Author Archives kayla

Tips when Going Out for Dinner in the North End

By kayla
At Oct 15, 2017

Going out in Boston can be tough! Especially in a small and busy district like the North End. Here are some tips about going out in the North End.

  1. If you don’t travel to Boston often, I always recommend looking at a map of Boston, and the area you’re going, before you get there. This 3-minute google search can save you tons of time. I included a map of Boston and the North End area below.
  2. Look up where to park/valet ahead of time. Expect local traffic/congestion.
  3. If you’re going on a weekend, making a reservation is crucial.
  4. Don’t expect your table to be ready even if you make a reservation. Also, most places would prefer to seat an extra table than waste the space on a host stand. Which leads to my next tip…
  5. Plan to wait outside. Again, no room!
  6. The valet in the North End isn’t typically restaurant-specific, it’s shared between multiple hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Plan to give the valet a 20-30 minute heads up before you need your car back.
  7. Expect lackadaisical bar service. There’s probably a lot of people near the bar, the bartender will get to you when he can. Relax, slow down, it’s fine.
  8. On noise and proximity… again, the more tables the better! Expect close quarters and lots of chatter! Don’t think of it as noisy and distracting, think of it as lively and engaging.

Bonus Advice when Going Out in the North End….

  1. Arrive early and take a stroll past the historic….
  2. It’s always worth the wait for a dessert pastry at….
  3. If you’d prefer a nightcap for dessert, I recommend…
  4. A good hotel near this area is the…

There you go! 8 Tips about what to plan for when going out in Boston’s North End! Interested in the extra information from my bonus advice? Looking to go out in the North End but can’t decide between places? Or just don’t have time to figure it all out (directions, parking, reservations, dessert..) – lets chat! I’d love to make it easy for you to have a great night out.

Looking for more examples of how my advice can be useful? Check out how I helped my client, Tess, go out last weekend in West Back Bay.

Maps

Map of Boston with the North End highlighted and nearby areas called out.

Map of Boston’s North End.

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Going Out: West Back Bay

By kayla
At Oct 06, 2017

My client, Tess*, had just moved to Boston to be with her boyfriend. This weekend, some of Tess’s friends from college are coming to visit and she really wanted to show them a good time! But she’s only been here a couple months and not really sure where to go. Based on the area of the city, I recommended what I felt they would most enjoy. I provided them with an infographic containing the recommended bars, why each was great, and a map of the locations. With the recommendations of a local, Tess was able to spare herself hours of research and stress. The downloadable image file** I shared with Tess is included below:

My personalized ‘Going Out’ flyers can be customized for each client’s needs to accommodate all kinds of scenarios – walking limitations, food allergies, budget, alcohol preferences, etc. Contact me about the night out you’d like to plan! The initial consultation is free so you have nothing to lose.

*All names, addresses and personal info are changed to protect the privacy of clients.

** Image altered to reduce size for internet speeds. For higher quality samples please inquire 🙂

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Last Year was your Last “Friendsgiving”

By kayla
At Oct 05, 2017

Theme Party

For Thanksgiving this year we wanted to have our friends over, but we didn’t want to cook a turkey or be sent into a food comma shortly after. We also don’t have space for a large table in our city-sized condo. So instead of attempting to host yet another food-stuff Friendsgiving,  we made up our own themed party, inspired by everyone’s real favorite November holiday – Black Friday! After a day of exhaustive eating, and a day of exhaustive shopping, we were all happy to cut-loose for some restorative partying! Below is the Black Friday themed flyer I shared with all my guests.

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House Warming Party

By kayla
At Oct 05, 2017

House Warming Party

My good friends from college bought a house together over the summer! As sad as it was to watch them move out of the city, I am super excited for their next adventure. They’ve been working really hard to get their new home in shape to finally have company over. When they were planning their house-warming BBQ, they gave me a call to make sure they weren’t forgetting any details before they started inviting guests. I passed along a few tips about food and such, then offered to make them a flyer. This would help to make communicating details about the event easier amidst all the chaos of a new home. They had mention all their labor reminded them of the HGTV Show, Fixer Upper. I used this comparison to design the custom invitation you see below.

 

 

 

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After Work Bowling Party

By kayla
At Oct 05, 2017

On a Friday night after work, a dozen of us met up at Jillian’s & Lucky Strike Lanes by Fenway to start the weekend right. Two lanes for two hours, free shoes for 20 friends, apps and a server. We had a blast and there were plenty of laughs to spare. After bowling we went to Lansdowne next door and it was lit after the Red Sox game let out. Heads up: they had a five-dollar cover started at 9 PM though, we made it just in time! Lansdowne also is a good bet for a live-band if your in the Fenway area on the weekend.

