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    Best of Boston 2011: Harvard Square Winners


    The “Best of Boston” in Harvard Square

    The Harvard Square Business Association is proud to recognize the Harvard Square establishments honored as “Best of Boston” in Boston Magazine’s 38th Annual Issue.  Congratulations to all the winners!

     

    American Repertory Theater – Theater

     

    The A.R.T. has added major buzz to its stages, from Amanda Palmer’s work in Cabaret to a punk musical about Prometheus.  Artistic Director Diane Paulus has displayed the clout to bring in star turns by John Lithgow and Amy Brenneman, as well as the vision to produce the U.S. premiere of robot opera Death and the Powers, written by MIT prof Tod Machover.  This is a theater that keeps your eye on the calendar for what’s coming next.

     

    64 Brattle Street, 617-547-8300

     

    Chez Henri – Best Neighborhood Eats, Harvard Square

    Harvard  Law students flirt with hipster artists at the bar.  Undergrads flirt with their first taste of grilled octopus in the dining room.  Software publicists pitch clients in the bistro’s corner, between gulps from the smartly chosen wine list.  And the best part is that everyone is genuinely, utterly relaxed.  Does Harvard Square get any more real than this?

    One Shepard Street, 617-354-8980

     

    The Comedy Studio – Club- Comedy

    A dim attic in a Chinese restaurant may not shout “big laughs inside” but the Comedy Studio consistently delivers them.  The room’s long communal tables – an audience lubricated with potent scorpion bowls – provide a perfect setting for seasoned pros to test new material, and for up-and-comers to hone their timing.

    At the Hong Kong, 1238 Massachusetts Avenue, 617-661-6507

     

    Forty Winks – Lingerie

    We know they mean well, but we’ve had it up to here with overzealous lingerie consultants treating us like long-lost members of the Ta-Ta Sisterhood.  Enter Forty Winks, a year old Harvard Square spot that knows precisely when to offer help (love those walk-in fittings!) and when to back off.  With a highly browsable stock of Cosabella push-ups, Eberjey swimwear, Spanx body shapers, and other pretty little pieces, this store targets those who celebrate lingerie but don’t need their hands held to choose it.

    56 JFK Street, 617-492-9100

     

    Harvard Book Store – Reading Series

    It’s not exactly a shock that Harvard is able to reel in big names for its reading series.  The pleasant surprise is the sheer variety, from political leaders (Ralph Nader) to literary-world sweethearts (Gary Shteyngart).  Listen to discussions on the environment, the economy, or good old-fashioned plot analysis – and even take part in one yourself, with the book circle or the “Philosophy Cafe”.  Many events are free, and the ones that aren’t seldom cost more than $5.

    1256 Massachusetts Avenue, 617-661-1515

     

    Harvest – Al Fresco Dining

    Like to eat while on display, with the entire passing world gawking at your menu choices?  Pull up a sidewalk seat on Newbury.  Prefer to dine discreetly en plein air, where you can focus on the meal, the company, and the cool breezes?  Settle in at Harvest’s soothing garden retreat, tucked into a hidden nook off Harvard Square.  Kick back among the sun-dappled linden trees and order a plate of chef Mary Dumont’s salmon with green garlic, or the tea-marinated duck with rhubarb.  Then decide which is more restorative:  the food or the setting.

    44 Brattle Street, 617-868-2255