Massachusetts business owners express gratitude on Small Business Saturday

Many people look to get their holiday shopping done in the days following Thanksgiving, which feature some big discounts.

People were able to score deals at major retailers on Black Friday, but Small Business Saturday is all about shopping local.

“It’s a wonderful day. People truly do come out and they support. They want to shop. They want to say hello,” said Brooke Garber, owner of Mint Julep in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Garber spent Saturday morning preparing her women’s clothing boutique for a flood of customers. She has been in business for nearly two decades with locations in Cambridge’s Harvard Square and Coolidge Corner in Brookline…

The Travel

You Don’t Want To Miss These Fun Activities In Boston For The Ultimate Christmas Celebration

There are numerous cities in the northeast that vacationers can settle for in December, but none of them matches Boston. The city transforms into a magical paradise with a unique charm that comes alive at Christmas. From huge Christmas trees to ice skating in some of the most impressive rinks to beautiful streets lined with colorful sparkling lights, plus lots of fun adventures, there is a lot to experience in Boston during Christmas. You don’t want to miss these fun activities in Boston for the ultimate Christmas celebration.

Boston Restaurants

Beat Brew Hall in Cambridge’s Harvard Square Has Closed Down (Again)

A Cambridge dining and drinking spot that was reborn earlier this year as a “honky tonk” has shut its doors once again.

According to a source, Beat Brew Hall in Harvard Square is no longer in business, with a Facebook comment from the Brattle Street place confirming it has indeed permanently closed. The restaurant and bar returned in May after being shuttered for approximately two years; it first opened in September of 2018, replacing Beat Brasserie.

It isn’t known why Beat Brew Hall closed, nor is it known what might go into the space, so stay tuned for updates.

The address for the now-closed Beat Brew Hall is 13A Brattle Street, 13A Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138.

The Crimson

Over 100 Protesters Oppose Brazilian Election in Harvard Square, Drawing Counter-Protest

Draped in Brazilian flags and holding signs alleging fraud, more than 100 protesters gathered in Harvard Square Sunday to oppose the results of the Brazilian presidential election.

Leftist leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won the Oct. 30 election with 50.9 percent of the vote, replacing far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, who garnered 49.1 percent after serving one term in office. Protests have erupted across Brazil and the United States, with some Bolsonaro supporters alleging the election was fraudulent and calling on the military to stop the transition of power.

There is no evidence to suggest the election was illegitimate. Brazilian military officials, who helped supervise the election, said they have not found any signs of voter fraud.

Sunday’s protest was organized by Congresso Conservador Brasileiro, a conservative Brazilian group based in Framingham.

The protesters questioned the integrity of electronic voting machines, through which nearly all Brazilian voters cast their ballots.

A group of Harvard students counter-protested Sunday’s demonstration, calling the display an attack on democracy.

João Pinheiro ’23-’24 and Helena Mello Franco ’24, co-presidents of the Harvard Undergraduate Brazilian Association, said the organization did not condone the Bolsonaro supporters’ actions.

“It’s an attack against democratic values — an attack against the electoral system in Brazil,” Pinheiro said.

“We also felt like it was an invasion of our space as well to have these protesters here in the middle of Harvard Square, many times confusing the students at Harvard who could be thinking that these people were affiliated somehow with us,” said Mello Franco, who attended the counter-protest.

Mello Franco described Sunday’s counter-protest, which was not organized by HUBA, as a demonstration in support of democratic institutions.

“The protest was not necessarily pro-Lula,” Mello Franco said. “I think the protest is more accurately described as a protest pro-‘respect electoral results and democratic institutions.’”

Lula, who is set to take office at the start of next year, previously served as president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010. In July 2017, he was convicted on charges of money laundering and corruption and sentenced to nine and a half years in prison. Brazil’s Supreme Court annulled Lula’s sentence in March 2021, and he was released after spending 580 days in prison.

At Sunday’s demonstration, protester Fatima Heath said she was “upset” that someone who was previously imprisoned was elected president of Brazil.

“We don’t want a bad guy,” Heath said. “If the left [has] another good guy, we will respect. We will respect it, because we support the democracy.”

Heath, along with several other protesters at the event, advocated for military intervention in Brazil.

“We want, we call, we need, we ask for our army [to] resolve that,” Heath said.

Pinheiro, HUBA co-president, drew comparisons between Sunday’s protest and attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 US presidential election.

