Our City Guide feature rolls on with the Soul Clap boys as they take us on a tour of their hometown of Boston. Check out some of the best that the city has to offer below with tasty food recommendations, record store picks and cool places to hang out and chill.
The guys will be taking the reigns on the latest fabric Mix at the end of the month and its a cracker by the way so make sure you check that out… If you’re London based then head down to fabric on the 15th April for the mix launch alongside No Regular Play (live) and Scott Grooves.
Everyone from Boston and the surrounding areas who’s down with dance music and has been around for awhile can tell you that Boston is hurt up for legit spots to get down to underground dance music.
Fortunately there’s the Phoenix Landing, a little Irish pub in Central Square, Cambridge that has an amazing sound system and has been supporting the underground for more than 20 years. Maybe its because the owners are Irish and understood the importance of dance music that they’ve been so supportive, but whether it’s House, Techno or Drum n Bass (their Thursday night called Elements has been running for 18+ years and is probably the longest running DnB night in America) they’ve had almost everybody come through to play for a maximum of 80-100 people. Only this year did the Phoenix Landing expand its license to stay open til 2am and Boston crowds never come early, so imagine the entirety of the night being smacked into an hour of booze filled craziness in a converted sports pub.
Shout out to some of the originators there, Randy Deshaies, Sergio Santos, Pat Fontes, Chuck Caseroc, Crook & Lenore… Thank you for your years of commitment (especially the tough early years) and creative vision. You created a cultural hub for us when we were coming of age, and we were proud to participate in when we took over Wednesday nights from 2007-2010 and creatively named it “Midweek Techno”, HA! If you find yourself in Boston on Wednesday or Thursday night, head across the river to Cambridge and go sweat it out.
Fact: A perfect burrito is a BEAUTIFUL thang, but also hard to find. It’s weird too, we’ve now traveled the globe so many times over and Mexican food can be found everywhere. Taco, quesadillas, and burritos have permeated into so many different cuisines and cultures, and you’d think that the magic would be far and wide, but NO! You have to taste it to believe it, but whatever the heck is going on in the kitchen at Anna’s Taqueria is a burrito masterpiece! The place isn’t fancy and it doesn’t need to be; it’s your classic line order vibe, the food is prepared right in front of you, its quick and cheap and mind blowing-ly good. So the order sizes for burritos begin with regular which is already enough to be completely satisfied, then super burrito which is immediate food coma. Nowadays they’ve managed to outdo themselves with some extreme sizes which is maybe their reaction to supersize american glutton culture. It goes Super and then “muy loco” and then “dios mio” or something like that, we dont remember what its called, but its crazy and you probably can’t finish it. Oh, also it first opened in Brookline, which is Charlie’s hometown. Back in high school all the cool kids would sneak out during homeroom to stuff their faces, but quickly learned that even though the munchies may have suggested otherwise, eating back to back to back super burritos does NOT help stay awake during a school day.
Any Soul Clap city guide wouldn’t be complete without a record shop. While we had some legends back in the 90’s/early 00’s (Beat Non Stop, Boston Beat, Biscuithead, Satellite Records, 4Front and Vinyl Connection), there aren’t many left these days. Honorable mention goes to Stereo Jack’s for amazing jazz LPs and In Your Ear, but Cheapo has always maintained a strong selection of 80’s and 90’s disco, dance, funk and hip-hop 12”s and is a must for digging in Boston.
You can probably guess why the north eastern states of the U.S. are called New England. From Maine to Connecticut to Massachusetts (where Boston is located), one thing is for sure: we love our seafood. And while Boston may have gotten it’s nickname from baked beans, no trip to Beantown is complete without a LOBSTAH roll. There’s a lot of debate as to who has the best lobster roll in Boston, but we’re going with Island Creek, because while many lobster roll spots just do lobster rolls, Island Creek is just an amazing place to eat any seafood. From the raw bar to creative fish dishes to an amazing wine list, Island Creek is where to go when you want that real New England food, but you want it modern and delicious too.
Boston isn’t known as a fashion mecca, but there is a special streetwear spot opened by an ex grafiti king, an art dealer and a sneaker freak back in 2006. The only question is, can you find it? The shop is hidden in the back of an actual Bodega, behind a secret door that looks like a soda machine. But once you make it in, you’ve literally found sneaker paradise. Don’t get it twisted though, Bodega isn’t just about sneakers, they have all kinds of beautiful footwear for men and women, plus their own line, which is always, forward thinking, but classic. It’s also been a hub for young fashionista in Boston to network, get inspired and create and the the owners have continued ventures in the arts, opening galleries and creative spaces to support the Boston scene. Over the years Bodega has become an international legend with a pop-up in Tokyo and now a storefront in LA, but it’s the Boston store that’s the real landmark.
Who doesnt enjoy a nice long walk and some fresh air! Is this a symptom of being grown n sexy? Its might be… Well check it, The Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain is the perfect place to go and do some thinking, take in some sunshine and stare creepily at other peoples dogs. Its such a beautiful sanctuary and yet another testament to Boston’s old school beauty and incredible green spaces. This arboretum is owned by Harvard University (which owns like frigging everything in the Boston area. It’s like they won some sort of twisted game of Monopoly and got the whole damn board. Actually theres a fun fact that Harvard University is the second largest non-profit in the world after the Catholic Church!) who established it back in the late 19th century. It’s an incredible place with really diverse plant life, like Japanese and Korean trees and more woody plants than you can shake a leaf at. Theres some really nice hills too, and on a clear day they make for a perfect vantage point to take in the city. Go fly a kite, go take a hike, just go…