Everyone who came had a great time and really appreciate the bars list on the side of the custom invitation I designed for the event. This helped the crew decide where to migrate too after bowling was finished. The custom flyer is included below along with some photos from the event. Wish you had this much fun with your friends?  And great pictures to show it off? Want to plan a night out in Boston? I’d love to help!

Note how you can see the historic Fenway Park in the background – it’s right around the corner from Jillian’s Lucky Strike.

Pro Tip: Make sure your guests know where to park before driving to the event, especially on the night of a Red Sox Game! This is something I can help with if you’d like.

After bowling, we went to Lansdowne Pub.

Fun fact: The Lansdowne kitchen serves until 1 AM from Sunday-Thursday.

Here is the custom modern invitation I designed for the event. All guests were texted this high-quality informational flyer and the event was a huge success! We all agreed we would do it again. Like the look of this invitation? Check some of my other unique flyers in my Invitation Portfolio. Interested in using a similar invitation for your next event? Let’s chat! Shoot me an e-mail at kaylasnightout@gmail.com.

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Favorite Venues by Area of Boston

By kayla
At Oct 04, 2017

Boston isn’t that big of a city. LA is 5x the size of Boston by square miles. But I still recommend people don’t travel too far from their hotel or airbnb without good reason when they visit for a short period of time. There’s enjoyment to be had in each corner of the city! Here are my go-to or “favorite” venues in each area of the city. After the area and venue, I included a short blurb about why I think its the best and you can’t go wrong if you visit.

  • [Key] Area VENUE why its the best 
  • Charlestown PIER 6 the view of the Boston skyline is picturesque 
  • North Sta./The Garden TAVERN IN THE SQUARE (aka. “TITS”) a bazillion beers on tap
  • North End TRATTORIA IL PANINO the espresso martinis are magnifique 
  • Faneuil Hall COOGAN’S cheers to cheap beers!
  • Theater District THE ROYALE for an epic concert 
  • Downtown Crossing YVONNE’S classy American tapas 
  • Southie LINCOLN a delish & boozy brunch 
  • Fort Point CITY TAP HOUSE again, lots of beers on tap 
  • Seaport EMPIRE for sushi and scorpion bowls
  • Fenway YARD HOUSE great menu and lively atmosphere
  • Back Bay LOLITA’S Mexican style tapas with Gothic decor
  • South End TREMONT 647 to eat brunch in pajamas
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Late Summer Adventure!

By kayla
At Sep 02, 2017

I spent this morning planning out some late summer (early autumn!) adventures. My mom gifted me a wine tasting and cheese platter for 10 people at Hardwick Winery. Since this is almost a two hour trek from Boston (the greater greater Boston area if you will), I decided to plan a whole day around the tasting in order to make it more worth-while.

After a little research I decided to start at a local orchard, Meadowbrook Farm, for some apple picking and cider donuts. Yum! Then a quick 2-mile hike at Wachusett Mountain. Finally, we’ll end the scenic day at Hardwick Winery.

I texted this event flyer (below) to all my invitees. The invitation has details such as times, addresses, and maps! See my portfolio for other examples of my custom modern invitations.

Look for a review of how this event went later in the Fall! Want to plan a similar event? Let’s talk! Click here to go to my Contact page.

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My Birthday Party

By kayla
At Aug 27, 2017

This year I decided I wanted nothing more than to go to a classy club for my birthday. We’re talking men have to wear pants and nice shoes, women in their favorite dresses, and everyone is dancing!! Since I live in the city, I hosted a cocktail party  at my apartment then we all Ubered over to the club. Here are some details about my “Kayla’s Night Out” and how I hosted this Birthday Soiree!

First, I had to find a club. There are dozens all over Boston, all with their own rules for VIP service. For example, not all tables allow the same number of people. Additionally, table minimums vary from $350-$700+ and sometimes include waiving the cover charge, sometimes they only waive it for part of your party. Another benefit some clubs offer to their VIP guests is line privileges – this means you can show up at any time and cut the line. I hope to make a checklist soon of questions to ask when booking a club – comment if you think this would be useful! After calling around, I decided that Cure Lounge would be the best fit for me and the group of friends I was inviting.

