Somerville Local First

sponsor: SLF FB

Al Fresco Dining and Drinking in the ‘Ville

May 23 2:52 pm

by Kristen Leonard

With this spring getting off to an exceptionally warm start, it’s hard to want to stay indoors. Luckily, there are lots of outdoor drinking and dining options in Somerville, so shake off the winter and soak up that sun! Because doesn’t everything taste better when eaten outside?

Bloc 11 - Union Square


Bloc 11 Cafe: What better way to start the day than with a coffee and egg sandwich? In addition to
artfully-prepared coffee drinks, Bloc 11 in Union Square features a variety of baked goods and breakfast items as well as delicious salads and sandwiches. So grab a newspaper and snag a spot in the grassy courtyard and get your morning started right.

Precinct - Union Square

Precinct: For those that prefer Bloody Marys and Mimosas over coffee, head over to Precinct in Union Square. Previously home to the Somerville Police Department, this restaurant/bar/music venue boasts a spacious outdoor patio perfect for brunch or afternoon beers. Once you’ve had your fill of the sun, head inside for nightly live music.


The Burren - Davis Square

The Burren: Craving a real Irish breakfast or perfectly-poured Guinness? This Davis Square institution features a small sidewalk patio that’s perfect for people-watching while enjoying your Irish comfort food favorites.


Orleans - Davis Square

Orleans: For a slightly more upscale feel, visit this Davis Square restaurant featuring a combination of creative and comfort food. Take in the fresh air on the patio or grab a table next to the large windows
that open up onto Holland Street.


Posto: This relative newcomer to Somerville has received lots of positive press for its menu featuring wood-fired pizzas. With outdoor tables running along Elm Street, this upscale pizzeria is the perfect place for dinner on a warm evening or brunch on Sundays.

PJ Ryan's - Teele Square

PJ Ryan’s: With seasonally-changing taps that include local favorites from Sam Adams and Harpoon as well as beers from Dogfish Head and Brooklyn Brewery, this Teele Square pub offers sidewalk tables as
well as large restaurant-front windows so you can enjoy the weather without risk of sunburn.


Pretty Things - Good outside, inside, any side!

Perhaps you prefer eating in a greener setting? Swing over to Sherman Market in Union Square and stock your picnic basket with New England-made snacks to enjoy in one of Somerville’s many parks. Or, if you like keeping it a little closer to home, head over to Downtown Wine and Spirits in Davis Square
to pick up some beers from one of the best selections available in Boston. Try the Jack D’Or from
Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, a deliciously spicy Saison, or Happy Sol from Slumbrew, a refreshing
Hefeweizen fermented with the juice of 1,000 blood oranges. Both are a perfect way to cap off a sunny
afternoon on your porch.


Do you have a fave outdoor spot to dine in Somerville?  If we missed it, tell us in the comment section below!

Bloc 11 Café
11 Bow Street
Somerville, MA
(617) 623-0000

The Burren
247 Elm Street
Somerville, MA
(617) 776-6896

Downtown Wine and Spirits
225 Elm Street
Somerville, MA
(617) 625-7777

65 Holland Street
Somerville, MA
(617) 591-2100

PJ Ryan’s
239 Holland Street
Somerville, MA
(617) 625-8200

187 Elm Street
Somerville, MA
(617) 625-0600

70 Union Square
Somerville, MA
(617) 623-9211

Sherman Market
22 Union Square
Somerville, MA
(617) 666-0179

Crafty Shopping: A Guide to Somerville’s Holiday Craft Fairs

Dec 02 9:57 am

By Nancy Anderson, owner of Canis Major Herbals, with additions by the editor

This post is part of our series covering Shift Your Shopping Week, which runs in Somerville from December 2-11. Shift Your Shopping week highlights holiday shopping themed events and gift ideas from local businesses to promote choosing local and independent this holiday season. Shift Your Shopping week is part of SLF’s 3rd annual Shift Your Shopping campaign, now a national collaboration of hundreds of local business networks. To find out more about Shift Your Shopping, related events, and how you can get involved, please visit


Somerville onesie, with letters from, respectively: MA license plate, Orange line, McKinnon's, Rosebud, Rockin' Bob's Guitars, Somerville Theatre, Sligo, StellaBella, and Fenway Park

If you’re looking for that one-of-a-kind gift this holiday season and want to support your local businesses and artisans (an excellent choice, by the way), Somerville definitely makes it easy to do both in one stop. From open studios to craft fairs to your neighborhood hipster craft goods store, there is an abundance of fun, inventive, creative, and certainly unique stuff to ogle in the coming weeks. (Oh, and admission to all of the following events is free.)


