One seems to hear “I went to college in Boston!” more often than not. The statistic changes depending on who you talk to — a disgruntled professional may whine that one of every two Bostonians is a college student, while outside sources lean toward one of every three — but the adage rings true that Boston is absolutely filled with college students. It’s also filled with a food and drink scene that caters to the people who stayed in the city after school and now make a disposable income. Locally sourced gastronomic delights, cleverly thought-out combinations, and serious wine lists abound in Boston that have been impressing post-graduate locals and visitors alike. Dive bars and cheap eats are great (and one even made this list), but Boston has so much more on offer — I know, because I went to college in Boston, too.
Breakfast: Strolling through the South End of Boston is to see one of Boston’s most design-conscious and boutique-y neighborhoods that has yet to go the tourist-friendly way of Newbury Street. Stop into the laid-back, but highly acclaimed Flour for a breakfast of bright and fresh tarts, brioche au chocolate, or sticky buns with strong coffee to wash it down. Their sandwiches are well worth taking for the road, too. Don’t skip out of the area too soon; there are plenty of unique shops to pop into. (Note: They even have a cookbook!) (Photo courtesy of Flickr/roboppy)
Lunch: One of Boston’s newer boutique hotels, the Ames Hotel, is home to one of its most fun, sleek restaurants that works perfectly for lunch — Woodward. Lunch in Boston can often be one of two extremes: business lunch or cheap café. But Woodward is sitting pretty right in the middle. Their “Business Express Lunch” menu, for example, is a half-dozen oysters, a draft beer, a house martini, and a glass of Champagne. What could be more fun than breaking for midday with that kind of vibe? If you actually need sustenance, they’ve got that too, in the form of clam chowder, duck confit flatbread, and a lobster roll.
Dinner: It has a cool industrial space, a hip South End location, and a sumptuous raw bar menu that’s been impressing diners since before it became all modern and de rigeur. B&G Oysters has it all and it should be your no-questions-asked dinner spot. Oysters, roasted lobster tail, cornmeal-crusted fluke, with local sweet corn on the side are sure to satisfy. Though if you still have a little room left, don’t hesitate to pop over to its sister restaurant, The Butcher Shop (sitting just across the street) for charcuterie, duck liver mousse, and steak tartare.
If you have another night in Boston, make your way to Seiyo for sushi in a sleek, original space. The twist is that it’s also a wine shop. And any bottle they sell in the shop is fair game to be served with your dinner. The rows of bottles make a serene setting for your meal, which consists of super-fresh sushi, including some great vegetarian options.
Drink: That Boston is steeped in history is no secret. And just steps from the Freedom Trail is the 21st Amendment, an homage to our founding fathers in the form of a great, dimly lit neighborhood bar. Prohibition Punch and Nantucket Mojitos are served alongside draft beers and elevated pub snacks (sweet potato fries), should you still be hungry. It’s on a quiet side street in Beacon Hill, so this is best suited to the start (or finish) of an evening. On the other side of town, you’ll find a constant stream of fashionable locals crowding the bar at Eastern Standard. It’s an old school marble bar with red leather stools, it's open late, and serves strong cocktails.
Wild Card: Get messy at the Barking Crab where ordering crab legs comes with buckets, plastic bibs, and drawn butter. You’ll be sitting on a long, wooden communal bench right on the water and tucking into the freshest shellfish in town; you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more fun and authentically New England meal. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Lorianne DiSabato)
On a final note, why not book a room (or at least grab a drink) at the former prison (now chic hangout), Clink at the Liberty Hotel?