas

Grille Zone
Ecologically greasy are two words to describe Grille Zone. The menu isn’t too extensive but if you’re going to a grill place for more than the traditional burgers and chicken, you’re in trouble to begin with. The burgers are fresh and yummy and greasy just like burgers should be but the whole place is so environmentally friendly that you don’t feel gross when you bite into the burger and juices start running down your chin. They apparently also have the most energy efficient fryers in America and make a big point about their commitment to zero waste. Also, if my eavesdropping paid off, I can also recommend the grilled cheese sandwich. However, as it is by BU, it’s hard to say whether the students love it because it’s cheap or delicious but based on my burger, I’d say a bit of both!



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

Reef Café
If you’re craving delicious Lebanese food cooked by Mom, look no further. You will find it at Reef Cafe. A son is at the counter and the Mom is usually in the back. This family never disappoints. Besides delicious food, this is one of the most friendly restaurants in Boston. Sandwiches are all around $5 and the dinner plates are just a few dollars more. You can't go wrong with a lamb dish. If you have never tried soujouk, you must try it since the spicy ground lamb and beef sausage tastes so good. You don't have to listen to me because anything that you order will be fantastic. Definitely try one of their specials, and don't leave without ending your meal with a piece of baklava and a cup of their strong coffee.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo: 

Harpers Ferry
How does a bar that I used to hate get on my good side? Well, that's easy, get the person who books shows for the Living Room in Providence to start booking some shows for said hated bar. To me, Harpers Ferry was just one of those places that I would never step foot in, but in the last few months this all has changed. It started when the Riverboat Gamblers played last month followed by Lawrence Arms, The Falcon, and American Steel playing a few weeks ago. (I was too lazy to go see Left Alone and Mustard Plug play later that same week.) And, there are two other things that I like about Harpers Ferry. First, you can get a piss Miller draft for $2.50. Second, during a set change or while a band that you don’t like takes the stage, you can leave the bar and get some food at one of the many delicious cheap eats in the area. So, when looking through the Phoenix or the Globe to see who is coming to town, don't skip over Harpers Ferry's listing like I used to.




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