NFT Boston Coolidge Corner / Brookline Hills

Coolidge Corner / Brookline Hills

Essentials
This neighborhood is a vibrant mix of old and new, urban and suburban, old-fashioned and eclectic. Long-time residents in stately Victorian homes share quiet neighborhood parks, diverse restaurants and shops, and a buzzing nightlife with transient college students and well-paid young professionals.

Sundries/Entertainment
Brookline is a place where specialty shops mingle with chain stores, and an ethnic array of food spans from the inexpensive Rani Indian Bistro and Boca Grande to the upscale Fireplace and Fugakyu. The popular Art Deco Coolidge Corner Theater shows first-run, repertory, midnight movies, and occasional burlesque.See more.

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Transportation
Brookline welcomes visitors, but as with any house guest, you aren't expected to stay too long. A two-hour parking limit is strictly enforced, and overnight street parking is forbidden. The alternative? The maddeningly slow and crowded Green Line C train and 66 bus. The D train serves Brookline Hills.




         


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...
Take One: The Boston Film Festival Circuit

By Nancy Howell
Gay and Lesbian, International, Irish, Jewish and Latino-centered, the Boston Film Festival has it all! Unless you want to watch films about mating sea turtles, in which case this city has nothing to offer you.

Read More...
When the Weather Outside is Frightful

By Sarah Shemkus
Winter in Boston: Scourge of God or Beauteous Overlay Inspiring Indoor Activities? Only Sarah Shemkus can tell.

Read More...

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Jamie Bushell
Photo:  Jamie Bushell

The Clayroom
Imagine being offered the combination of a glass of wine, assortment of cheeses, and paint your own pottery. Imagine a rainy day, relaxing activity that doesn't involve sitting on your couch watching "Love Actually." Well, my friend, imagine no more! The Clayroom, located near Coolidge Corner in Brookline, has found the inner child. From practical items such as platters and mugs to school buses and wizards alike, for a reasonable price, you can paint your own pottery. There are even stencils for those of us with a slightly shaky hand. The Clayroom, open until 10pm on certain weeknights, offers a relaxing environment to unwind after a day at work, catch up with a friend, and be creative. Perhaps you'll finally paint that penguin bank you've wanted your whole life. The exposed brick walls are just begging for an artistic ambiance and the music isn't bad either. The best part is the daily deals they offer: Mondays are half off the studio fee; Tuesdays are free pizza night; and Wednesdays are $30 for wine, cheese, crackers, studio fee, AND any piece of pottery up to $24. Wine and pottery? I'm in.



Posted By:  Charlie O'Brien
Photo:  Charlie O'Brien

Eva B Consignment Shop
This is Eva B's newest shop and it fits right in with other Coolidge Corner shopping boutiques. But, there is a unique and artistic image to Eva's that is consistent with the original in JP. The lighting and decor is all part of the ambiance you experience upon entering. It just feels right. Eva has that discerning taste in decor and in her selection of consignment apparel. All seem to have a bit of timeless elegance about them. The selection of clothing ranges from high-end jeans and designer handbags to funky dresses and vintage accessories.



Posted By:  Joan Hill
Photo:  Joan Hill

Shawarma King
Shawarma King Restaurant is a family operated business which has thrived In the heart of Coolidge Corner for over 18 years by serving authentic Lebanese cuisine in a low-key and friendly atmosphere. The shawarma is top notch; always lean and juicy, and served piping hot. Sharing combined appetizer plates, either vegetarian or meaty, is a great way to try some of their other truly tasty homemade items. Their falafel is superb; crunchy outside, fluffy and aromatically flavorful inside, especially yummy when dipped in their super creamy hummous. Daily specials are shared on the board in Lebanese and English, and the friendly staff loves to describe the enticing offerings on display in the steam table. Everything is freshly made and the portions are generous. Ask to see their catering menu book with hundreds of photos of special meals that they have prepared over the years, it's a joy to behold!