Mello Franco said she hoped Sunday’s demonstrations would shed light on Brazil’s political climate, which she described as “polarizing.”

“I hope that in a way this event also makes people more conscious of how important it is right now to support Brazilian democracy and to leads fights to make sure that democracy is upheld — that the results are upheld,” she said.

Mello Franco also called for compassion toward Brazilian students.

“Try to be as comforting and as compassionate as possible because it’s very tough for us to see something like this happening to our democracy and with us being so far away from it as well,” she said.


Cambridge, Mass., shop offers a taste of Belgium with traditional waffles

At Zinneken’s in Harvard Square, there are sweet options galore.

Cambridge, Mass., shop offers a taste of Belgium with traditional waffles (

NEEDHAM, Mass. —

Zinneken’s specializes in Belgian waffles. Owner Nhon Ma opened the cozy spot in 2011 in Harvard Square, Cambridge, after moving to the United States from Brussels. He grew up in the food business in Belgium and says he satisfied his entrepreneurial spirit by bringing a taste of his home country to Cambridge.

Broadway World

Passim Announces All Star Line Up For 20th Annual BOSTON CELTIC MUSIC FESTIVAL

Four-day event featuring workshops, sessions, dances and over 30 performances in Cambridge and Somerville. 

Passim Announces All Star Line Up For 20th Annual BOSTON CELTIC MUSIC FESTIVAL

Featuring over 60 local Celtic musicians, workshops, and participatory musical sessions and dances, Cambridge-based non-profit Passim will host its 20th annual Boston Celtic Music Festival January 12-15, 2023.

A showcase of music, song and dance from Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton and other Celtic communities, BCMFest will take place at Club Passim, The Sinclair and the First Parish Church in Harvard Square, as well as the Crystal Ballroom at Somerville Theatre in Davis Square. Tickets for all BCMFest performances are on sale now at

“Throughout the years, BCMFest has stood out as one of the greatest celebrations of Celtic music, both within Boston and beyond,” said Summer McCall, marketing and membership manager at Passim, and the festival director. “Now after 20 years of this festival (including two virtual years), the local Celtic community is thriving stronger than ever. This city is full of established legends as well as fresh new players who have been relocating here for the last couple of years, specifically for the scene – like myself in September 2019. It’s my absolute pleasure to ensure that the 20th anniversary of BCMFest celebrates and honors the traditional and innovative sounds and people who make up the ever-expanding Boston Celtic music community.”

The festival kicks off at 7pm on Thursday January 12 at Club Passim with a First Round performance featuring Scottish Fish (Ava Montesi, Caroline Dressler, Giulia Haible, Julia Homa, Maggie Macphail), Matt and Shannon Heaton, and Copley Street (Nathan Gourley and Joey Abarta). Tickets are $25 and $22 for Passim members.

Friday’s activities begin with the Roots & Branches Concert at Club Passim, offering a sample of the innovative, dynamic sounds of Boston’s Celtic music community today including Jenna Moynihan, Katie McNally and Friends and Molly Pinto Madigan. Tickets are $25 and $23 for Passim members.

Also on Friday January 13, BCMFest will host the Boston Urban Ceilidh (pronounced Kay-Lee), instructional and participatory social dances open to all ages and experience levels at 7:30pm at the Crystal Ballroom at Somerville Theatre in Davis Square. The event will include live music and traditional Irish, Cape Breton and Scottish dances. Tickets are $20 for all guests. No experience necessary.

Dayfest will take place on Saturday January 14 and features a full schedule of concerts and activities across three venues. Performances will take place 11am-5:30pm at Club Passim, 12pm-5pm at The Sinclair and include David Healy, Nathan Gourley and Eamon Sefton; Sarah Collins and Jonathan Vocke; Carroll Sisters Trio; Elizabeth and Ben Anderson; Leland Martin and Friends; David McKindley-Ward; Fódhla (Ellery Klein, Nicole Rabata, Bethany Waickman); James Kelly and Ryan Douglas; Casey Murray and Molly Tucker; Kate Gregory and Brendan Hearn; Adam Hendey with Eamon Sefton and Simon Lace; Boston Scottish Fiddle Orchestra; Calum Bell and the Boston Session Community; Maura Shawn Scanlin and Friends; and Loud Weather (Alasdair White, Elias Alexander, Eamon Sefton, Neil Pearlman, Anna Colliton).

