Queer Girl City Guide: Boston, MA

by Lizz and Rachel

Did you know Lizz and Rachel are both from Boston!? We are! Well kind of. You should know when anyone says they live in Boston, they almost always mean they live in the Greater Boston Metro Area which includes Boston and all the towns around Boston that everyone thinks are just neighborhoods. Technically speaking, Rachel and Lizz went to school in Waltham and then Rachel moved to a city called Cambridge and Lizz moved to a Boston neighborhood called Allston. Because we wrote this kind of together, it’s written in the first person hive voice where “I” sometimes refers to Rachel and sometimes to Lizz and sometimes to both of us.

Getting Around Boston


Boston isn’t exactly known for its ease of transit. While it’s not deadlocked New York City, driving can be slow and tedious. Also there’s no parking. On the other hand, you can ride the MBTA system of subways and buses. The subway, or the T, is awesome and also kind of sucks. Also it stops running around 1 am. That’s okay though because you can just take a cab. Except that Boston has the most expensive cabs ever.

So here’s the thing: you’re going to want a bike. You can bike almost anywhere in Boston in about 20 minutes. Literally end to end in under an hour. Lizz used to bike to work in Cambridge every day until one day she almost got hit by one of those previously mentioned above ground Ts. Well, good luck!


The South End is Boston’s most well known gay neighborhood. The South End is made up largely of beautiful red brick bowfront apartment buildings built in the mid-19th century. At some point it became wicked gentrified by gays (actually, mostly gay men) in the 1980s, and is now some of the most expensive property in Boston. Although the area maintained its gay flavor, it tends to be inhabited by wealthy middle aged gays and their artist significant others. As that is the case, the South End is also home to some of the best restaurants and small art studios in the whole city.

Jamaica Plain, or JP as the cool kids call it, is basically Boston’s lesbian stronghold. Everyone who lives in JP loves it but, the major downside is that it’s far away from everything else in the city. Everyone sits out on the porch all the time hanging out with each other and strangers just walk by and join in. All the queer women who live in JP seem to know each other and, because they live so far away from the rest of the city, are exclusively friends with other queer people from JP.

Cambridge & Somerville is where it’s at for hip, androgynous queers who like wearing ambitious scarves, as well as young marrieds and every twentysomething who picks up their CSA share on their fixed-gear bike. Full of coffeeshops, bookstores, and vegan food, they are a little expensive to live in (especially Cambridge), but nice places to spend an afternoon. Highlights include Harvard Square (touristy as it is), Davis Square, and also some out-of-the-way delights like Union Square.

Gay Bars

While Boston lacks a proper lesbian bar, there is basically a girls night somewhere every Friday and Saturday of the month. The biggest is Second Saturday at Machine. Second Saturday is run by Dyke Night (a Boston group who runs several lesbian nights in the city) and is also the largest lesbian dance party in New England. In light of the largest women’s party in New England thing, it’s critical to arrive at Machine no later than 10pm or you will not party, you will just stand in line. Machine is normally a gay club with a pseudo-leather bar upstairs (Ramrod) but I’ve always found it to be completely lesbian friendly even during non-Dyke Night times.


Dyke Night also runs Fourth Fridays at the Milky Way, Venus Rising at the House of Blues and a slew of holiday specific parties. The Milky Way is a restaurant in JP that gets packed full of JP regulars social drinking in the front and dancing in the back. It’s a pretty rocking party, and it’s won Best of Boston a couple of years in a row now. Venus Rising is a private party in the extremely lush Foundation Room at the House of Blues held the first Friday of every month. I happen to really like the Foundation Room because it sort of looks like someone else’s rich grandmother’s living room.

If you’re looking to party on Thursdays, the only place to be is in JP at The Midway for the mostly lesbian and gender-queer Queeraoke. That’s right, it’s queer karaoke. Queeraoke usually draws a cool crowd, if not a lot of the same JP folks from the Milky Way. I’m not even going to pretend I don’t love a good round of karaoke. On Tuesdays you can head over to Zuzu for their Queer Ladies Night, which is a little quieter than some other parties but also notable for being much more T-accessible than virtually every other party ever.

In addition to the night-specific girl parties, there’s also a couple of traveling queer nights. Boston Guerrilla Queer Bar is a traveling gay bar that “overtakes” normally straight bars for one night each month. GQB announces the bar of choice the Thursday night before the party and everyone shows up the next Friday. Although GQB used to be an actual sneak attack on a bar, the last few times I went GQB seemed to have rented out the space. GQB used to be every first Friday (thus competing with the increasingly popular Venus Rising) but seems to maybe be moving to the second Friday of the month.

The other traveling queer night is Girl Spot which is basically the same as GQB except it’s a girl party that changes locations on the last Saturday of each month. One of the cool things about Girl Spot is they often hold it in a chill spot where you can actually have a drink and talk to someone.


