Sometimes, you love the snow. Typically, this happens when winter has just started, and all of the holiday ads trick you into thinking snow is a pre-requisite to getting a new Lexus, and the sight of a dusting on Boston Common makes you want to drop whatever you’re doing to sip on something warm and potentially alcoholic next to a fire. But around mid-January, the holiday spirit wears off and the snow on the Common turns into an abstract ice sculpture made of frozen mud and discarded hot dog wrappers.
So whether it’s the first snowstorm of the year or the 50th, here are 10 places that’ll keep you from booking a one-way ticket to Southern California.
Where To go when you're not sick of the Snow yet
Between the wood-burning fireplace in the lounge area (which they actually use for cooking sometimes) and dishes like candy roaster pumpkin, Bondir is basically the cozy Berkshires cabin that would fall out of the sky if Martha Stewart were struck by a bolt of lighting while cross-country skiing. The menu changes frequently, but expect lots of high-end, hyper-local stuff, like skate wing with brown butter and foie gras.
When it comes to storm-preparedness, bread and water are overrated. All you really need is a fireplace, a drink, and some oysters. The Red House in Harvard Square has all of those things in a building that looks like an 19th century farmhouse. It doesn’t hurt that the oysters are 2-for-$1 every day between 6 and 9pm, either.
Publico in Southie is normally a Mexican-ish restaurant that does a decent brunch on the weekend, but during the winter they turn their atrium into an apres-ski themed lounge called “The Lodge.” You can sit on Adirondack chairs in front of a gas fire and hope that you didn’t just contract mono from the ski shot you and your friends just downed.
Every four years you watch curling at the Olympics and tell everyone that you would be a terrific curler if you really tried. Well, now it’s time to prove it, because the Yard At The Liberty Hotel puts in a curling rink every winter. It’s not actually made of ice, but you’ll still get an idea of whether it’s time to get outfitted in some Roots gear for the opening ceremonies. The Yard only has drinks and some small bites, but if you somehow manage to work up an appetite while playing the least athletic sport in human history, you can head instead to Scampo.
When George Washington and Paul Revere got stuck in snowstorms, they didn’t have the internet to tell them where to get a decent snifter of mead. But they were probably smart enough to head to the Warren Tavern in Charlestown anyway. This place is exactly as cozy as a 238-year-old tavern with a fireplace sounds like it would be.
Where To Go When you Can't remember what sun feels like
With fruity drinks, Asian fusion bar snacks like Filipino BBQ ribs and Rohan duck, and tropical decor, this South End tiki bar is a great place to help you pretend you don’t live in Boston. Beyond the bamboo and palms, Shore Leave also has the advantage of being underground without a single window, so you can completely forget about the fact that the weather outside is literally trying to kill you.
Do they have to deal with snow in Tokyo street markets? We have no idea - go ask Harvey Leonard. Regardless, they definitely don’t have to deal with snow inside this colorful, loud, sensory-assaulting Fenway izakaya that feels like a Tokyo street market. Grab a bowl of ramen or the wagyu short rib burger and try to ignore the fact that the ballpark across the street is still going to be shuttered for a few more months.
Tiger Mama is a Southeast Asian restaurant that looks like a jungle, which goes nicely with its menu of colorful curries and tiki drinks. And even more important than the Indonesian fried chicken that will warm you up when the outside is a frozen hellscape, is the fact that Tiger Mama has two different bars (one in the front and one in the back) so you can barhop without having to put your 10-pound down parka back on.
You know who doesn’t have to deal with snow? People who are smart enough to live in New Orleans. Pretend you’re one of them at this Cajun seafood place in the South End. With chandeliers, wrought-iron balconies, and things like cherry coke-glazed ribs and crawfish mac and cheese, it’s the closest thing Boston has to the French Quarter.
An actual jungle palace in the middle of the Amazon might be pretty dangerous, what with all the piranhas, jaguars, and poisonous dart frogs (which may or may not be the type of toad that you can lick to get high). Nahita - the Japanese-Peruvian restaurant in Park Square that’s filled with palm trees and hanging vines - is basically the next best thing. Split some tacos and imagine you’re on the other side of the equator where it’s currently summer.