Somerville is one of the most creative communities around, so you know the A&E Scout’s Honored winners each year are among the most talented people anywhere. Read on to learn about our readers’ 2016 choices for best venue, visual artist and more.
Arts & Entertainment
THE CENTER FOR ARTS AT THE ARMORY
ARTSATTHEARMORY.ORG | (617) 718-2191
Odds are that if you live in Somerville, you’ve ended up at the Armory for one reason or another. This iconic landmark hosts just about everything, from yoga classes to support groups to art shows to concerts. They even have summer camps for younger Somerville residents. With an enormous arts calendar and a function hall that’s available to rent, you can always find a reason to celebrate at the Armory.
THE SOMERVILLE JOURNAL
Longtime journal staffers Danielle McLean and Dan Atkinson both departed from the paper this year, but their legacy of community-minded journalism is being upheld by new editor Erin Tiernan. “Despite recent turnover here at the Journal, our goal remains the same: to deliver up-to-date, in-depth news to you, our readers,” Tiernan wrote in July. We’re happy to report that they’re doing just that.
SALLYOBRIENSBAR.COM | (617) 666-3589
Sally O’Brien’s is a great spot to grab a drink and a bite to eat in Union Square, but it’s also the best place in town to catch local bands and performers. New artists take to the stage almost every night—often with no cover charge, or for just five or ten bucks. Bluegrass, roots rock, Americana and more—the musicians at Sally’s will have you stepping out on the dance floor.
UNIONPRESSPRINTS.COM | (617) 625-1615
Founded in 2010, this letterpress print shop operates out of a former printing building, giving it an old-world factory feel. Need to commission an eye-catching design? Union Press specializes in creating hand-carved imagery for posters, prints, event invitations and more. You’ll often see their charming work on posters for local events, including the Union Square Farmers’ Market.
MUSEUM OF BAD ART
MUSEUMOFBADART.ORG | (781) 444-6757
Not every painting can be pretty, but that doesn’t mean it can’t hang in a gallery. Located in the basement of the Somerville Theater since May 2008, the Museum of Bad Art celebrates some of the worst creations around. Admission is free with a theater ticket purchase, and the gallery is absolutely worth a look—even if you’re cringing from behind your fingers.
He may be better known for his musical career, but Somerville resident and folk artist Dan Blakeslee is also a prolific—and extraordinarily talented—illustrator and designer. His whimsical and often comical concert posters, album covers and book jackets are a delight for the eyes. And while Blakeslee doesn’t drink, he’s also the illustrator behind the art that adorns the famous cans of Alchemy’s much-loved Heady Topper, known among hops fans as “America’s Most Coveted Beer.”
JADEMORAN.COM | (617) 628-3929
Happy 20th anniversary to Jade Moran! Since February 1996, she’s made more than 1,000 custom wedding rings for happy couples in Somerville and other Boston-adjacent towns. But even if you’re not in the market for an engagement ring, her storefront on Highland Avenue is full of gorgeous creations—pearl drop necklaces, gold and ruby rings—that you’ll want to see for yourself.
SHIT-FACEDSHAKESPEARE.COM | (617) 315-8942
Wherefore art thou, Romeo? Doing some shots of vodka at the bar next door, apparently. In April 2015, Somerville first experienced the ingenuity of Shitfaced Shakespeare at the Davis Square Theatre. No two shows are ever the same—a different drunken actor is chosen each night. Shitfaced Shakespeare is perfect for anyone who wants to revisit the Bard’s most famous works with an inebriated twist.
LEONE’S SUB & PIZZA
SUB.LEONESSUBANDPIZZA.COM | (617) 776-2511
One look at that bright neon Leone’s Subs sign and we’re craving a greasy, glorious slice of Sicilian like you wouldn’t believe. For more than 60 years, this Winter Hill institution has been a neighborhood hub, dishing out countless pans of square pies from their Broadway shop—and once, famously delivering a few boxes of pizza to an overjoyed Chris Evans on live television. Is that how Captain America stays so fit? We’re not at liberty to say, but… probably, yes.
PLACE TO SPLURGE
SPOKEWINEBAR.COM | (617) 718-9463
If you’re hoping to treat your partner, impress your parents or just have a classy night on the town to yourself, look no further than Spoke. It’s the perfect place to connect over a glass of wine and inventive small plates. Spoke serves up some of the city’s best food and drink pretension-free— its casual, neighborhood vibe will make you feel right at home.
METRO PEDAL POWER
METROPEDALPOWER.COM | (617) 776-3700
Thanks to Metro Pedal Power, you don’t need a box truck— or even a car—to ship goods throughout the area. And MPP’s commitment to green living goes beyond its shipment methods. Cyclists can deliver weekly farm shares right to your home. This is a community-supported agriculture network that looks to connect farms with local businesses to bring you the freshest and healthiest vegetables around, all while reducing carbon footprints. It’s a win-win for you, for your family and for our community as a whole.
DATE NIGHT SPOT
SOMERVILLETHEATRE.COM | (617) 625-5700
Catching a movie on date night might not sound like a revolutionary idea, but then, the Somerville Theatre isn’t your average movie house. This local landmark has been operating in Davis Square for over a century. In addition to showing the Hollywood blockbusters, the theatre screens classic and independent films and special engagements like September’s 70mm film festival and this the annual Terror Thon.
LATE NIGHT HAUNT
TRINA’S STARLITE LOUNGE
TRINASTARLITELOUNGE.COM | (617) 576-0006
Somerville—and Greater Boston in general—can be sleepy spots for night owls looking for a treat. But head to Inman Square after dark and visit Trina’s Starlite Lounge, where the cozy interior is bustling from open to close. Cap off your night with inventive original cocktails like the Rocking Chair, made with black tea-infused bourbon. Hungry? Trina’s serves dinner until midnight, and their sushi tacos can’t be beat.