Club Cafe is a restaurant and gay bar that is largely frequented by the 25 and older gay men’s crowd. Still, a lot of the queer women I know hang out there particularly on the weekdays. Tuesday Trivia is supposed to be particularly fun. Rush, the dance party on Saturdays, is reportedly one of the best dance nights around.  Every Sunday night Underbar holds a gay party called Hot Mess which completely lives up to its name. Underbar is one of the only bars that stays open until 2am on Sundays so it’s definitely worth a visit. Also Fritz is a super friendly gay sports bar with a shockingly good brunch menu.

If you’re looking for drag, Jacques Cabaret features drag every night of the week. Also Club Cafe holds Drag Bingo every Monday. Finally Machine holds a Drag Dance Party Mondays, and Drag Lounge on Wednesdays.

Coffee and Eats

image via marika tabillo

Diesel Cafe (Davis Square, Somerville) This is a great place to go if you want your heart broken by a really sexy genderqueer barista and also a pretty good latte. Diesel is not only staffed by all queers, it’s also a know queer/poly hang out. Its sister site, Bloc 11, is located about a half hour away on foot in Union Square. Both of them feature delicious sandwiches ranging from the meaty to the tofu-y, and a rotation of soups. Diesel has recently stepped up its brunch game as well — try the breakfast burrito. Also, Boston-area Autostraddle meetups have taken place here, so.

Barrington Coffee (346 Congress Street, Boston) As far as quality of coffee goes, Barrington Coffee Roasters is maybe probably the best in Boston [according to Lizz who has a refined and sensitive coffee palate][but not according to Rachel, who knows this is some straight up bullshit]. Their cafe in the Fort Point neighborhood serves up their finely brewed coffee and espresso drinks made by their incredibly well trained staff.

Simon’s Cafe (Porter Square, Cambridge) As far as quality of coffee goes, Simon’s is maybe probably the best in Boston [according to Rachel who lacks a proper background in coffee knowledge and is probably just choosing a place with good vegan snacks] [That’s stupid, it doesn’t even have vegan snacks really, just really good coffee]. It’s small, and therefore you might have to fight for a seat if you want to camp out for a while, but the coffee is beyond compare.

Veggie Planet (Harvard Square, Cambridge) A haven for hipster queers who want cheap all-day vegetarian food and breakfast pizzas, Veggie Planet has a fun menu and cute waitstaff. It’s also connected to Club Pasim, which is a neat place to catch some live music if that’s your jam. If you come here for brunch, be ready to wait in line.

Life Alive (Central Square, Cambridge) This is an actual conversation that took place between Lizz and Rachel:

Lizz: sidenote, there’s an amazing new vegan/veggie place in central square you’re going to love
im obsessed
Rachel: what is it
Lizz: its NEW
Rachel: what what what
what is it
Lizz: it went into that old video rental place
Rachel: oh i remember that
Lizz: they do all these dishes that can be served on rice or on a plate or in a salad
and they have sauces and stuff can be gluten free
and they also do smoothies
Rachel: what is their name
Lizz: Life Alive
and everything is really yummy
Rachel: that sounds very hippie-ish
but delicious
i wanna try it

Sofra (One Belmont St, Cambridge) Fun fact — Rachel used to work here! That’s how she can vouch that it’s delicious and also that everyone who works there is great. Order the spinach falafel and the orange blossom lemonade, and you will regret nothing. Don’t forget to tip.

Oleana (134 Hampshire St, Cambridge) The award-winning restaurant with the same ownership as Sofra, Oleana is delicious Middle Eastern-inspired cuisine that’s great for celebratory dinners, impressing people, and/or Fancy Dates.

India Quality (484 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston) There’s no dearth of Indian food in Boston, and choosing the “best” is a dodgy proposition, but it may well be India Quality. For cheaper, quicker Indian, and/or if you’re interested in South as opposed to North Indian food, try Dosa Factory in Central Square.

Shanghai Gate (204 Harvard Avenue, Boston) One time Lizz went to Xi’an and ate really amazing dumplings filled with soup (xiao long bao). Then Lizz went back to Boston where every Chinese restaurant calls their dumplings “Peking Ravioli” which is really sad but also kind of a thing. Either way, while everyone is always trying to claim Dumpling Cafe in Boston’s Chinatown has the best soup dumplings, this is actually totally wrong. The best Chinese food in town is at Shanghai Gate. Shanghai Gate is this super secret authentic (and Zagat rated) Chinese  restaurant hidden between a Dunkin Donuts and bar.  Their xiao long bao are the jumpoff. (Rachel would like to put in a vote for Mary Chung’s in Central Square.)

Ten Tables (597 Centre Street, JP; 5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge) For a straight up Fancy Night Out, it’s hard to go wrong with Ten Tables. To be as impressive as possible, order the chef’s tasting menu (there’s a meat or vegetarian option, and if you call ahead, they can work with vegans).