Posted By:  Stuart Kurtz
Photo:  Stuart Kurtz

Rani Indian Bistro
Featuring Hyderabadi style cuisine, this exceptional Indian eatery is a memorable experience in intense flavors. As the menu states, Hyderabadi cooking takes from Northern and Southern India, and slow cooking is in order. You could start with Kulcha (stuffed Naan bread). The Peshawari variety is heightened with cashews and raisins. Bhurta (mashed eggplant) has enough mild spices to augment the mildness of the vegetable. There are two dishes that are worth spending your last rupees on. One is Sham Savera. It's paneer (cheese) stuffed spinach dumplings in tomato and fenugreek sauce. The spinach is pressed into little nuggets that harden just enough to give weak resistance to the teeth. The tomato sauce is a far cry from Ragu. It's perfection. The other dish is Tengai (coconut rice) with dry coconut, cashews, and chilies. The Basmati rice is al dente. The coconut creates a harmony with the rice. It’s possibly the best rice dish you’ll ever eat. There’s a lunch buffet daily from 11:30 to 3:00. A copper basin of water has floating lotus flowers in the waiting area.



Posted By:  Stuart Kurtz
Photo:  Stuart Kurtz

Rod Dee
When you have the itch for good some Massamam curry but don't have the nerve to visit the ATM. Rod Dee Thai serves up some of the best Pad See You and Tom Yum Noodle Soup this side of Bangkok City. It's a humble storefront with too few tables when the rush times come. But you're here for the grub, right? You can get rice or curry plates with your choice of meat, poultry, seafood, or tofu for $6.30 to $6.95. House curry plates go from $9.50 to $11.45. I guess you're paying for the house affiliation. You've got your red curry, your green, your yellow, Massamam, Panang, and Choo Chee curry. If your taste buds can take burning hot stuff, try the green papaya salad with dried shrimp and peanuts in lime juice. Snatch the napkins for this one. The Drunken Squid is done on the rubbery side. It's delicious but tough to chew. For something special, hope Crispy Pad Thai is on the specials board. It's Pad Thai with a twist. And don't stint on the sweet and sour sauce. It's the perfect condiment.



Posted By:  Andrew Palmacci
Photo:  Andrew Palmacci

Boca Grande
What with the abundance of taquerias in the greater Boston area, you might feel a bit skeptical that any place could surprise your taste buds. Hold on folks—head to the Brookline branch of Boca Grande in Coolidge Corner. Besides being convenient to the Corner and offering a view of Beacon Street for those who sit facing the fish-bowl windows, this Boca Grande—like the other locations—has an extensive menu that will always give you something new to try, not unremarkable among the taqueria crowd. Try the tamales—corn husks filled with meal and mixed with fillings, the vegetable cheese version being quite good. There’s also a new mixed vegetable dish, very fresh—a quality you can count on across their whole menu. If you’re enormously hungry, I would go for a Mexican plate, or better yet an enchilada—they’re served in ceramic griddle plates that get filled out by beans and rice. Ah, yes. And, if you’re into southwestern or desert scenery, they’ve got a pretty tall cactus to get you feeling warm. Want culture with your carnitas? Look, a portrait of Frida Kahlo by the window. Delights, indeed, for all.



Posted By:  Stuart Kurtz
Photo:  Stuart Kurtz

Crossroads Trade
The philosophy of the store, according to the owner, is commendable. Kate Harris explains that it is a fair trade store oriented to preserve the traditions of ethnic art. And the arts they carry are of the highest quality. She doesn’t call them crafts. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot. The range is 85 cents to $5600. Kate says they seek out the uncommon, things not found in other such stores. Activists, you’ll be happy to know she buys from refugee camps and communities. Look for Inuit work from Canada, textiles from Peru and Bolivia, and Panamanian textiles called Molas. Combine your need to help people with your love of the environment. There are chickens made from recycled plastic bags, baskets made of unwoven potato sacks, stuff out of gourds, oil drums, telephone wire, and “the world’s best baskets” straight out of Panama from palm fronds. The proceeds go directly to the artisans, not to the middlemen. I think I’ve seen the future.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo: 

Cause to Paws
Do you like dressing your dogs in outfits? Do you like looking at dogs that are dressed nicer than you are? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you need to check out Cause to Paws. The place is packed with dog outfits and toys. For you cat people, they do have a bunch of cat toys that make your local pet store look like a Kmart. They are also known for carrying a wide variety of baked goods for your pup. Both the staff and their dogs are incredibly friendly, and more than courteous when assisting me, a cheap cat owner, while I was looking for some decently priced gifts for a few dog-owning friends.