During Dayfest, there will also be a series of open sessions at the First Parish Church from 12pm-5pm of varying levels and styles. There will additionally be workshops through the Passim School of Music that will focus on different styles, instruments and techniques used in Celtic performances. Tickets for the entire day of entertainment are $28 for all guests.

A full day of Saturday activities lead up to the Nightcap Finale on Jan 14. The performance will take place at 8pm in the Sinclair and feature the “Boston Celtic All-Stars”, an ensemble of supremely talented women, including ensemble director Katie McNally, Jenna Moynihan, Shannon Heaton, Natasha Sheehy, Bethany Waickman, and Janine Randall, with Irish and Scottish traditional dancers Rebecca McGowan and Christine Morrison.

BCMFest comes to a close on Sunday January 15 at Club Passim with Brunch and Tunes featuring Mrs. Wilberforce (Sean Smith and Kyra Davies) from 10am-2pm. The event does not require tickets.

“This will be a special occasion for BCMFest in many ways,” said Sean Smith, a long-time member of the festival organizing committee. “We’re celebrating 20 years of a grassroots festival that showcases the incredible variety of Celtic music in the Boston area, whether straight from tradition or drawing upon modern influences and styles. Throughout its two decades, BCMFest has featured full-time, professional acts alongside the ‘evenings and weekends’ musicians, and it’s made a point of highlighting how the love for this music is shared among generations. And, as always, the line-up of performers includes fresh new faces among the familiar ones.”

Updates, ticket information, performer bios and other festival details will be available at BCMFest will take place at Club Passim (47 Palmer Street in Cambridge), the Crystal Ballroom at Somerville Theatre (55 Davis Square in Somerville), The Sinclair (52 Church Street in Cambridge), and the First Parish Church (1446 Massachusetts Ave in Cambridge). Tickets for all BCMFest performances are on sale now at

The mission of Passim is to provide truly exceptional and interactive live musical experiences for both performers and audiences, to nurture artists at all stages of their careers, and to build a vibrant music community. Passim does so through its legendary listening venue, music school, artist grants and outreach programs. As a nonprofit since 1994, Passim carries on the heritage of our predecessors-the historic Club 47 (1958-1968) and for-profit Passim (1969-1994). We cultivate a diverse mix of musical traditions, where the emphasis is on the relationship between performers and audience as well as teachers and students. Located in Harvard Square, Passim serves Cambridge and the broader region by featuring local, national and International Artists. Our ultimate goal is to help the performance arts flourish and thereby enrich the lives of members of our community. For a complete schedule, visit

Click Here to Buy Tickets

The Crimson

With Harvard Square Darwin’s Location Set to Close, Workers Gather at Owners’ House

Darwin's workers gathered at Cambridge City Hall Sunday to protest the closure of the coffee shop chain's Harvard Square location.

Darwin’s workers gathered at Cambridge City Hall Sunday to protest the closure of the coffee shop chain’s Harvard Square location. By Brandon L. Kingdollar

By Kate Delval Gonzalez and 

Brandon L. Kingdollar, Crimson Staff Writers

10 hours ago

The popular Boston-area coffee chain Darwin’s Ltd. announced plans to close the store’s original Harvard Square location at the end of the month, prompting some workers to stage a protest at Cambridge City Hall on Sunday denouncing the move.

The Mount Auburn St. location is set to close its doors after 30 years this December, owners Steven and Isabel Darwin announced in an Instagram post on Oct. 26.

Darwin’s United — a union representing the chain’s employees — responded by organizing a protest at City Hall, where workers rallied on Sunday before gathering outside the Darwins’ Cambridge home.

“We have been offered no guarantees of jobs for those who want to stay, no guarantee that workers will have an income going into winter,” the union wrote in a Twitter statement. “We will not back down, we will not take this.”

Mark Spires, general manager of the Harvard Square location, said the lease for the store ends on Dec. 1.

Spires said the decision seemed sudden, adding that Steven Darwin had been planning to lease long-term equipment for the store as of a month ago.

“I think he might not have actually realized until pretty recently that he’s going to make this decision,” Spires said.

The Sunday protest included members of several Boston-area labor organizations, including Harvard’s graduate student union and the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers. Unions representing employees at other area coffee chains, including Starbucks and Pavement, also had members present.

At the rally, union members called on the Darwins to keep workers at the Harvard Square store employed if they wished to stay on and reiterated past demands for $24 per hour wages, three weeks paid time off, and zero-deductible healthcare for employees.