Craigie on Main (Central Sq, Cambridge) Largely considered one of the best joints in town, Craigie just rocks. Chef Tony Maws buys ingredients for the ever changing menu daily in Boston and is literally in that kitchen every night. While Craigie can be expensive and hard to get in to, you can totally impress a date by snagging seats at the bar for cocktails and by far the best burger around.

KO Pies (87 A St, Boston) KO pies is a super secret delicious Australian style meat pie shop. The shop is about the size of a closet with exactly one table and two employees. It’s so delicious I can’t even really talk about it. Oh! And they have a vegetarian pie just for you!

The Barbara Lynch Gruppo Many of the best restaurants in Boston are owned by James Beard Award winning chef Barbara Lynch. Lynch’s restaurants No.9 Park and Menton are so good (and so expensive) that people only get to eat at them after winning the Hunger Games. On the other hand, B&G Oysters, Sportello and The Butcher Shop are much more reasonably priced but lack none of the deliciousness. The Butcher Shop is actually Lizz’s favorite restaurant in the entire city. Rachel has never been because, you know, it’s called The Butcher Shop and she’s a vegan.

Not Specifically Gay Drinking


The Otherside Cafe (407 Newbury St,  Boston) Its name comes from being on the other side  of Mass Ave on Boston’s posh Newbury Street, but the Otherside is no fancy-pants cocktail lounge (Sonsie is your only real option for cocktails and I hate it there). The Otherside (pictured above) is a laid back restaurant/beer bar that boasts one of the best beer menus around and a really cool set up with an indoor balcony.  The Otherside’s associated bar, Lord Hobo in Cambridge, is also a great time but tends to be a quieter atmosphere.

Drink (348 Congress St, Boston) Owned by the previously mentioned Barbara Lynch, Drink is the perfect ending to the fantasy date you go on with your soulmate in which you also are a millionaire who wants a drink from an extremely talented sort of queer looking hot bartender. Drink doesn’t have a menu; instead, you describe what you want, and whether it’s a cocktail no one has made since 1925 or “a thing with tequila in it that’s not a margarita?” it will appear in front of you, and it will be perfect. Good for serious cocktail aficionados (hellooo Rachel Maddow) or people who want to try a fancy drink but don’t know much about them. And/or people who want to impress their dates, obvs.


Trina’s Starlite Lounge (3 Beacon Street  Somerville) A hidden gem near Inman Square, Trina’s is speakeasy-esque and also has delicious original cocktails invented by Trina herself. Their cocktail menu changes over time, but once Rachel had maybe the best tequila drink she’s ever had there, just saying.

Deep Ellum (477 Cambridge St, Boston)  Deep Ellum is hipster paradise in a nutshell. Craft cocktails and micro-brew beer and a porch/deck thing in the back. I kind of think it’s too dark and too loud but everyone else in the world seems to love it. They also serve food including truffle Parmesan french fries. Also check out the nearby dive The Silhouette and the powerhouse bar Sunset Grill & Tap who boast 112 taps.

Eastern Standard (528 Commonwealth Ave, Boston) Referred to by GQ as “(perhaps unintentionally) the most elegant sports bar in the country” Eastern Standard is kind of exactly that. But in a really good way. Nestled near Fenway Park’s gobs of thumping sports bars, Eastern Standard serves up excellent cocktails in a somewhat causal atmosphere. While the cocktails aren’t as good as the one’s you’ll find at Drink, you’ll probably get in the door faster.

Places to Get Alternative Lifestyle Haircuts

Shag Salon (840 Summer Street, Boston) Possibly the hippest establishment you will ever walk into of any kind, owner (and generally cool guy) Sandy Poirier turned an old warehouse in South Boston in to the best place to get rockstar hair. Shag will run you at least $80 for a cut including tip, but you will also look like sex on legs. Lizz’s stylist, Kara Hurston, was even declared the city’s most eligible lesbian bachelorette by the Improper Bostonian. If you don’t have a haircut budget, it’s worth calling in to see if they’re looking for ‘hair models’ to train new staff on, which means a free haircut for you. Just look how cute they all are in this video:


Liquid Hair Studios (640 Tremont Street, Boston) While virtually impossible to find parking for, Liquid is really popular, and its staff are all people you’d love to be friends with. They’re down for anything from “layers and a trim” to “rhinestone-studded mohawk.”

Judy Jetson (1765 Massachusetts Ave,  Cambridge) Judy Jetson has a passionate following, and is frequently declared best place to get a haircut by the Boston Phoenix. There’s also a neat metal sculpture outside!

LGBTQ Organizations/Resources

BAGLY: The Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth
The Edge
Boston Pride
Boston LGBT Film Festival
The History Project
SpeakOUT Boston
Fenway Health



There are just a ton of colleges around Boston! The thing about having all of these schools around is that they all throw queer parties throughout the school year. It also means the mean age of everyone is brought down to like 25. Wellesley in particular throws a great Dyke Ball every year. This is one of those parties that you desperately need to go to when you’re in college and desperately need to not go to once you’re over 22.