Once I decided on a club, I had to get make a plan for the party. When should people come over? How much food should I have? Is there space for everyone to park? So many questions to answer! After some fun time spent planning how I’d like my special night to go, I was ready to tell my friends! Based on my conversation with the club promoter, I knew I could invite 10-12 people. I designed one of my Custom Modern Invitations to share all the details of the party with my guests. Being able to text a picture-invitation to all my friends made it easy to get the information out in less than two minutes! In reference to the song “Scholarships” by Future, I made this invitation:

Cocktail & Food Menu:

  • Prosecco Soaked Sugar-Coated Grapes. Recipe from Delish, here. To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend these though, they didn’t really soak up the bubbly!
  • Fruit Salad. Just whatever was on sale at the supermarket – strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, etc.
  • Blended Watermelon and Vodka Coolers. These were a HUGE success! Not a drop left! Recipe from Jennifer Meyering, here.
  • Birthday Cake Flavored, Frosting-Rimmed Shots. I made modifications to a recipe on Tbsp, here.

After looking at my food and beverage list, I decided to make my theme green and pink – like a watermelon. Why pick a theme? When your food and decor all match, it just makes the whole event feel cohesive and run smoother. It’s also nice on the eyes for you guests and it’s fun to pull together! Finally, nice decorations are the difference between a cheap college “pre-game” party and being an adult. Besides you won’t break the bank, I was able to get everything I needed between my local party store and a department store for less than $55.

Decorations Shopping List:

  • 1 lg. Birthday helium balloon
  • 2 sm. balloons (in green for my theme!)
  • 2 Streamer rolls, 1 pink & 1 green
  • 1 Green plastic table cloth
  • 2 sm. pink plastic bowls
  • Package of pink-handled forks
  • Pink plates
  • 1 set of pink Birthday napkins
  • Pink and white paper straws
  • Green candles

Those are the basics of how I planned out my birthday party this year. It was a huge success, from the watermelon coolers, to getting low on the dance floor, even to the late-night dumplings we got in Chinatown at the end of the night! To help you imagine how it all came together, I have included pictures below from the portion of the evening I hosted at my apartment. A lot of time and effort went into making my party fun and memorable for all who attended. Are you planning a birthday party? Don’t have time to make all these plans? Whether you plan to go out in Boston or not, I would enjoy to work with you to make your birthday special! Click here to contact me about working together on your next party.

 

(Left) Prosecco grapes. (Right) Fruit Salad.

Watermelon coolers. See the green at the bottom of the cup? That’s sour apple liqueur.

Cupcake flavored shots, rimmed with pink-vanilla frosting and sprinkles.

 

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Monday Night in the Financial District, August

By kayla
At Aug 24, 2017

After a series of unfortunate events, our long weekend found itself extending into Monday (so not really that unfortunate right?). We decided to make the most of it and go out and explore the city. We took public transportation (aka. the Ferry) to the Financial District then walked over to the Faneuil Hall area for whatever enticed us for dinner. Then we walked around – past the larger-the-life statues of Quincy Market, beyond the State Street building construction, traversed Post Office Square only to cut across to the Rose Kennedy Greenway and get lost in some modern art, and then some. But the picture below are worth a thousand more beyond my words…

So if you find yourself in Boston on a casual Monday night, here is what I would recommend you do! The best parts about this night were: (1) the exploration exercise (2) our fully bellies and wallets (3) the special connection you feel with the city, only on a quite weeknight.

*Although I didn’t watermark these photos as mine, all of them are! (c)

Find a way to get to the Financial District in downtown Boston.

Take a deep breathe to soak it all in. View of the Financial District from the harbor.

The entrance to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market Place from the waterfront (east).

Some wicked Bahston paraphernalia and touristy trinkets. I confess, I give a lot of these items away as gifts for holidays and birthdays.

The famous Quincy Market! Heads Up: Quincy Market is not a produce market – its more like an elongated food court.

Our stomachs led us to Koy. We have been here before and it happened to be dumpling night! Featured here though, one of their delicious maki rolls. I highly recommend the hot stone bibimbap if you’ve never had Korean. If you like vodka, I recommend the cucumber cilantro lemonade – the muddled cucs are so refreshing.

The trellis as Post Office Square. The lights inside make this a romantic stroll.

And the flowers are just lovey.

Post Office Square is great for some unique city-scape, night-time portraits.

“Children and adults alike delight in the Rings Fountain at Milk Street and its unpredictable and irresistible water patterns that jet into the air from a flat paved surface” – Rose Kennedy Greenway Website

Art & Angles along the way.

The Greenway Maze. I walked the whole thing and made it to the middle!

