The People

A Detailed Look at the Improper Bostonian's 9 of the Best Bars in Boston

One of the best things about living in Boston (arguably the best thing) is how full of life it is.  You could spend an entire month exploring the city and still miss some if it's best attractions.  So, as some of the most experienced real estate agents in Boston, we've made it a priority to acquaint ourselves with the city in every way, which hasn't been too difficult since our agents live, work and play in the neighborhoods they work in.  Whether it's a question about luxury condos for sale in Back Bay, the best Italian restaurant in the North End, pet friendly buildings in Fenway, or what Bostonians can expect from the massive amount of development in The Seaport, we have all kinds of answers.  But while our agents love exploring the city and gathering information for clients (a job perk for sure), we also like to consider the opinions of others around town.  So, we partnered with our friend Jessica Kane to get the details on The Improper Bostonian's list of the 9 Best Bars and Clubs in Boston.  Here's what Jessica had to say:

The Improper Bostonian, a lively, alternative newspaper serving the community, likes to develop lists of the best. An important "best list" from The Improper Bostonian addresses bars, taverns, and nightclubs in Boston.

If you are planning a trip to Boston, or if you live in or near the city and want to learn more about nightlife in your community, there are nine establishments that made the longer "best list" that are well worth a look.

Best Beer Bar: The Publick House

Although beer bars have been popping up in Boston at a rapid pace in recent years, The Publick House has been and remains ahead of the ever growing pack. The Publick House is described as the "sultan of suds" by The Improper Bostonian. 

The Publick House features over 30 styles of beer, served in over 80 bottles. In addition, the establishment offers its patrons an ever rotating selection of brew on tap. 

Best Cozy Bar: Anchovies

Anchovies is recognized as the best cozy bar in Boston. Anchovies is a dimly lit joint, that comes complete with a dark wood bar. It is a neighborhood tavern, that includes nick-knacks about the place, and bartenders who are generous in their pours.

Anchovies is a friendly spot, a pub that serves a large cast of regulars. In addition, Anchovies serves a full menu of delectable, authentic Italian food until 1:30 a.m. 

Best Dance Club: Royale

When it comes to Boston dance clubs, Royale is a survivor. Dance clubs in the city, indeed across the country, come and go in a flash. Royale is now in its seventh year, and no other venue has come close to taking the perch as the best away from this venue.

Royale is located in the Boston Theatre District and packs crowds in each and every weekend. Royale features a wide array of marquee DJs and EDM stars. In addition, the venue is outfitted with a tremendous light and sound system. Royale is also home to some great live concerts each year, thanks to its partnership with Bowery Presents. 

Best Dive Bar: Drinking Fountain

Who doesn't like a fun dive bar? And Boston has more than a few. With that said, Drinking Fountain is the best dive bar in town.

Drinking Fountain has been able to withstand the trend towards gentrification that has been sweeping the city in the past couple of decades. In addition, Drinking Fountain offers some of the most affordably priced drinks to be found anywhere in Boston.

Best Date Bar: The Gallows

Despite the establishment's name, The Gallows is regarded as the best date bar in Boston. The Gallows is a lively, vibrant South End gastropub. In addition to reasonably priced adult beverages, the establishment offers a nice selection of small plates. It is a perfect place for comfortable conversation, even well suited to that all important first date.

Best Gay Bar: Club Café 

In business for 30-plus years, Club Café remains the best gay bar in Boston. People still line up down the block to get in. This remains the case even as gay bars shutter as LGBT patrons venture towards partying in "mainline" establishments. 

Club Café offers the best cabaret stage in town. In addition, there is a lively dancefloor located at the rear of the establishment. 

Best Hotel Bar: Hojoko

If you are visiting Boston, or if you are a resident that wants to try out something not normally seen in a hotel bar, Hojoko is the place to go. The establishment is located in the trendy Verb Hotel.

The establishment features a vibrant décor not normally associated with a hotel lobby bar. The colorful décor provides a marvelous backdrop for the best sake selections found anywhere in Boston. Midnight snacks of ramen are served daily. On a seasonal basis, beverages from Hojoko can be enjoyed poolside.