Things to Do/Date Nights


Fenway Park and the Garden (Kenmore Sq and West End, Boston) One of the benefits of having major league baseball, basketball and hockey is the availability of actually going to games. You can usually get shitty last minute tickets outside the game, sometimes for dirt cheap.  Additionally, Fenway Park holds tours that are a must see for any baseball fan.

Museum of Fine Arts (465 Huntington Avenue, Boston) A true insider tip, is that the MFA is somehow staffed by basically exclusively queer women. I don’t know how this happened, but it’s definitely a thing. The MFA also hosts independent/foreign film screenings and super hip concerts. You can also get in free with a Boston-area college ID!

ICA (100 Northern Avenue, Boston) More expensive but also hipper than the MFA, the ICA is Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art. Even if you hate art (which, what? why?) the building is beautiful, and has an incredible view of the harbor designed such that you feel like you’re actually standing out on the water. Also it’s full of awesome contemporary art, which changes fairly frequently.


The Boston Symphony Orchestra This is classy as hell, and an excuse to get dressed up! The BSO also sells cheap $20 tickets to people under 40 (the opposite of a senior discount?) and you can also go to a dress rehearsal for something like half off the price of a regular concert. The more you know!

Donkey Show (Oberon Theater, Harvard Sq, Boston) Donkey Show is extremely difficult to explain, but basically it’s a re-imagining of a Midsummer Night’s Dream performed inside a 70s dance club all around you while you drink, dance and generally have a good time. Also there’s glitter basically everywhere. And drag kings.

Brewery Tours Both Sam Adams and Harpoon offer tours of the breweries.  This is wicked fun and involves plenty of beer sampling for everyone. While plenty of other breweries in New England give tours, Harpoon and Sam Adams are accessible by the T so no one has to drive. While this is a particularly great way to spend the day with out of town guests, by your third visit to any brewery there is a large chance you’ll be completely over it.


Improv There are two main improv theaters in Boston: Improv Asylum in the North End and Improv Boston ironically in Cambridge. Both are a great night out and very funny. Both boast extremely reasonably priced tickets (around $15-20). Is there anything cuter or more charming than getting your date brought on stage to be completely embarrassed by a troupe of semi-professional comedians? I think not.

Swan Boat Ride This was Rachel’s favorite thing to do when she was about six, and the novelty has not worn off. In Boston’s Public Gardens, you can pay something like $2 to sit in a giant paddleboat shaped like a swan with a dozen other people while a sweaty young man who’s getting paid six dollars and hour pedals it around in circles in a tiny pond. If that doesn’t sound cute and appealing, you’re wrong. Also, there are real swans in the pond too. You can feed them bread crumbs!

Ice Skating on the Frog Pond Also located in the Public Gardens, this is totes hands down the cutest thing to do all winter. Put on matching mittens and go skating around in circles! Tuesday nights are College Night and it’s only $2 admission! Also apparently there’s a yoga class there in the summer now, so that’s neat.

Finale (Park Plaza, Harvard Sq) Finale is whole restaurant of nothing but delicious dessert. It’s also super romantic and they don’t even mind at all if you squeeze in to the same side of the booth. Actually, Lizz did two Valentine’s days in a row (with different people) of ice skating at the Public Gardens followed by dessert at Finale.

Lone Star Taco (477 Cambridge St, Boston) “I like taking people to Lone Star Taco so I can assess if they eat.” — Lizz

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Lizz is a consumer, lover and writer of all things pop culture and the Fashion/Style Editor at Autostraddle.com. She is also full time medical student at Brown University in Providence, RI. You can find her on the twitter, the tumblr or even on the instagram.

Lizz has written 261 articles for us.


  1. No matter where I am, my mind lives in Boston. That city is queer as fuck in every way possible.

  2. Now I want to fly to Boston just to get one of those meat pies since it would easier than flying to Australia

  3. +1 on bicycle commuting – although some roads aren’t the most biker-friendly, I would definitely rather bike to work than drive.

    Question: best place to get clam chowder? As a veg I have no clue but my girl is visiting in August and I want her to try some legit seafood.

    • I would take her to the northshore for some seafood (and the amazing harbor views). Gloucester, Marblehead, Rockport are a few- The Landing in Marblehead has the BEST chowder

  4. yes, yes, yes to everything!

    The “Hot & Healthy Bachelor” at Life Alive is THE BEST, though i feel positively towards anything that has broccoli and cheese in it.

    I want everyone in the world to go to My Thai Vegan in Chinatown. It looks sketchy from the outside and you have to go up a weird stairwell, but it’s surprisingly nice inside. High ceilings, sunny and there are plants everywhere. The food is good and the portions are huge. The Temple Soup is coconut milk, butter squash, sweet potato, peanuts and delicious.

    Flamepoeira used to be my go-to queerish hole in the wall, but it’s gone now.

