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Bursting the BC Bubble: Allston

Itching to get off campus? Sick of always going to Cleveland Circle? Does downtown Boston feel like too far of a trek? Let me introduce you to your new favorite neighborhood (besides Chestnut Hill, of course): Allston.

While Allston has a less than glamorous reputation, I’ll be the first to say that it is the absolute best place to get away when you need a quick fix to perpetual campus life. The central hub of all things Allston is arguably Harvard Ave., which is a convenient 20 minute ride down the B-line. Allston has a unique blend of food, shopping, and nightlife that I haven’t seen anywhere else in Boston. I guess you could call it the Williamsburg of this town: yes there are hipsters, yes it is awesome. Here are some why reasons you should check out “Allston Rock City”:

Buffalo Exchange (180 Harvard Ave.):

If Newbury feels too far, not to fear: Buff’s here. Buffalo Exchange is one of my favorite places to shop, hands down. When I discovered the existence of this shopaholic’s mecca in the vicinity of campus I fell in love. Buffalo Exchange is essentially a trendy thrift store, meaning that they don’t sell all the merchandise that it given. Not only can you find some cheap, amazing secondhand finds that are in style and in season, you can sell your clothes for either 35% of the item’s selling price in cash or 50% store credit. However, proceed with caution: Buffalo is very particular when it comes to what they will chose to buy from your stash, so make sure clothes are clean and in good condition if you’re trying to sell.


Orchard Skate Shop (156 Harvard Ave.):

Another one of my favorite spots. Orchard is a local skate shop that recently opened up a second location on Newbury, but the original Allston location still remains the favorite among local skaters. Orchard offers a wide selection of skate shoes and streetwear, from Vans to Converse Huf, as well as all your skating needs. Decks, wheels, trucks, griptape, you name it, they’ve got it. Not to mention a pretty sweet indoor halfpipe. You heard me, a halfpipe.


Kung Fu Tea (131 Harvard Ave.):

Once upon a time, there was a bubble tea spot in Cleveland Circle. It filled my freshman year with joy. And then Fruitee Yogurt robbed me of that happiness (no offense, but do we really need two fro-yo places?). However, I was pleased to find another dope bubble tea place (or boba for you west-coasters) to fill the void, Kung Fu Tea. If you’ve never had bubble tea, I suggest you give this place a shot. Kung Fu has a seemingly endless array of milk and flavored teas, hot or cold, that you can enjoy either with or without the tapioca “bubbles” at the bottom of the cup. I recommend a iced green tea passion fruit combo, with bubbles of course.

Great Scott (1222 Comm Ave.):

Looking to find the next Kings of Leon before they make it to the big time? The Great Scott is the place to go. This relatively intimate venue offers a chill vibe with an eclectic array of musical acts. Earlier in the week you can head down there to catch the seriously unknown acts for reasonable cover charges, while the weekend is reserved for better-known artists. The most popular event is Friday’s “The Pill”, an indie dance function that hosts different musicians each week. Events range from 18+ to 21+, so be sure to check out their event calendar before catching a gig. (


Sunset Grill & Tap (130 Brighton Ave.):

A serious beer lover’s paradise. Sunset Grill & Tap houses beer from all over the world, and I mean aaaaalllllllll over. With 380 bottle brands and 112 on tap, if you can’t find your brew of choice here I don’t know where you will. And if you’re not of age, try Boston’s award winning steam beer burger and famous curly fries. You won’t regret it.

Shabu-Zen (80 Brighton Avenue):

A totally different way of experiencing Japanese cuisine, Shabu-Zen is one of the most unique and inexpensive restaurants in Allston. Think of it as a DIY meal: you get a pot of warm, delicious broth, thinly sliced meat, and fresh veggies, mix ‘em all together and you have one of the best meals you can ask for. Throw in some traditional plum wine and leave a happy camper.

Sheesha Lounge (417 Cambridge St.):

Of all the hookah lounges in all of Allston, Sheesha is the best of the best. There are 40 different hookah flavors to try out, and while there is no alcohol served, there is an excellent menu of middle-eastern cuisine and teas. The ambiance is extremely relaxing and cozy and the staff never disappoints.

Soul Fire (182 Harvard Ave.):

These guys take their BBQ game seriously. Soul Fire is an all around traditional barbecue joint that offers up the best ribs money can buy with expertly crafted dry rubs and sauces. They offer a vegetarian menu as well, so herbivores need not worry. I mean, life doesn’t get much better than with a bowl of fried mac and cheese in front of you, am I right?


If you’re a huge Aerosmith fan then you’ll be happy to know that the band wrote their first song right on 1325 Commonwealth Ave., Apt 41. The band even got together last year and played a set in front of their former home. Here’s to hoping history will repeat itself.

Featured Image via Tumblr.