Best Irish Pub: The Field

What would Boston be without its wonderful Irish pubs? There are plenty of them. And, The Field is considered the best.

The cash-only pub offers patrons pints of Guinness, pool, and darts. Keep in mind that The Field is not located in Southie, but in the Cambridge area (not necessarily where you'd expect to find the best Irish Pub). Because of its location, The Field attracts a truly eclectic array of patrons, people from all walks of life and a myriad of backgrounds. It is a truly friendly gathering place.

Best Jazz Club: Wally's Café

Wally's Café tops the list as the best jazz joint in Boston. Wally's Café, in its 70th year, is a Boston institution. 

The establishment has featured nightly jazz performances by veteran musicians and up-and-coming performers. There are early evening sessions at Wally's Café, followed by scheduled performers.

Jessica Kane writes for TIPS Alcohol Training, offering TIPS responsible alcohol service training online for both on and off premise needs.  

The Charles Realty has had its finger on the pulse of Boston real estate for 34 years.  Our agents have unparalleled knowledge of the city and it’s neighborhoods, and oftentimes have access to information not yet made public.  For questions about homes for sale in Boston, or if you're looking for the most dedicated seller's agents in Boston, please contact us.  

 

What Millennials Are Looking for in Boston Real Estate

For years Boston has attracted Millennials with it's abundance of highly ranked colleges and universities, and it has retained them with a thriving job market and renowned cultural appeal.  Real Estate in Back Bay, The South End, Beacon Hill, Downtown, The Seaport, Dorchester and South Boston is particularly attractive to Millennials, because homes here offer a social and convenient lifestyle not found outside the city.  Therefore it's important for the sellers of homes in these neighborhoods, and also for builders looking for land to develop residential buildings, to understand the preferences this target demographic.  Our friends at Sky Five Properties put some research together that we thought would help give some insight into this growing population of home buyers.  To help us understand what Millennials are looking for in Boston Homes.  

What Millennials are Looking for in Boston Homes

Millennials are spreading their wings and finding their way in this big, big world and doing so in a way that truly affects the local real estate market. Part of that is moving out of their parents’ house and into a space of their own. And although they are known to spend their money on experiences, adventure, travel, good food, and fun, they all need a place to rest their heads at night. Boston is a popular city for millennials for obvious reasons; the culture, a thriving job market, the art, the food, the big city feel, the public transportation, the coffee shops and sidewalk boutiques and access to one of the most sought after universities in the country. When moving to Boston, millennials are looking for a few key things in a home or apartment that are non-negotiable. When it comes to real estate, there are a few things your home needs to have in order to attract these tech-savvy, environmentally conscious, global-minded, entrepreneurial, social media addicted go-getters. 

The ability to connect- For most millennials, staying connected is a priority. They usually have a multitude of different devices plugged in at one time, and having them charged and ready to use at any moment is important. Built in office spaces, conveniently placed outlets, and other features that allow them to plug in quickly and easily are important for this generation of homebuyers. They’ll ask questions about Internet and cell service in the area, so make sure you have the answers for that. 

The option for fitness-  Millennials tend to be a more health conscious generation than those before them. Health and fitness are important to them, so a place to work out is a definite plus when looking for a home. An exercise space in the home is usually a perk, but being close to a local gym, running path or hiking trail can also peak a millennials interest.

A place to eat-  Millennials are brave and open-minded when it comes to trying new foods. They appreciate a diverse range of foods and are more likely to spend their money on a cool new local restaurant than a typical fast food chain. And because they love food, they need a place to cook it in. A modern kitchen is a must for this generation. Contemporary appliances, stylish décor and a place that feels comfortable and spacious is a must. The kitchen has become a popular place for hang-outs and get-togethers, so this room of the house needs to be updated, open, stylish and convenient to really wow them.

An outdoor space- Whether it is a small patio that they’ll convert into a Zen place to do yoga or a large backyard where they will grow their own vegetables, millennials appreciate a private place outside to get some fresh air. They appreciate a balcony, a patio or an intimate front porch that they can unwind on after a busy day. It’s not about the size of the space for millennials, it’s about the opportunity to get outside to recharge and relax, sip some good wine with friends, read a good book, write, check emails or hang out in a hammock. 

