Probably best known for Gimbel’s, the staple liquor store for the 21+ crowd at Boston College, Washington Square on Beacon Street is often overlooked by us here in Chestnut Hill. It doesn’t have the convenience of Cleveland Circle or the grand scale of Coolidge Corner, but the square is more than just another suburban intersection.
Located only four stops down on the C-line and chock full of charming restaurants, cafes and bars, Washington Square is the perfect weekend getaway if you’re looking to escape the confines of Lower but would like to keep your travel time to a minimum. Its quaintness makes it the ideal spot for a date, a girls night or a morning spent flying solo with a cup of coffee and a good book.
A nice change of scenery from the usual weekend night out at MA’s or Cityside, The Publick House in Brookline is renowned for its great Belgian food and even better selection of Belgian beers. With a mac n’ cheese dish worthy of Brussels and an extensive menu of draft and bottled brews, this taste of European night life is definitely worth the trip and the extra bucks.
A local gem described as “non-pretentious,” the WST has been impressing the Brookline crowd since 1999, and customers consistently boast of its phenomenal beer and wine selection and friendly atmosphere. With entrees hovering around $20 that are crafted with ingredients from local New England farms, the food is sure to be fresh and eclectic.
Exposed brick walls and an open kitchen make this cozy nook in Brookline a must try. Although they don’t take reservations and the wait is notoriously long on the weekends (for a good reason), the bison bolognese has a reputation for being heavenly and the cocktails top-notch. Try out this place on a weekday to avoid the rush…who said a margarita during the day was unusual?
New England Fireplace
Looking for a romantic night out with a date or friends? Check out the Fireplace, a gourmet upscale favorite that is known for its local ingredients and warm atmosphere. Although a bit on the pricier side, with entrees costing around $25-$35, this place is great for a fancy dress-up night. Fireplace also serves brunch and lunch, and for those who have dietary restrictions, they offer an extensive gluten-free menu.
It may look obnoxious from the outside, but the Golden Temple proves to be a step up from your typical Chinese restaurant. An exotic, highly decorative atmosphere with a wide variety of relatively healthy Chinese and Thai options, this makes for a delicious and casual dinner with a big group of friends or a date to share a scorpion bowl. Word on the street is that the late-night dancing never disappoints, so don’t discount Golden Temple when looking for a place to get down on the weekends.
Emack and Bolio’s
Ice cream, chocolates, smoothies and…ice cream pizza?! A Boston-founded and rock and roll inspired ice cream shop, E&B is only a short walk up the street from the Washington Square T stop. With a selection of over 40 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet, this local favorite is an instant crowd-pleaser and makes for the perfect ending to your night in Washington Square. With options ranging from S’mOreo, Maple Walnut and Cookie Monster, you can’t go wrong with this Beantown favorite.
Athan’s European Bakery
You thought the chocolate croissants from the Rat were good? You ain’t seen nothing yet. If you have yet to check out Athan’s Bakery, you’re missing out on some of the best sweets in Boston. Founded in 1938, this European pastry shop has been the essence of tradition and class in Brookline, not to mention the cause of much drooling and squeals of delight. Whether you want a great latte or are in the mood for gelato, cake, tiramisu, baklava or handcrafted chocolates, let your sweet tooth guide you down to 1621 Beacon Street next time you’re craving sugar.
If you’re sick of Dunkin’ Donuts (it’s possible, trust me) and are looking for a more intimate, local coffee shop experience, hop on the C-line to Café Fixe. With meticulously made coffee and tea, a close-knit space and great outdoor seating, this place is ideal for a fall Sunday morning away from campus.Photos by Anna Petrinec/Gavel Media.