Editor's Picks: Davis Square

The multi-spoked intersection of Davis Square bursts with surprises: A down-home barbecue joint, funky vintage boutiques, roaring Irish pubs and a quirky cinema are just a few of its brick-paved charms. The real draw, however, is in the mix of grizzled Somerville regulars, burgeoning young professionals and scads of students--who, instead of clashing like titans, actually create a beautiful, nonstop sense of community, from caffeinated morning to bleary, wee-hour night.

Updated: July 20, 2009

Davis Square Crash Course

Redbones Barbecue

55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

Though Davis Square can be seen as relatively crunchy-granola, Redbones stands as a hot exception. This indulgently raucous barbecue joint wields its meaty reign, throwing ribs, brisket and pulled meats into the mouths of the hungry and willing. An enormous beer list and lower-level bar ("Underbones") render this a staple stopover.

Dave's Fresh Pasta

81 Holland St, Somerville, MA 02144

Freshly made and cut pastas. Chunks of gorgeous Italian meats and cheeses. An assortment of well-picked beer and wine. Local mozzarella and jars of homemade sauces. A made-to-order sandwich station with heaping fillings. Independently owned and community-centric. Sounds like heaven? You're close ... it's Dave's, a one-stop foodie shop, whose provisions have inspired and fed for years.

Somerville Theater

55 Davis Square, Somerville, MA 02144

This stands as one of the strong horses of the neighborhood. It screens films from Hollywood to indie to Bollywood, showcases bands and performers and plays host to events like the Independent Film Festival Boston. And, to gild the lily, the Museum of Bad Art (seriously, it's bad) lies in the basement of the theater, viewable for free with purchase of a movie ticket.


247 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

This dark wooden pub is both a thrilling and cheap way to experience Ireland. Live Irish musicians and dancing occur often, with plenty of hearty grub (shepherd's pie, Guinness beef stew) and perfectly poured drinks to wipe the day's worries away. On weekend brunch, a full Irish breakfast will rouse anyone's constitution with rashers, beans and (editor's favorite) white and black puddings.

Gargoyles On The Square

219 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

Within Davis' mess of cheap, delicious grub (we're not complaining) stands this local bistro with a slightly more upscale perspective. Tattooed, blue-haired chef Jason Santos pulls out all the gastronomic stops for his original interpretations of classic American fare, like crunchy lobster tacos or hoisin-honey-glazed duck confit. Locals have the right idea, grazing with a drink in the bustling bar and lounge.

Kickass Cupcakes

378 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02144

The cupcakes craze has no end in sight, certainly not with Kickass popping out freshly baked nuggets of sugary, cakey goodness. All-natural ingredients (no hydrogenated oils, trans fats, artificial flavors or preservatives) comprise funky flavors like mojito or sticky cinnamon chai pecan. Cupcakes even come in vegan, pet-friendly and (gulp) deep-fried varieties. Go on, sweet thing.


22a College Ave, Somerville, MA 02144

Keep your eyes peeled and mind curious at this curated emporium of ... stuff. Part vintage store, part artsy odds and ends--all endlessly fascinating--this boutique is a finders-keepers hidden gem. Retro posters, old luggage tags, seasoned leather boots, sculptures and bold jewelry all have a home here. A thrill with every visit.

Mr Crepe

51 Davis Square, Somerville, MA 02144

This corner cafe buzzes with activity at any moment of the day, between commuters snagging their morning muffin and coffee, students nursing a fresh smoothie over laptops and friends splitting Nutella crepes come evening. Savory and sweet crepes are first-rate, and we highly recommend snagging a winter-warming Belgian sugar waffle when they're in season. They're absolutely magical.

Namaskar Fine Indian Cuisine

236 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

This is the sleeper Indian food favorite, often eclipsed by the popularity of Diva Indian Bistro a couple doors down--but Namaskar quietly draws regulars through its consistent quality. There's the requisite and delicious lunch buffet all week, and dinner includes the foods of Southern, Western and Northern India, plus Halal and vegetarian offerings. The place will seduce you swiftly.

Diesel Cafe

257 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

If you want to know the character of Davis Square, you need to stop at this cafe with its tough-cute baristas, great coffee, lovely pastries, gritty former garage environs, in-house art gallery and independently minded denizens spilling onto comfy seats at all hours of the day. Resistance is futile.


416 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02144

This is one of Boston's hotbeds of the yarn-wielding, duct-taping, letter-pressing hipster craft movement. A mothership for all things handmade, Magpie showcases work from independent young artists, from funky sewn gifts to fatally adorable housewares. Anticipate the intense warm-fuzziness from buying, and enjoying, local.