From restaurant chains to the boutiques of Newbury Street, Boston offers a surplus of stores and businesses fit for anyone’s taste. With powerhouses such as Starbucks and NIKE dotting every street corner, many locally owned small-businesses can go unnoticed. In an effort to combat this trend, Business Insider recently compiled a list of over twenty small businesses right here in Boston worthy of exploring. Here’s a summary of our top picks:
1. Bloc 11
Located on Bow Street, this hidden coffee house takes up residency in an old bank. Aside from the awesome décor (such as the original vaults still on display), its real emphasis remains on the coffee, which has all the go-to’s of your regular Starbucks—and more.
2. Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream
Frequently called the best ice cream in the Boston Area, Christina’s offers more than your traditional cone. With flavors such as Champagne and Ginger Molasses, you’ll be sure to leave your “classic vanilla” at home. Better yet, the store is located close by in Cambridge.
3. Coolidge Corner Theatre
This church turned theatre is the perfect place to immerse yourself in Boston culture. The theatre offers an array of films, ranging from independent productions to documentaries, while also hosting film-festivals and midnight screenings. It’s Boston’s only not-for-profit theatre and has remained a vital cultural and historical landmark even today.
4. Union Oyster House
This oyster bar stakes its claim by being the oldest restaurant in America. Located just a block away from Faneuil Hall, this joint houses a little piece of history—along with some legendary oysters. And since you’re in Boston, you might as well do as the Bostonians do (yes, that means eat oysters).
5. Allston Pudding
Unfortunately this website does not have anything to do with pudding, but it does put out some praiseworthy music. The online blog, which highlights local musicians, is completely run by fans and artists. You may not hear these songs on the radio, but the site offers direct downloads to most of their featured artists. Even better, some of the proceeds go straight to local charities.
6. The Comedy Studio
This hidden comedy club is located in the attic of a Chinese restaurant in Cambridge. Hosting pros and amateurs alike, The Comedy Studio provides the perfect outlet for anyone needing a good laugh. If that’s not enough, they are also known for their scorpion bowls…
It is difficult to take a stroll through campus without seeing at least one perfectly monogrammed bag or necklace. CustomMade seems custom made for the Boston College student. The online site allows you to purchase almost anything—from furniture, to clothing and jewelry—and it is all hand made personally for you. Be on the lookout for its mobile app, which allows you to send in a picture of a product you like and it will be made by one of their professionals.
8. Hopster’s Brew & Boards
The recently opened make-your-own brewery offers customers the chance to create their own beer as they enjoy their meal. Customers can choose any of the 30 craft beer recipes, or ask a consultant for flavor advice. The restaurant also partnered up with a local farm to ensure that their ingredients would always be fresh and organic. An environmentally friendly restaurant with good beer? That’s a win-win for us.
9. The Bacon Truck
It’s a food stand that drives around selling all things bacon. And yeah, we didn’t think we would need any more of an explanation.
We could all use a few more places to add to our Boston bucket list. Try checking out these great businesses the next time you explore Bean Town.