“We know that Steve has long been considering selling the business, but the timing really couldn’t be worse,” said Sam White, a Darwin’s United representative. “We’re telling him to come back to the bargaining table and respond to our proposals.”

A majority of workers at the four Darwin’s locations voted to unionize in September 2021 and began negotiations with management for a new contract for workers. Since then, talks have stalled, according to White. In March, workers at all four locations staged a mid-morning walkout to raise pressure on the owners.

Alexandra C. Stanton, a member of the Harvard Graduate Student Union-United Automobile Workers, said she believed the Harvard Square location’s closure is related to the union’s recent organization efforts.

“Doesn’t really seem like a coincidence to me,” Stanton said. “It’s a tactic to potentially demoralize the workers and frighten them by threatening to take their jobs away.”

Steven Darwin did not respond to a request for comment.

Spires said it was unlikely that all workers at the Harvard Square location would be laid off. Some employees have already begun to search for new jobs, he said.

“I suspect that the last two weeks are going to be severely understaffed,” Spires said.

Jordan Coleman, a member of Darwin’s United, said in a speech at City Hall that ownership needed to show more compassion toward workers.

“Tonight, we’re going to Steve’s house,” Coleman said. “I don’t begrudge him, his house, or pleasant life. It’s just the opposite: compassion demands that we fight so every worker can have the same.”

—Staff writer Kate Delval Gonzalez can be reached at

—Staff writer Brandon L. Kingdollar can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @newskingdollar.


New PETA Virtual Reality Experience Promises Close Encounters at Harvard and MIT

Cambridge, Mass. – In a bid to encourage empathy for animals who are mutilated and killed in university laboratories, next week PETA will have its Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launch of Abduction—a unique virtual reality experience landing on college campuses across the country. In the eerie experience, visitors will enter a mysterious truck and put on a virtual reality headset. They’ll seemingly find themselves stranded in the desert with a couple of fellow humans, abducted by aliens, taken aboard a spaceship, and subjected to a terrifying experience similar to what animals endure in laboratories. They’ll watch as others are subjected to experiments—inspired by real tests done on animals—knowing that they’ll be next.

When:      Monday and Tuesday, October 31 and November 1, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where:    Harvard Square, 48 John F. Kennedy St. (in front of Drayton Hall), Cambridge

When:      Wednesday, November 2, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where:    At the intersection of Harvard and Quincy streets (outside Harvard Yard), parking meters 1239, 1237, and 1235, Cambridge

When:      Thursday and Friday, November 3 and 4, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where:    Hockfield Court, near the intersection of Main and Ames streets, Cambridge

Watch the trailer here. Broadcast-quality footage of the Abduction virtual reality experience is available upon request. Images from the first day of the Harvard Abduction stop will be available Monday. Images from the first day of the MIT Abduction stop will be available Thursday.

At Harvard, experimenter Margaret Livingstone permanently takes newborn monkeys from their devoted mothers. She has condemned some to complete darkness for up to a year by sewing one or both of their eyelids shut—just to see how badly it affects their development. In current studies, staff handling the motherless baby monkeys wear welding masks so the traumatized infants never get to see a face, monkey or human. Today, PETA released this statement: PETA Demands Proof of Human ‘Benefits’ Claimed by Harvard’s Margaret Livingstone

At MIT, experimenters drilled holes into the skulls of rats, implanted electrodes into their brains, and surgically attached head posts to their skulls so that the animals could be held stock-still for tests. The rats were trained to poke their noses into a cone in order to receive positive stimulation via electric pulses delivered through the electrodes and were then given a drug to block their ability to experience pleasure. Other experimenters implanted electrodes into mice’s brains and injected a toxin into one eye of some of the mice, causing them to lose considerable vision in that eye.

“Many students don’t know that on their own college campuses, frightened and confused animals are being tormented, mutilated, and killed in cold, barren laboratories, with no way to escape or even understand what’s happening to them,” says PETA Senior Director Rachelle Owen. “PETA is on a mission to open young people’s eyes to this cruelty, help them understand what it feels like for the animals, and motivate them to join our call for a switch to superior, non-animal research.”

Studies show that 90% of all basic research, most of which involves animals, fails to lead to treatments for humans, which is why PETA is pushing universities to pivot to sophisticated, human-relevant research methods.

Abduction, which was filmed in VR180 with assistance from the virtual reality creation studio Prosper XR, will stop at several other college campuses from coast to coast, including Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Broadcast-quality footage of the Abduction virtual reality experience is available upon request.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.