Because they typically enjoy travel and put value in experiences over material things, many millennials rent a home or condo before they buy, (more about that here). The idea of spending a lot of money or time in one place may not fit with their lifestyle, so renting gives them a little more freedom in that department.

Say what you will about millennials, but one thing is certain: Millennials moving to Boston for their first adventure on their own have a specific set of requirements that must be met before they will commit to buying a home. By making a few of these changes, your home could become the dream home for enthusiastic, energy efficient, progressive, nomadic, multi-taskers who are taking their next big step in life. 

For more information about the Boston real estate market, contact one of our experts, 617-236-0353.

 

Backyard Improvement Ideas

Sunny days and nice weather are ahead of us this summer making it the ideal time to make backyard improvements. Creating the right features in a backyard make it the ideal close escape. Here are some ideas that will make any backyard pop:

Lighting- The right outdoor lighting helps with late night relaxing and prevents people from tripping or running into objects in the dark. Both electrical lighting and torch/lantern lighting will make a backyard more inviting.

Digital Vision/Thinkstock

Outdoor Fireplace/Firepit- Cheap and easy to make, fireplaces and pits are great places to gather with friends and loved ones. This project can be as easy as digging a pit and filling it with some stones to hiring a contractor to make a big project out of this. Fireplaces and pits are good gathering spots to roast some marshmallows with the kids or have some drinks with friends.

Digital Vision/Thinkstock

Create Your Own Beach- With enough sand you can create your very own beach in your backyard.

Digital Vision/Thinkstock

Sources: Top 10 Ideas for Outdoor Living Spaces 25 Ways to Create an Outdoor Oasis

Boston's Best Parks for Lunch Breaks

Now that the weather is becoming more seasonable, it is the perfect time to get outside and explore Boston's finest parks. With over 2,600 acres of park land throughout the city, Boston offers a wide range of parks. Here are some to check out.

Public Garden (Beacon Hill/Back Bay)

photo via beaconhilllivingsir.com

One of Boston's most notable parks is one of America's first public botanical gardens. With a Victorian era feel, there are memorials, sculptures, and the famous George Washington statue. Flowers and trees throughout this area beautifies the park even more and during the warmer months swan boat rides are offered to give a close up view of the lagoon.

Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park (Waterfront)

photo via beaconhilllivingsir.com

One of the best places to enjoy a picnic while watching boats in Boston Harbor, Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park also features the Memorial Rose Garden trellis. This park is perfect for people of all ages and is located near the Aquarium and North End.

Norman B. Leventhal Park at Post Office Square (Downtown)

photo via beaconhilllivingsir.com

With 1.7 acres of land between buildings in Downtown Boston, this park is a hot spot for people working in the area. With a sculptural fountain and a long trellis, there is plenty of scenery in an unexpected spot. Lawn cushions are provided for seating on the lawn during the day, and live music is provided variously. This park will make you forget that you're in the middle of the city with its beauty.

Cassidy Playground/Chestnut Hill Reservation (Brighton)

photo via beaconhilllivingsir.com

Boasting both recreation and beauty, this park is adjacent to the reservoir and its 1.6 mile path perfect for walks, runs, and dogs. The park also has one baseball field, two softball fields, and two tennis courts among the large grass covered park.

Piers Park (East Boston)

photo via beaconhilllivingsir.com

Over in East Boston, where fewer businesses are located is the 6.5 acre Piers Park. This park features a playground, mini amphitheater, and a 600 foot pedestrian promenade with views of downtown Boston. Although no ball throwing is allowed, this is one of the best picnic spots in Boston.

Boston's Off-Campus Apartment Market

Recent news stories have brought the off-campus apartment market into the limelight, highlighting that over recent years students have been exposed to the dangers caused by the housing shortage. With universities in Boston accepting more and more students every year, housing both on and off campus cannot keep up.