Posted By:  Andrew Palmacci
Photo:  Andrew Palmacci

If you feel like some quick, authentic, reasonably-priced deli fare, Michael’s Deli is the place to go. Egg sandwiches and lox on great bagels get things started, but oh, there’s so much more! Bulky rolls stuffed with famous corned beef (TV’s the Phantom Gourmet calls it “The Greatest,” according to a sign out front), assorted knishes, and several types of smoked fish are also prime reasons to visit the Coolidge Corner spot. My reason? Smoked salmon spread on a bagel; it’s the best deal for a deli-style breakfast in town at less than five dollars. Throw in premium soft drinks like Dr. Brown’s and San Pellegrino, coffee, and a modest frozen food section, and you’ve got a new joint on your dining list, not to mention one stop shopping for that weekend brunch you’ve been wanting to host at your place.



Posted By:  Andrew Palmacci
Photo:  Andrew Palmacci

O, Matt Murphy’s Pub! How you amaze! Simple exterior, simple, yet classy interior that holds many delights—conversational, culinary, and musical, it’s got the whole package. Want one reason (or seven) to pay a visit to this locale on Harvard Street in Brookline: there is something going on every night of the week. From quiz nights to jazz ensemble nights—complete with a jam session at the tail end of the night that’s open to all—to a dub and deep roots reggae night, MMP has something for everyone. And the food, while not exactly cheap, is exceptional and well worth the price. They offer everything from tasty, gourmet fish and chips to assorted-cheese plates. Maybe the best thing the place has going for it is the atmosphere. The wood tables, dim lighting, close, intimate seating and tiny performance space all make you feel like you’re in a quaint, quiet pub or restaurant in a provincial European city. Walk outside, though, and you can easily grab the 66 Bus or the D line at the Brookline Village T stop. Aah, so maybe you’ll stay a little longer—you can, as they don’t close until upwards of 1:30 a.m.



Posted By:  Andrew Palmacci
Photo:  Andrew Palmacci

Brookline High
There are some good ones in this city, but if you’re looking for a place that provides cost-effective academic enrichment, Brookline Adult and Community Education really does a bang-up job. To say the BACE has a wide variety of courses is an understatement; their range of class choices is imaginative and numerous. I mean, there’s the type of selections you’d expect from an adult education center—language classes, test prep, and liberal arts offerings—but BACE goes further. Some examples: Just For Laughs (The Art of Stand-Up Comedy), Writing for Magazines, The Boxer’s Workout, Sea Kayaking, and Cooking Moroccan. Add in a comprehensive English as a Second Language program, dark room photography, and a section on investing, as well as one on health and well-being, and you’ve got yourself a formula for spicing up the season. And thankfully, the locations—at Brookline High School and its surroundings—are, for the most part T accessible. Take the Green Line’s D branch to Brookline Hills, and walk a few steps to the first floor of the high school to get to the BACE office. Oh, and there are even some really good speakers throughout the “semester,” including Michael Dukakis!



Posted By:  Andrew Palmacci
Photo:  Andrew Palmacci

Baja Betty's Burritos
Now, when you talk burritos, tex-mex, and wraps, you have quite the smorgasbord of choices in the Boston metro area. Larger chains like Qdoba and homegrown multi-location joints such as Boloco, Anna’s Taqueria, and Boca Grande Taqueria abound. But, if you want something more unique, less cookie-cutter, head down to Brookline Village to the spot-on Baja Betty’s Burritos. Toppings for the “California-Mexican” fare are ever-changing and specialty soups are on tap in-season. Even ice cream is offered, seasonally of course. Stuff is big here—in particular the burritos—but just ask at the counter and you’ll be well-guided to a satisfying choice. Enchiladas are significant and spectacular. For my money, however, the tacos—pretty filling by themselves—are a cool deal. The vegetarian taco, for example, is very tasty and weighs in at just over $3.50. But it’s not just the food that makes going to Betty’s a nourishing experience—the friendly staff, the intimate space, and whimsical wall mural all contribute. So, if you haven’t had a chance to head to Cali or south of the border this year, treat yourself to some good mexi-cali right around the corner from the D line’s Brookline Village stop.