    Obvs. all I do in Boston is eat.

  5. Judy Jetson is the salon that gave Amy LePeilbet her adorable gay haircut, so they’ve got “contributions to greater humanity” going for them.

    There’s also 2 semi-pro women’s soccer teams here now so if you don’t like baseball or prefer a scene where there’s guaranteed to be at least one queer woman running around out there all sweaty-like, the Breakers now play in Somerville, and there’s also the New England Mutiny.

    • I am so happy someone else noticed the LeP/Judy Jetson connection. They deserve a Nobel Prize for that haircut.

  6. autostraddle, you are the best. when i found out i’d be moving to boston, one of the first things i did was check the site for a queer girl city guide. i am currently awake stressing about flying there in 10 hours and saw this article come up on facebook. you are the beeessssssstttt

  7. My secret hopes have been realized in the form of this Boston Guide. I know a lot about the options here but still learned something. Also, one tip is that GQB tends to have a skewed ratio favoring gay males over queer ladies, so if you’re looking for a high proportion of ladies you might be disappointed at this and other mixed events. On the plus side, Venus and Machine sometimes have themes–with awesome professional dancers who dress accordingly!

  8. I will try to keep all of this in mind if I can ever bring myself to leave my apartment.

  9. despite living in boston my entire life, i had no idea about some of these places.
    definitely bookmarked.

  10. this is super helpful! *love* Life Alive and Cambridge in general. Diesel’s description is dead on. also, thanks for making this post equally informative about locating vegan treats! you ladies rock.

  11. Slightly off topic but I am moving to Boston this August/September for grad school. I’m looking for roommates, preferably gay or queer females/trans/nonbinary/genderqueer type folks. I am looking for a place in Cambridge (preferably Central or Kendall Squares but this is flexible).

    If anyone thinks this sounds like the thing for them (or if you have any friends who might be interested), shoot me an email: holdbackaglacier @ yahoo dot com


  12. woooah, wooooah.. i’ve worked at one of the aforementioned colleges in cambridge (specifically, porter square) and i have NO idea what or where simon’s cafe is. i’m ashamed! must find.

  13. I am so, so close to scoring a job in Portland (Maine) for next year and that would mean I was just two hours on the Downeaster train from Boston… I cannot even explain how awesome that idea was before this article, and now it’s even better. Thanks for the tip about the Orchestra. oh, and all the fun queer drinking opportunities.

  14. This is relevant to my interests I legit moved to Boston the same day this was published. It’s a sign!!

  15. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum- it is full of pretty things and right next to Simmons College.

  16. Totally travel from New York to Boston to get my hair cut at Liquid. I guess to visit friends, too. But mostly for the incomparable alternative lifestyle haircut.

  17. Flawless list. Thank you for the reminder about Life Alive; I’ve been meaning to get there since it opened.

    I have one small quibble: As an inhabitant of Union Square, I must point out that both Union and Davis are in Somerville, not Cambridge. We Somervillians are pretty proud of our little up-and-coming city and, while Cambridge is lovely, we do not want to be lumped in with it because we are our own separate and INTENSELY awesome place. Hipsters and craft fairs and homos, oh my!

  18. That first paragraph about transit in Boston made me laugh so hard because it’s completely accurate.

    Shame I don’t still live in Boston, this list would’ve been super handy.

  19. I ”live” in Boston which in reality means my parents live in a suburb an hour away, and I have travelled into Boston before just to eat at Veggie Planet

  20. Nicely done ladies. Boston is my city of choice. Whenever I find myself with a few days off and nothing to do, I’m usually headed your way. And now you’ve given me new treasures to discover. Very excited about this.. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

  21. Another cafe to check out in the downtown Boston area (near Northeastern) is Render. It’s small, quiet and adorable and they have excellent pour overs for those into them. I’ve also heard the quiches (which are homemade) are to die for.

    Also, for the vegans/vegetarians looking to live in the Allston/Brighton area, the buddhist-inspired Grasshopper is amazing! Everything is vegan. Every third Sunday they have a day long all-you-can-eat buffet and you can even get it to go, which is probably enough to feed you and your partner without a problem.

    • Best! one time they had a ton of extra food towards close and my friends and I got to fill up tons of takeout boxes. They have this faux kielbasa that’s bomb, but the no name is the best thing on the menu hands down.

    • I haven’t eaten at Grasshopper since Rachel left town, but I agree it’s pretty good.

      I didn’t include it or Peace ‘o Pie (Vegan pizza) because I didn’t want the article to be too Allston-heavy just because I live in Allston.

      • On the contrary, I felt like it was really Cambridge/Somerville heavy with little referencing to Allston/Brighton! On the other hand, Allston is probably not the greatest neighborhood for new comers to Boston and a lot of what goes on there is a lot more DIY-y (house shows and whatnot), so I suppose that’s a bit tougher to pin-point and include into a guide.