As a result of less off-campus housing inventory, college students have begun to make sacrifices. Students are now living in small, cheap, and run-down apartments to save money as financial pressures continue to grow on students. Bedbugs, rodents, and additional hazards have become more common news stories due to the state of some off-campus apartments.

With high demand and low inventory, landlords no longer have to compete to find customers and don't feel the same pressures to update their properties. In an editorial by the Boston Globe titled 'Student Apartments Expose Ravages of Housing Shortages,' it was said "As housing units come up for sale, deep-pocketed landlords whose business models involve skimping on maintenance, and packing in tenants beyond what the law allows, can easily outbid individual families or more conscientious investors." Over the last few months it has becoming increasingly difficult to go without seeing a story in the news about an apartment fire, hazardous apartment conditions, and overcrowding because of what's going on in the off-campus apartment market.

So, what is needed when moving forward?

-          City inspectors will need to step up more than before. More visits are needed to apartments and tickets will be given for safety code violations.

-          Universities should help guide students and their families in the direction of safe off-campus housing. Some universities already do a good job at this.

-          More housing. This won't happen overnight, but more housing is needed in Boston to keep up with the demand.

-          Use a rental agent. The Charles Realty's rental agents went to schools in the Boston area and know the off-campus apartment market. They can guide students to the right landlord and safe housing.

Sources: Student apartments expose ravages of housing shortage A House Jammed with Students, a Life of Promise Lost Overcrowded and at Risk: A Way of Life and, Sometimes, Death for Student Tenants A Devastating Mismatch: City vs. Scofflaw Landlords

What to Know When Moving to an Apartment

Costs

- What's your monthly budget? - What utilities are/aren't included? - What's the security deposit? - Does the landlord need first month's rent/last month's rent? - Is there a penalty for terminating the lease early?

General

- How long is the lease? - Make a good impression with the landlord. - Avoid the cheapest place available. There will likely be future problems with the place. - How easy is it to get to work/school.

Neighborhood

- Is there a lot of outside noise? - When's trash day? - Where's the nearest market, pharmacy, etc.? - What's the parking situation? - Nearby T/bus stops?

Maintenance

- Inspect the apartment before signing a contract. - Take photos of the apartment before moving in and save them until the move out date. - Figure out maintenance responsibilities between the landlord and the renter. - What tools/supplies might be needed?

How to Make Your Home More Green

photo via realtor.com

Global warming and the damages we are making on our environment have been a major concern the last few decades. These concerns have resulted in the creation of energy efficient appliances and products to help save energy costs and our environment. Along with the costs that can be saved when making a home energy efficient, people can now take advantage of tax incentives. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, federal tax incentives are now available. Updating a home with window insulation and heating/air-conditioning upgrades can all be classified as tax incentives. Here are some ways to make your home more green:

-          Watch the house temperature -          Replace the water heater tank with a tankless one -          Check house insulation -          Energy-efficient appliances -          Energy-efficient windows -          Low-flow plumbing fixtures -          Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs -          Unplug unused electric appliances (Electronics can consume almost as much energy when in standby mode) -          Use 100% post-consumer recycled paper for toilet paper, paper towels, etc. -          Install bamboo floors rather than hardwood. -          Use zero or low-VOC paint -          Use compost rather than synthetic fertilizers for your garden

For more ways to make your home more green or any questions, please get in touch with us by commenting on our Facebook!

Sources: The 10 easiest ways to green your home Top 10 Ways to Make Your New Home Green 25 Ways to Create a Green and Healthy Home 9 Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

What to Look for in a Neighborhood

Buying a home requires a thorough evaluation of the house itself, and the surrounding environment. The surrounding environment, or neighborhood is a major part of the investment made when buying a home. Buying a home in an up-and-coming neighborhood is one of the best investments one can make. Investing in an area that is on the rise rather than an area that is already thriving will give a bigger return on investment.