Posted By:  Andrew Palmacci
Photo:  Andrew Palmacci

Stop & Shop
Craving some baked goods? If you’re in the Brookline area, I say try Stop and Shop. That’s right, your friendly neighborhood supermarket. Well, in particular, I’m talking about the one on Harvard Street in Brookline. They have a bakery section which really comes through when you need baked treats or bread for your pantry. We’re talkin’ international-flavored loaves of bread, European-style cookies, fruit-filled Danishes, and muffins. And goodness, what muffins they do have. Upwards of fifteen varieties (can be depleted by the evening, so get there early to grab them), including butterscotch, cinnamon chip, and corn. They also have large black-and-white cookies, ruggulah, and Portuguese-style bread. Large challah rolls make appearances as well. Stop. And shop.



Posted By:  Stuart Kurtz
Photo:  Stuart Kurtz

You know these guys are serious party-makers when you see the windows, now 3 bays long. Their displays are reminiscent of New York’s Fifth Avenue holiday windows, each one is arranged for the season and has a fantasy element to it. This place, in business about 30 years, has everything for the Martha Stewart in you. There are table supplies, centerpieces, grab bags, and those English Snappers that pop when you pull the ends on New Year’s. There are so many piñatas festooned from the ceiling that you’ll want to get a big stick to whack every one. Loose candy comes at a price, but you can watch the fudge making from the window. Special occasion cakes are their specialty. My only complaint is that the store closes at 5:30 on Saturdays. It’s strange, because you’d think people might want to have parties on Saturday and go shopping right before. What’s up with that?



Posted By:  Andrew Palmacci
Photo:  Andrew Palmacci

At present, there is an ever-increasing number of food and beverage joints where you can lounge while you sip or snack. Starbucks, we know about. And even non-chain neighborhood coffee and sandwich shops now welcome patrons who work or study for extended periods while sampling the place in question’s fare. Somewhere in between, in the realm of smaller chain stores is Bruegger’s, one branch of which is located by Coolidge Corner on the corner of Harvard St. The place, always with plenty of table-space, has recently stepped it up with free Wi-Fi for its customers, taking advantage of breakfast and lunch crowds who hanker for in-store real estate to converse and type and e-operate. Now a bit about the food: bagels are plentiful here. They make delicious bagel sandwiches, including one with smoked salmon that is easy to get hooked on. Combine that with coffee and a selection of brownie bars near the checkout area and you see why this place is hard to pass up. So now it’s up to you to grab a seat and take in the Coolidge Corner view or maybe a weekend brunch.



Posted By:  Stuart Kurtz
Photo:  Stuart Kurtz

Baja Betty's Burritos
OK, so the “Best burrito in Boston” honor (Boston Magazine) is growing whiskers. It’s from ’97 (Remember Grunge?). The burritos are just so-so, eight types in all. Ditto the tacos’ quality. The tamales are made elsewhere north of Mexicali. But it’s the sides that earn the place its beans. You have to go on the days when grilled corn is on the menu. White corn reduced on the grill to chewy perfection. Flavor so intense it will have the most hardened ranchero yelling “Bueno!” The horchata is an almost aphrodisiac elixir of milk, rice, and cinnamon that is worth setting aside doubts to sample. In winter try the squash soup, so good that Bon Apetit wrote the owners for the recipe to assuage its readers. There’s more to Mexican than burritos. Oh, and before I forget: It’s one of the few places outside of Inman Square where you can get Christina’s ice cream.