We ambled around the North End and debated dessert cocktails and dessert… deciding against both I still looked wistfully at my favorite place to get espresso martinis – Trattoria Il Panino.

We went home after that – we had work the next day! But I hoped you enjoyed our photographic journey as much as we enjoyed the real deal! Did you go on a similar stroll? Or maybe we missed something! Please comment or e-mail me any thoughts you have about my Monday night out in Boston, I’d love to hear from you.

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This Website & How I Can Help You!

By kayla
At Aug 24, 2017

When I moved to Boston after college, I didn’t really know what to do for fun in the city or where to go out. I read tons of local websites, yelp reviews and countless Pinterest lists to figure it out. Unable to find answers from reviews alone, I took to the streets myself! Since then, I have been to over a hundred bars, restaurants, concert venues and historic sites in Boston. Whether you’ve lived here for years or your visiting for one night, I’m confident my website has the resources you need to help ensure you have a great time in the city!

On my website you’ll find…

  • Night out suggestions
  • My favorite restaurants reviewed
  • Instagram photo ideas
  • More!
Beyond my blog content I also offer…
  • Free Boston Weekly Weekend Advice. If you subscribe to my weekly email, you’ll receive advice each Thursday morning of what I’d do (and likely will do) in the city that weekend.
  • Boston Trip Consulting. I also offer consulting for planning your time in the city (click here to complete a request – first one-day trip consultation is free!). This is popular among groups of friends or teams of co-workers who’re all meeting up in the city.
  • Custom Modern Invitations. Whether to share details on your trip to Boston with friends or to invite your family over for a birthday celebration, I can design you a custom modern invitation for the occasion. The invitation comes in the form of a high-quality, textable photo resembling a flyer. My invitations are perfect for conveying all the details your event needs without stamps or Facebook.
  • Photographed City Tours. Whether I’m providing the tour or you want me to tag along for the trolley rides, I offer photography services! These are especially popular among couples traveling who want to see the city but don’t want all their photos to be selfies (FYI it’s really hard to get a shot of you and the Pru!).

Please use my contact page to submit any inquiries!

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A little about me

By kayla
At May 30, 2017

Hi! My name is Kayla. I’m an energetic and occasionally awkward brunette who loves good times, better company and great memories.  I grew up in New England and I just moved to Boston in the Fall of 2015 after graduating college. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my day job, but if there is one thing college taught me about myself it’s that I like to HAVE FUN. Life is too short to only have an ok time doing something! Since moving to Boston I have been aggressively seeking out new bars, hot gastropubs, good-vibes music venues, and more. So far, I have been doing this just because I want to make sure that I am always having the best time possible. You only live once, am I right!?

I’ve noticed that friends and coworkers have been asking me things like how do you do it? or where are my “go-to” local spots. This got me thinking. I realized that although there are awesome review services out there like yelp, zagat, or spottedbylocals – there is just this trustworthy personal touch missing from all these reviews. Thus the inception of Kayla’s Night Out – an honest resource for reviews, night-out-planning, and more. So whether you live in Boston already or are moving here, whether you visit on some weekends or are touristing this once from far-away, I have the perfect plans, tempting tips, and awesome advice you need!

At this time, since I live in the city, the majority of my reviews are for venues in Boston. However, soon I hope to also review bars in local New England towns such as  Newburyport (MA), Portsmouth (NH), and Portland (ME). I’m also a big fan of long-weekend jet-setting that jams in the most amount of site-seeing and local experiences as possible – I hope to share these weekend get-away must-do’s as well. So stay tuned! Lots of honest information coming soon.

 

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Memorial Day Weekend

By kayla
At May 30, 2017

I started Memorial Day weekend a little early when we went out on Thursday night for the Celtics semi-finals game (yes.. I did had work Friday, sadly).

Thursday night – dinner & drinks at Lincoln in Southie for the Celtics playoff game.

Friday night – stayed in and watched Troy.

Saturday morning – made blueberry pancakes with this recipe and caught up with a good friend.

Saturday day – walked the Freedom trail from start to finish!

Saturday night – made Moroccan red lentil soup and hosted a pre-game. Went out to Scholars in the financial district and stayed til close! Came home, made fried egg sandwiches and played super smash bros.

Sunday morning – nursed hangovers and edited photos.

Sunday day – met friends in Southie for a couple cocktails in their flat then headed to Lawn on D for some fresh air, live music and brews.