        • That was totally my fault, because I never felt motivated enough to leave Cambridge/Somerville unless it was to visit Liz. I have eaten at Grasshopper many a time, though, and it is baller as hell. I agree that Allston isn’t quite as visit-able, though; it’s more of a neighborhood to live in than to check out as a tourist.

          • Also though speaking of Allston I really miss Bagel Rising, which I still sometimes dream of and then wake up from crying

  22. Yessss! I am printing this out for my month long trip to Boston in September. It’ll be my own personal checklist.*

    *may actually wimp out from doing anything that scares me too much

  23. I just went to the Otherside Cafe the other day, and I got the greatest vegan nachos I have ever had in my life. Seriously, go get their nachos. Thank me later.

  24. Drink is hands down my favorite place in Boston. Because of how the schedule works out, occasionally there are Sunday nights where all of the bartenders are women. These are excellent nights. Also, Sundays tend to be significantly quieter than the rest of the week and good for conversations with whomever you bring with you (and amazing drinks).

    Brink & Mortar, in Central Square through an unmarked door, is also super cool, if not specifically queer. They have an interesting, changing cocktail menu and the best music selection I’ve ever encountered in a bar, all off of vinyl (if you like things like Sam Cooke and traditional jazz).

  25. I am so psyched about this. I’m moving to Boston in June (or at least western MA, depends on the whole job thing), and my gf’s at Tufts in Somerville. I can’t wait to do allll the dykey things. Also, thanks for the tips on where potentially to look for an apartment.

    Diesel’s hot chocolate is pretty much the best thing ever.

    • also, my gf got her hair cut at Judy Jetson, and apparently it’s pretty super and just the gayest. She has long curly hair though.

  26. Ooh, this is a very timely post as I’ll be traveling to and frolicking around Boston in a week. Yaaay for things to do.

  27. always been been drawn to boston for some reason…one day me & my gay self will live there. fa reals.

  28. Critical omission from this list:

    The BEST, cheapest place to get an alternative lifestyle haircut is of course in Jamaica Plain, at this little place called Miss Laura’s at Clamar. Call and ask for an appointment with Dominique. She will only charge you $30 and she will give you the best haircut of your life, while also having an amazing chat about anything ranging from queer theory to an explanation of all her tattoos to her six-year-old daughter.

    • Dominique is fantastic! So is Miss Laura. That’s where I went when I got my first official Alternative Lifestyle Haircut, and it turned out great. plus the salon is super cozy and kitschy.

  29. Thank you thank you thank you. I’m in the boston area and am totally clueless on the gay scene. This guide will definitely come in handy.

  30. Fun fact: The xiaolongbao that Lizz ate in Xi’an are actually a specialty of eastern China, especially Shanghai and Nanjing (where my family’s from). They’re a special kind of dumpling with a thin, semi-translucent skin covering minced pork marinated in the most delicious soup base you will ever taste. If you’re looking for other authentic Asian eats out there, I recommend the ramen place in Porter Sq. (1815 Mass Ave.) [certified authentic by my Japanese-American friend from SoCal].

    For all you foodies out there, Restaurant Week is also a great way to impress a date. Or just treat yourself to delicious food.

  31. y’all left out Station 8, an amazing(ly queer) haircuttery in JP! on the pricy side ($40ish) but it’s where ALLL of my queer friends get their hair cut. and it’s right next door to Salmagundi which has fabulous dapper hats for ladies, gents, and variations thereupon.

    also I’d like to add Ula’s to the list of coffeeshops where a hot genderqueer barista will probably break your heart–they also have great veggie snacks.

    • Ula’s!! And I got a nice cut once at Station 8 but opted for a cheaper place on the regular.

      I’d like to point out to the authors that JP is not actually far away from “everything else in the city.” I used to think this, too, but it really only is far away from people who live in Somerville/Cambridge or Brighton, etc. It’s not far from downtown if you take the Orange line or the 39, and it’s right next to communities in Boston that are often overlooked (Roxbury). So sure, it’s far from some parts of greater Boston (particularly student-heavy areas), but very close to others.

      • Yes. This article is blatantly skewed towards Allston/Cambridge because that’s where Rachel and I live.

        • no problem…I thought it was a great list of things – hard to cover all of the awesomeness in Boston in one article!

  32. this made me feel 10x better about my impending move to boston. thanks lizz and rachel!!

  33. I’m so happy this list was written up! This is getting me pretty excited about my possible move to Boston. Now that both Boston and Montreal have Queer Girl guides, I won’t be so lost wherever I end up. Thank you, Lizz and Rachel!

  34. I wish someone would submit one of these for Bogota, Colombia! where I’ll be for the next 3 months. Any Colombians?!?! =D


    I have been waiting for this, angsting about where I was going to get my hair cut, and also kind of trying to figure out where to drink and eat and be cool in Boston because that’s where I grew up (Roslindale, for people who know the area) but not where I have lived since I was a teenager, so I’ve been struggling to figure out how to have any kind of young person night out. And now I know that and ALSO how to have a gay night out.