Posted By:  Andrew Palmacci
Photo:  Andrew Palmacci

Pining for that obscure indie/foreign film? Looking for a solid selection of reasonably priced new and pre-viewed DVDs (including special editions)? Have a hankering for that certain type of snack food to complete your at-home movie watching experience? Well, if it’s yes to any of the above for you, head over to Brookline’s Washington Square (accessible by Green Line’s C branch, Washington Square stop), where you’ll find Movieworks. Tucked back from the sidewalk, not only does this place have an exquisite movie rental selection, it also has a variety of DVDs for purchase, including indies, foreign films, children’s movies, and even a section of ones for under ten dollars. And the rental prices kick Blockbuster’s ass, a new release is $4.50 for a SIX-DAY rental! There’s also a great candy/snack display and on occasion the shop does a sidewalk sale, selling mostly pre-viewed DVDs in the parking lot that separates the store from Beacon Street. So, freshen up your movie renting routine or develop your inner cinephile and hit up Movieworks.



Posted By:  Andrew Palmacci
Photo:  Andrew Palmacci

Waldstein Playground
Maybe it’s just because we’re deep into the season, maybe it’s because the U.S. Open has been all over the TV lately, or maybe it’s because of the great weather we’ve been having recently, but it really feels like time to break out the ol’ tennis racquets and head on down to the courts. If this jives with what you’ve been feeling and you’re anywhere near Cleveland Circle in Brookline, then I have just the destination for you. Waldstein Park, right off Beacon Street near the aforementioned Cleveland Circle is a great, pretty unspoiled greenspace with a grassy field that has a baseball diamond, b-ball courts, a playground, and tennis courts. These hardcourts are around eight in number and are in decent condition, not that I’m complaining, as they really are in good shape and it costs zilch to play on them. What’s more, you can usually park in the adjoining quiet streets near the courts or just take the Green Line’s D branch to Beaconsfield, walk up the steps to the street and walk across the field to the nets. And, if you check the sign on the fence by the main entrance to the tennis area, you can find info about the lessons/matches held by the Brookline Recreation Department. So, grab some Penns, your racquet, a wristband or two and get to net!



Posted By:  Andrew Palmacci
Photo:  Andrew Palmacci

I love this place! This place: the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Kind of like a certain Lebowski—to whom a night is now dedicated yearly there—said, it really pulls the neighborhood together. I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend a morning, noon, or night checking out a flick. And what with the many indie, foreign, and just plain solid movies playing, you’re assured of an edifying trip to the cinema. The Coolidge offers morning movies for children and parents, themed nights (for example science-related films with guest speakers), and classic pictures. Not to mention the fact that the theatre’s outside, and really Coolidge Corner, is graced by a marquee marquee, where the ever-changing offerings are displayed in black block lettering. The inside, for its part, is classic art deco and the main, restored movie hall is beautiful. There are also the famous midnight movies on Friday and Saturday, when, at the aforementioned time, usually a good-sized crowd gathers for retro and cult films—so if you go, get there early! You’re sure, if you go to the Coolidge Corner Theatre, to find your own favorite thing about the place, so check the listings and head over. Enjoy the talkies!



Posted By:  Andrew Palmacci
Photo:  Andrew Palmacci

In the modest gastronomical hotspot that is the intersection of Washington and Cypress streets in Brookline, Virginia’s stands out for those looking for a sandwich or coffee and who are not quite in Brookline Village and yet have not yet hit Coolidge Corner. Wherever you may be coming from or going to, Virginia’s delivers fine—as the place’s full name, Virginia’s Fine Foods, indicates—sandwiches, baked goods, and coffees at do-able prices. To get more in detail, the sandwiches can be prepared on any of the breads available on a given day, ranging from a baguette to a sesame or olive loaf. For me, the breads—baked by Clear Flour Bakery—really set the sandwiches apart. Throw in a selection of baked treats in a display case, some window seating, and attentive service and you a have a lunch-time standby. So, if you’re walking from the D line’s Brookline Hills stop or passing by on your way to Coolidge Corner and hungry, you may want to check this gem out.




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Restaurants (31)
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