Sunday night – dinner at Monument in Charlestown. Walked to the North End for an espresso martini at Trattoria Il Panino then waited in line for my first EVER Mike’s Pastry: a Florentine cannoli.

(Memorial Day) Monday morning – tidied the apartment and made Deviled Eggs for the first time with this recipe from Pinch my Salt.

Monday afternoon – had friends down from NH; went to Pier 6 then toured the USS Constitution Museum and historic ship. Had biers at Blackmoor Bar + Kitchen.

Monday night – reflected on weekend, planned for week. Leftovers and Netflix.

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City Tap House

By kayla
At May 06, 2017

The first time I heard of city tap was a Friday night among friend’s. Eager for a new local spot, I quickly looked up their menu. While I’d call their menu American, it definitely leans more toward American with a twist, like trout sliders and miso glazed salmon. So on a whim, I didn’t feel it was reliable enough to pick for dinner. And the name “City Tap” just reminded me of a leaky public bathroom for some reason.

A couple months later, I focused on an Instagram post about the Harpoon Brewery Alumni Tap Takeover – ten breweries of Harpoon Alumni would be represented at City Tap. First off, I thought this was a really cool gathering of so many delicious local brewers. Second, I didn’t realize how many of the beers I loved were inspired by people who used to work at Harpoon! Ah, Boston, stealing my heart with every home-made craft brew!

So I threw my prior hesitations and public bathroom distaste out the window and drove over to Fort Point; I parked on Summer Street and walked to City Tap (make sure you use the staircases on A Street and Congress if you do this). I walked in and it felt like another Fort Point bar – the big windows of Tavern Road, the wood-panel walls of Chalet, the dim lights of Drink. But it is bigger than all three of those venues, but not as big as Farm House, if that helps you picture it. The venue wrapped in wood and ironwork save of one large 1950s-esque, black-and-white, mural beside the dining room and the three giant TVs behind the bar. Chalkboards sprinkle the walls displaying quotes, event ads, and daily specials. The wood tables and chairs mirror the wood paneling and is complimented by a blacksmith and barn-house dĂ©cor incorporating pieces such as antique Edison light bulbs and small shrubbery.

I thought it was pretty busy for a rainy Monday after the dinner rush. The bar was full end-to-end and a lot of people were gathered by standing tables in the back, but there were tables open in the dining room area. The atmosphere was casual and inclusive.

Finding a seat at the community table, I ordered a flight of (left to right) Castle Island’s Jetty Sour, Dorchester’s Staple Saison, Exhibit A’s Cat’s Meow and Cambridge Brewing Co.’s Sargent Pepper ($22 with tip).

The community table is my favorite part about City Tap. I know, this sounds cheesy like we’re all going to sit around and break bread over our friendship or something but this ‘community table’ is really just like a high-top extension of the bar that a couple waitresses come around and serve. It seats at least a dozen people comfortably and the idea of being at the bar without having to elbow my way in for a beer or awkwardly avoiding eye contact with the bartender is awesome. The community table also makes this bar good for groups.

While I was soaking up the seen (and the brews), I had some cool conversations with a few people gathered around the community table; definitely shaping up to be a welcoming place, even if you’re alone. While I didn’t dine myself, the patrons who I talked with had no problem sharing that the food was good
but a bit over-priced for what you get. This is important because its remarks like this that I feel differentiate bars from gastropubs.  In my opinion, if the foods exotic but not that great and you feel like you’re paying too much, that definitely doesn’t warrant the elevated title of “gastropub.” But that’s just me and City Tap Boston is still new so head Chef AJ Beaulieu still has time to step it up.

As mentioned in my quick-look review of City Tap, this bar is going to be best enjoyed by people working in or visiting the Fort Point area or Seaport district for the day – reliable for a lunch with coworkers or crushing a few craft beers after the days out. Good for sports – but not big games, not enough TVs on enough walls. I wouldn’t go for bunch until its good enough that word of mouth prompts me to go. There is also a large outdoor patio that I look forward to enjoying at this Spring weather heats up!

Breweries represented at City Tap for the Harpoon Alumni included: Dorchester Brewing, Exhibit A Brewery, Blue Hills Brewery, Castle Island Brewing, Barrel House Z, Mystic Brewery, Mayflower Brew, Cambridge Brewing Co., Berkshire Brewing Co., Winter Hill Brewing Company, and of course, Harpoon Brewery.

The alumni gather for a Harpoon alma mater cheers!

 

Dining room area of City Tap. My apologies to the lady in red who I clearly caught off-guard!

 

A view from one end of the community table; bar in background.

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