    Next time I’m visiting my folks…HELLO

  36. I lived in Boston for all of two months on a student visa but was not out at that point, I’d love to come back at some stage cuz its such a beautiful city so I’ll save this guide for then : )

  37. I’m hopefully going to college in Boston, so this made me EXTREMELY HAPPY. I’m gonna try to sneak away from the accepted students’ visit to go to Jamaica Plain haha

    • JP is older lesbians (older = not college-age). Instead, you should try to sneak away to Wellesley. There’s a Wellesley-MIT bus that runs every half hour.

    • Come to Wellesley and visit Café Hoop! (our feminist and incredibly queer/queer friendly coffee shop on campus)

    • Maybe JP is changing or I’m lucky, but as someone who lives on the cusp of JP, I’m friends/acquaintences with a lot of fun queer people between 22-30 in JP. Also there’s a bar there where people can bring dogs, which is the best icebreaker. And Video Underground, which is BYOB and 2for1 Tuesdays!

      • yeah, I moved there after I graduated because I didn’t want to live in a student-heavy area (and for the greenspace!). There are definitely lots of twenty-somethings in JP in addition to the older queer population.

        • the Brendan Behan allows dogs…on Centre st at Hyde Square. it’s cash only and has no food though, but you can order amazing drunchies (drunk munchies) from Food Wall Chinese Restaurant across the street.

  38. Also Lizz, you’re like uber super pretty and I may or may not have a giant Internet crush on you.

  39. Queer women in museums is totally a thing. I have noticed this. It makes me very happy about going into museology. :D

    • for the first date with my gf, she asked me out to an art museum. which is coincidentally probably the easiest way for anyone to get into my pants.

      in other words, good career/alternative lifestyle choice combination?

      • Ahhhh for my third date with this girl, she took me to THREE museums and got me an “I love museums” pin! I am definitely suspicious of her motives…

        And yes, I think so. :D

  40. 1. I broke my boycott of Autostraddle to read this review. Thank you. I have been waiting.

    2. Another AWESOME eatery (and vegan) is Veggie Galaxy (owned by the same people who own Veggie Planet). It’s a VEGAN DINER. Breakfast. All the time. That’s vegan. (I hope I made my point here). In Central Square (only a block away from ZuZu).

  41. Unfortunately Boston is so tiny, you will likely bump into your awkward hook-ups/messy entanglements/ex-like situations on the regular.

    But man do I love this city.

    • Yuuuuup. That totally happened to me on the T. The most awkward 40 minutes of my entire existence.

    • A friend from NYU was visiting Boston and the bookstore in (the *big* one) Cambridge had her ex working there…I HAD THE MOST AWKWARD 5 MINUTES OF MY LIFE HAPPEN THERE.

      Other than that, I had a great time in Cambridge.

  42. Ah, I was wondering when a Here/Queer article would be written about Boston!

    For all of my beer aficionados, in addition to Sunset and Deep Ellum, I highly recommend The Penguin in Brigham Circle, The Publick House in Brookline, Yardhouse which just opened around Fenway, and Bukowski’s in Back Bay.

    Also, a tip for the ICA: it’s free on Thursday nights from 5-9. There are also a ton of fantastic restaurants on the waterfront which is perfect in the summer.

    • I would have included Publick house but the last two times I was there I my food was really bad :( I was so bummed out because I used to love it there.

      I’ve never been to the Penguin and I’ll go there ASAP because it’s called The Penguin and that’s awesome.

      • If you like penguins so much, you should have added the Aquarium as a date thing. We (I work there) are actually often on lists of Top 10 Dates in Boston, because it’s somewhat dark and there’s a lot to look at and talk about and all that.

      • Aw, that is a bummer. I can’t remember the last time I actually ate at Publick House though…

        Penguin also has fantastic pizza in addition to their extensive beer list. However, beware of the ridiculous amounts of college students. If you go, I recommend a Sunday night (half price appetizers too!).

        • The Penguin is awesome! They also surprisingly have a pretty decent breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Oh and 10 cent wings on Monday nights.

  43. “Finale is a whole restaurant of nothing but delicious dessert. ”

    My perfect date venue. Aside from it being thousands of miles away.

  44. may i also recommend LA Burdick in Harvard Square for hot chocolate/chocolate that is practically orgasmic?

  45. Hey!

    Just wanted to point out that you left off a really important and useful resource:

    The Network/La Red, which is “a survivor-led, social justice organization that works to end partner abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, BDSM, polyamorous, and queer communities.” TNLR is a statewide organization, but it’s based in Boston.

    For more info visit their website: http://tnlr.org

  46. I’m so excited to see this! I’ve lived here for two years and haven’t experienced much on this list. Thanks!

  47. As someone who lives in the Boston area and is about to turn 21 soon, I find this very relevant to my interests. My friends have promised/threatened to take me bar hopping in celebration. I am now armed with knowledge. Autostraddle never fails to have superb timing for my life.