December starts off with a veritable smattering of events all over Somerville. Mudflat Studios, at 81 Broadway, is offering an Open Studio and Sale from Dec 2nd through the 11th. Hours are…

Friday, December 2nd: 6 - 10pm

Saturday & Sunday December 3rd & 4th: 10am - 6pm

Monday – Friday, December 5th – 9th: noon - 9pm

Saturday & Sunday, December 10th & 11th: 10am - 6pm


Want to help support local high school students?

On December 2nd, from 6-9pm, the West Somerville Neighborhood School Craft Fair and Vendor Show, billed as “a vendor and craft show featuring crafters with unique creations,” features over 25 local artisans and vendors, offering a wide assortment of handmade items such as homemade jams, specialty chocolates, children’s gifts, hair feathers, beading and accessories, Wish Pearls, jewelry, kitchen tools, candles, holiday pins, ornaments and decorations, and much more. The event will also include free samples, and contributions from each table will be raffled off. All proceeds benefit the WSNS students, so head on over to 177 Powderhouse Blvd!

And don’t forget about the middle schoolers!

The Kennedy School near Porter Square will be having its 2nd annual Gift Fair on December 5th from 5:30-8:30pm. Browse handmade jewelry, bath and beauty products, accessories, ornaments, candles, and more! Be sure to get some pizza and stop by the bake sale to benefit the middle school government.

Winter Craft Market!

On Saturday, December 3rd, head down to Union Square Plaza and Precinct Bar for Union Square Main Streets’ Winter Craft Market, between 11am and 4pm. USMS lists “a variety of handmade products including jewelry, pottery, housewares, knitwear, toys, ornaments, perfume, and more.”

While you’re in Union Square, head over to the Washington Street Open Studios between noon and 5pm to partake of yet more excellent artwork.

Local Artist Markets!

The Burren is featuring a few Saturday Local Artist Markets in December. SLAM Holiday Artist Markets are running December 3rd, 10th, and 17th, all from noon to 4pm.

A Snow Mall!

Don’t miss the 2nd annual Snow Mall at Arts at the Armory on Dec 11th from noon to 6pm, where 40 hand-selected vendors will fill your every holiday need. Arts at the Armory is at 191 Highland Ave.

Bad-ass Comics!

But what do you get for one who has everything? And the one who has everything, we mean the comic-lover who has back issues of just about every popular release you can think of. You need reinforcements, so get to the Comicazi Con & Bad-ass Bazaar at the Dilboy VFW on Sunday, December 4th from 10am-4pm. But whether you’re buying for the comic aficionado, noob, or someone who has never picked one up in their life, you’ll find something for everyone - comics penned by local artists, toys and figures, jewelry and fine crafts, baked goods, even crocheted superhero hats! (Ok, and we lied - this event is the only one on the list that’s not free. But come on, if you really don’t have the measly $4 admission, you can always just beat up one of the nerds and steal their lunch money, amiright?)

Shifting All Season

And, of course, don’t forget to stop in and browse the always unique goods at…


416 Highland Ave in Davis Square
Mon - Wed: 11:00am - 6:00pm
Thu: 11:00am - 7:00pm
Fri - Sat: 11:00am - 6:00pm
Sun: 12:00pm - 6:00pm


Blue Cloud Gallery

713 Broadway in Ball Square
Now open Mondays for the holiday season!
Monday - Saturday: 11am to 7pm
Sunday: 11am to 5pm

Check out the new photo paintings by Marshall featuring your favorite local haunts. Head to the gallery before December 4th to enter a raffle to win a free photo painting of your own original photograph! Check out some photos of other items currently for sale below.


Jane Proctor Pottery



Gentle Vessels by V Van Sant



Horse Statues


Shift Your Shopping Week Event Calendar

Nov 29 11:01 pm

This post is part of our series covering Shift Your Shopping Week, which runs in Somerville from December 2-11.  Shift Your Shopping week highlights holiday shopping themed events and gift ideas from local businesses to promote choosing local and independent this holiday season. Shift Your Shopping week is part of SLF’s 3rd annual Shift Your Shopping campaign, now a national collaboration of hundreds of local business networks. To find out more about Shift Your Shopping, related events, and how you can get involved, please visit

Shift Your Shopping Week starts this Friday, folks, and lasts through Dec. 11! That’s 10 whole days of holiday fun! We’ve put together a calendar of events for you for the week, so that means no excuses (we’re looking at you, last minute gift buyers).

