This centrally located neighborhood has come a very long way from its “combat zone” past, when it was a sailor’s dream of sex shops and drug dealers. Formerly bisected by the old elevated highway, perhaps no neighborhood has benefited more from the Big Dig’s replacement of the dank underbelly of I-93 with wide open parkland.
Start your exploration with a relaxing jaunt to Absolute Massage [48 Boylston St. 617.460.0342. bostonabsolutemassage.com], where you can get loosened Swedish style by the same hands that have worked on members of the Celtics and the Red Sox. Then, to ensure that your dentist is sufficiently occupied during your next appointment, visit Eldo Candy House [36 Harrison Ave. 617.350.7977], and witness floor-to-ceiling walls filled with fresh Asian sweets.
Now that you’re feeling like a million bucks, make sure you look it—head over and see grandfather-esque Nick the Tailor [33 Harrison Ave. 617.338.9055], who can easily fix up your old stuff like he’s done for numerous others for decades on end. Once the clothes are on and you’re looking spiffy, make sure to stop by Chaba Florists [63 Stuart St. 617.423.0468] on your way to dinner to pick up flowers that will surely soften the heart of any companion.
When you need more than stale lo mein for a late-night feast, both Shabu-Zen [16 Tyler St. 617.292.8828. shabuzen.com] and Pearl Villa [25 Tyler St. 617.338.8770] provide an enjoyable and delectable nosh well into the very late night. A city that never sleeps, we’re not, but South Street Diner [178 Kneeland St. 617.350.0028. southstreetdiner.com] offers late, late (early morning) fare and always a scene to be seen.
And for those nostalgic for the “olden days,” you can venture into the upscale gentlemen’s club Centerfolds [12 Lagrange St. 617.292.2600. centerfoldsboston.com], one of only two strip clubs in the city (how Puritan). Or head down the eventful and gay-prideful South Street, where the carnal-curious can visit Calamus Bookstore [92B South St. 617.338.1931. calamusbooks.com] for all their queer information needs, and Marquis Leathers [92 South St. 617.426.2120] to pick up a leather dining chair and a kinky sex toy.