Beantown Flavor

Boston may not be considered the “Cradle of Liberty” by African Americans, but this harbor city once served as a home for abolitionists and the Underground Railroad.

Today, what outsiders don’t realize, says Boston Globe Columnist Adrian Walker, [is that Boston] is a quietly changing city and one of the most intellectually stimulating centers in the country. “There are blacks who have a negative perception of Boston until they visit,” Walker says of the place he’s called home for the last 13 years. “It’s a lot less racist than it used to be.” Boston, which has financial services as its main industry, is home to major companies. such as Gillette, Booz Allen Hamilton, John Hancock, and BE 100s companies Rhumbline and One United. Boston will host next year’s Democratic Convention.
around town

For the most discriminating of travelers, Walker suggests the Bostonian classic XV Beacon. This boutique hotel with only 68 rooms is a triple treat, landing on Walker’s top bar, restaurant, and hotel lists. “It’s a perfect location with the best of everything.” (15 Beacon St.; 617-670-1500)

Boston Harbor Hotel Guests are met with the scent of freshly cut flowers, Italian marble, and historic art. “You can’t find a better view than this place.” (70 Rowes Wharf; 617-439-7000)

The Four Seasons Hotel is within easy access to business centers and entertainment venues, offering views of Beacon Hill and the Public Garden. “Its name says it all.” (200 Boylston St.; 617-338-4400)

For surf and turf lovers, Grill 23 & Bar satisfies both cravings. “I take my friends here because they can get the best filet mignon or really good seafood.” (161 Berkeley St.; 617-542-2255)

For soul food and live jazz try Bob The Chef’s Jazz Cafe. It’s a favorite professional’s mixer spot on Thursdays after work. (604 Columbus Ave.; 617-536-6204)
Established in 1875, Locke-Ober is a Boston landmark. It has 11 private rooms and some of the best old-school chowder and lobster bisque (3 Winter Place; 617-542-1340)

Via Matta “is your classic high-end Italian dinner. You can’t go wrong.” (79 Park Plaza; 617-422-0008)

Capitol Grill “is an elegant place with great martinis and the best bartenders” (359 Newbury St.; 617-262-8900)

At the Oak Bar in the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel “everyone does business here. It’s like drinking at the Waldorf-Astoria.” (138 St. James Ave.; 617-267-5300)

If you’re tired of beer and gin and tonic, Walker suggests crossing over to Cambridge to Beeside Lounge. “It’s on everyone’s short list for their imagination of drinks.” (92 Hampshire St.; 617-354-0766)

Wally’s Cafe is one of America’s oldest family-operated jazz clubs and has served as a training ground for many of today’s most celebrated musicians. (427 Massachusetts Ave.; 617-424-1408)

“Don’t do it,” Walker warns. Boston is known as one of the most expensive places to park (averaging $30 a day). Street parking is challenging. Boston’s a very compact city conducive to either walking or hopping in a cab.

Olive’s Beauty Salon “The owner, Olive Benson, is known throughout the industry for her knowledge of hair care.” (565 Columbus Ave.; 617-247-3333)

At Boston’s renowned James