Yes, East Cambridge. Not West. Not Central. Not Harvard or Kendall. What was once a quiet, sleepy neighborhood is now a destination where there's actually enough to see and do to span an entire evening. Who would've thought?! Certainly not us when we moved here about six years ago (unless you count the Cheesecake Factory at the Mall*...or Courtside**...), and it seems more shops are popping up every other month. As a small business ourselves, we love all the creativity we're seeing these days. If you're up for something new, and don't mind testing the limits of the Green Line (you brave soul), or just uber on over, we put together a super walkable evening itinerary of some of our favorite places:
6:00 PM: Atwood's Tavern
Sure, ok, so Atwood's has been around for years (in fact they're celebrating their 10 year anniversary this week -- congrats team Atwood's!), and technically, it's a couple blocks outside of official East Cambridge, but I'm listing it anyway and you can't stop me! Grab a beer after work (over 20 on tap) and unwind on their patio, Cambridge's very own Secret Garden. Come back after 9 pm, and there's live music, and lots of local talent, most nights.
7:30 PM: Kimchi Kitchen
Stop in and grab a dumpling or two. While you're at it, try the Bibimbap. Then, double down with a hot bowl of Soon-dubu jigae. No boozing here, which is good for pacing. This place may seem pretty nondescript from the outside, but it's food is far from that... by far the best Korean food I've had in the city and I couldn't be a bigger fan. Plus, it was started by a mother/daughter duo, which is just the sweetest.
8:30 PM: Loyal Nine
Ok so now that you're full of delicious Korean, and you've got a solid base going, head over to Loyal Nine for a glass or two... or three of vinho verde, and be sure to sit outside on their track-side patio (perfect for people watching). Plus, their raw bar selection is fantastic -- the marinated mussels are my current fave. If it happens to be raining, the restaurant itself is beautiful, and you can spend a long time sitting at the bar drinking Mai Tais. Side note: the cafe and its breakfasty goodness is also a perfect spot to get some work done during the day.
11:00 PM: Lonestar Taco Bar
You'll obviously want to wash all those oysters down with a couple of tacos. Also order yourself the Mexico City Margarita and a bowl of queso dip for good measure. Top it all off with something sweet: mmm flan. The vibe and atmosphere at Lonestar is perfect for a late night. It's a small space with a wrap-around bar, and big windows. Great music, fun people, you'll love it.
And if you happen to be around the next morning, be sure to try Curio -- their coffee and waffles are your hangover cure.
If you end up trying any of these restaurants, let us know what you think in the comments below, or by emailing us directly. Some of these locations are the perfect venue for a celebration, team outing, or customer dinner... just to name a few ideas ;)
*Don't get me wrong, the actual cheesecake is a guilty pleasure of mine.
** Courtside: great for late night karaoke and cheap beers, but usually a mistake.