When searching for a home there are many variables to take into account when looking into the neighborhood from the school systems to the crime rate. Here are some things to look for when research a neighborhood:

  • Taxes and location based expenses: People often forget about expenses separate from the price of buying the home. Be sure to check the property taxes, any association fees, and any other expenses that may arise.
  • Area rules and laws: Every association and town has different rules and laws that should be brushed up on.
  • Crime rate: There are numerous websites allowing people to view crime rate statistics in a zip code. Look up the crime rate of the areas you currently live in compared to the places you are looking to move and see how they stack up.
  • Schools: School systems are a crucial element in the home buying process. See if the area has preschool to high school public and/or private schools. Schools aren't only important for families, having a good school system will help with the resale of the house.
  • Amenities: Amenities including, shopping centers, grocery stores, and so on might be areas you need to travel to often, so how far do you want to travel to get to these places?
  • Commute: How long will it take to travel to work? How long will it take to travel to see relatives? Use an online mapping website to see how long the commute will be to the places you need to travel to regularly.
  • Sights, sounds, and smells: When at the house see how loud the environment is. Is there traffic? Does it get louder at night? Also study what sights you'll have from each area of the house. Lastly check the smell of the area, does a local store have scents that travel to the house?

Remember even if some of these variables don't impact you, always think about the future. Someday you'll sell your house and things such as, the amenities and school system may be more important to someone looking to buy the house from you. Overall remember a house is an investment, so do research and plan for the future.

For any questions or comments, please comment on our Facebook.

Sources: Top 10 Things to Look for to Find Your Dream Neighborhood 5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Neighborhood How to Choose a Neighborhood

101 Beacon Street

Now it's Your Turn to Make History with This Enchanting Gem

This grand and beloved lady comes to the market for the first time in over 60 years. Circa 1862, 101 Beacon was built for the notable Arthor Lithgow Devens of Boston. Over the year this gracious Victorian has been home to such notables as: William Mountford, Percival Lowell Everett, and Augustus Thorndike. In 1959 the home was converted into nine residential units by prominent architect Saul Moffie allowing the top floors of the home to take full advantage of sweeping views of The Charles River.

Location! Location! 101 Beacon is the last building on Beacon Street before the Boston Public Garden. Such prominence in location is not surpassed in Boston. Its rare setting allows river views from the front and southern exposure in the rear.

The third floor of the home features direct elevator access to the former mansion grand library. Boasting the original detail of this opulent residence, the floor through one bedroom is highlighted by mahogany wainscoting, decadent fireplace, antique sconces, and dramatic bay windows.

Floors four through seven have direct elevator access into the spacious, floor-through, two bedroom, two bath residences.

With 10,575 square footage, 101 Beacon is listed at $5,995,000. For more photos and information please visit 101Beacon.com.

Open Houses:

4/24 3:00-6:00

4/25 11:00-1:00

4/27 12:00-2:00

This Week's Featured Neighborhood: Downtown

Boston's Center for Business and Government

photo via city-data.com

Not only is Downtown Boston the center for most business and government, but it is also home to some of Boston's most notable parks. At the edge of Downtown, Boston Common and the Public Garden stand out as Boston's most visited parks. Downtown is also one of Boston's top shopping neighborhoods, offering large department stores and boutique shops. One of the country's most visited landmarks, Faneuil Hall, is the center of shopping and dining in Downtown as one of the country's most visited landmarks.

Downtown Boston is a growing neighborhood with two innovative plans that will further improve this area. The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway will bring twenty-seven acres of green space and Crossroads will bring a new set of street standards though the neighborhood, reuniting the surrounding neighborhoods to Boston Harbor.

Some restaurants include: Bistro du Midi (French): 272 Boylston Street Ruth's Chris Steak House (Steak): 45 School Street Union Oyster House (Seafood): 41 Union Street O Ya (Japanese): 9 East Street

Some shopping stores include: Newbury Comics: Faneuil Hall Boston Harley Davidson: Faneuil Hall Macy's: 450 Washington Street

Some bars & pubs include: Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale: 48 Temple Place Grill 23 & Bar: 161 Berkeley Street

Be sure to let us know your favorite spots in Downtown Boston by commenting on our Facebook! For more information on Downtown Boston, feel free to message our Rental Agents directly at our new rentals Facebook page, Charles Rentals.

For Downtown Boston listings please visit our website http://www.thecharlesrealty.com/.

Sources: Cityofboston.gov