  48. Boston is still my favourite city…period. I grew up in Central Mass and a trip to Boston was always an exciting adventure.

    IMO, the T is actually not a bad system, having been in other cities, it is one of the better ways to travel.

    It’s interesting, being a Southie changed in my life time. At one time it was synonomous with being Irish.

    One more thing, it is the best college town (counting the ‘burbs, Wellesely, Tufts, Brandeis etc) anywhere.

    Boston Rocks!

    • Southie’s still pretty synonymous with Irish, though gentrifying…but that’s South Boston, not the South End (which has been gay and gentrified for a while). It’s confusing even for longtime residents.

      And I agree, Boston does rock! there are lots of rocks here.

  49. Great list! I would just like to agree with whoever mentioned that JP is not, in fact, far away from “everything” (though I totally understand the reason for the Cambridge focus). I have lived worked in Dorchester/Roxbury for a few years and love all of what you might call “the Boston part of Boston” – Dorchester, Roxbury, Southie, JP. Sure, some of the neighborhoods get a bad rap, but there is tons of great community and amazing people living in all of these neighborhoods. Tons of places to eat and do things too, even if it’s not the yuppified stuff necessarily. I would definitely recommend JP et al. for those reasons.

  50. I just wish they’d do Toronto already. Degrassi’s from there, doesn’t get much gayer than that.

  51. This was totally made because I’m going to BU next year, right?

    /is kidding, but seriously, this is awesome

  52. So…good chance that my lady and I are going to colleges in the Boston area (she to Mount Holyoke, me to..wherever the fuck I can get in). We are both under 21 and we both like to dance. Are there any good clubs or events that are 18+? I haven’t had much luck googling.

  53. so proud to see my city on here! in terms of resources, here are a few others worth including:

    for all your event/housing/etc needs, there’s the list: boston’s queer agenda – http://www.queeragenda.org (as the events editor, i maaaaay be a little bit biased. hmm.)
    also, the boston dyke march – http://www.bostondykemarch.com
    for the lady queers who like to sing, there’s voices rising, boston’s premiere women’s choir – http://www.voicesrising.org
    for the softball players among us – http://www.bawlsoftball.com
    the source of the majority of the ladies nights – http://www.dykenight.com
    the theater offensive – http://www.thetheateroffensive.org

    also, be sure to check out any of the amazing girl bands who perform at venues like the middle east in central square (cambridge), the cantab (also central square), tt the bear’s place, etc! i will take this moment to personally favor one of the awesomest girl bands here — mrs danvers (http://mrsdanvers.com/)

    oh also, hate to be nitpicky, but first fridays are venus rising, and fourth fridays are at the milky way (i noticed it was backwards on the calendar). oh and ps, somerville lesbians ftw!

  54. I just started going to the New England Art Institute and I’m from the area ish so I’m pretty familiar with Boston but now that I’ll be spending way more time in the city this guide is gonna be SO helpful! Now I just need some friends to do all this stuff with!

  55. Boston-area Autostraddlers: unofficial meetup tomorrow night (Saturday 6/23) in Cambridge! Come for vegan treats/beers at Veggie Galaxy in Central Square at 9pm, or join us after that for dancing at TT the Bear’s up the block. I would love love love to meet all of you!

  56. My queer-core band is playing in Boston this Sunday! im soooo glad i found this site! got some good ideas of what to do around the city! thanks!!!

    OH!!!! (shameless plug, i know!) BUT
    we are “Forget it. Goodbye” a Brooklyn,Ny based noisey rock band. AND we are playing the “Women Who Rock” fest @ the Midway Cafe Sunday May 4th.

    we hear its a pretty great place! and now we know where to hang out while we are there! THANX again1 and COME SAY HI TO ME! :)

  57. Thank you guys so much for writing this! I just moved back to the Boston area (living in Cambridge this summer) and this is so on point since I’m finally settled enough to fix my hair and go out for second saturday!! thanks for all the tips, I’m just going to print this article and work my way through everything you reccommended

  58. This is the fist thing that popped up on Google when I searched “lesbian bars Boston”! I have a friend who just moved there and she’s feeling pretty lonely, so I sent her this.

  59. Sadly, Veggie Planet has closed this year. I loved their Mexican Bean pizza. However, Veggie Galaxy is still open in Central Square, and I believe it’s the same owners… just not the same menu. :-(

    • The Otherside Cafe has also closed since the publication of this article. Too bad, I loved their food!

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  63. i would love to make some new friends and meet new people would love to party ..i hope all the info is still up to date..sounds like fun..Pat

  64. Is anyone willing to provide a quick update on Boston housing? I’m moving there in a few weeks and could use some advice on the most green/progressive/queer spots to focus on. Thanks in advance!

  65. Hello! I am doing research for catering and was wondering ifall of these places are queer owned or just queer friendly?

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