December 3


The picture says it all

Groundwork Somerville: Maple Syrup Brunch Fundraiser

Join GWS on December 3 at The Independent in Union Square for the third annual Maple Syrup Project Fundraiser! Brunch will be served from 10am-4pm on Saturday and 20% of proceeds will be donated to the Somerville Maple Syrup Project.

Artisan’s Asylum Grand Opening

Come join the Artisan’s Asylum Saturday, December 3, 1-5pm. The new facility will be open to the public all afternoon, with tours and exhibits and food and full Asylum services finally available. You’ll be able to check out the facilities, meet the staff and members, see all the work members are doing, sign up for daily and monthly memberships, register for our next round of classes, and purchase gift certificates and unlimited class passes just in time for the holiday season.

Support local artisans and craftspeople

Support local artisans and craftspeople

Union Square Winter Craft Market

Winter Craft Market in Somerville’s Union Square offers distinctive, handmade holiday gifts for everyone on your shopping list! From 11am to 4pm, Precinct will be filled with local vendors, including Albertine Press, Susanna Brown, Citizen Chain, Community Growing Center, Dinofrio Handbags, Jennifer Durkin, Esoterica Jewelry, Forest Karma Soap, Funky Monkey Colorworks, Emily Garfield, Alice Grossman, Jo Jo, Rocklen Designs, Salamander Arts, Silverfalls Designs, Three Graces Designs, Union Press, Union Square Main Streets, and Emily Weisman.

Libana: Artisans of India 2011 Holiday Marketplace

On December 3 (10am-6pm) & 4 (11am-6pm), head to the Third Life Studio in Union Square for an Indian-inspired craft fair right in your own backyard! Come for a weekend of food, fun and cameo performances by Libana, while you browse the array of global Fair Trade crafts, festive scarves and imports from India, and Libana CDs and merch. Proceeds will benefit the women artisans of Barefoot College in Rajasthan and SEWA in Gujarat.

Washington Street Art Center Winter Open Studios and “My Blue Heaven” by Gretchen Ann Graham

Join the Washington Street Art Center from 12-5pm for the 7th annual Winter Open Studios. Come by and support local artists in your community as WSAC kicks off Washington Street Saturdays. There’ll be plenty of art, snacks, and affordable small works for gift giving. Then, be sure to come back in the evening from 6-9pm for the opening reception for “My Blue Heaven” Photographs by Gretchen Graham (also on view Saturdays in December from 12-4pm).

The Burren: SLAM Holiday Artist Market

For truly unique gifts this holiday season, the Saturday Local Artist Market (SLAM) is holding three holiday markets on December 3, 10, & 17 from 12-4pm. You’ll find a great selection of crafts including painting, photography, jewelry, textiles, glass, ceramics, handmade soaps, artisan foods and much more. A different mix of artists will exhibit each Saturday, so you’re sure to find that one-of-a-kind gift. When you get hungry from all that shopping, The Burren will also be offering $5 lunch specials on market day.

December 4

Discover the bounty of Windsor Street!

Discover the bounty of Windsor Street!

Albertine Press: 561 Windsor Street Open Studios

Meet the denizens of Somerville’s hotbed of creative businesses - from chocolate makers to letterpress printers and everything in between. Shop local for the holidays and maybe take up fencing while you’re at it! This event is free and open to the public. It will take place on Sunday between 12 and 4 pm at various studios throughout the building 561 Windsor Street, Somerville. Free parking is available.

QRST’s “Yard Sale”

During the Open Studios from 12-3pm, QRST’s will be having a “yard sale” of all brand new blank apparel odds and ends! Brand new t-shirts only $2, polos for $4, sweatshirts & sweatpants for $5, and ALL American Apparel brands are only $5 per piece. QRST’s will also be offering ALL of their online store apparel at 50% off. Purchase anything from a coffee mug to local Boston band t-shirts.

E. Scott Originals & CarrieSewFancy: Everyday Glamour

From 5-9pm above Carrie’s Fancy Sewing Studio, join e. scott originals jewelry and CarrieSewFancy clothing for an evening of glamour! New collections will be unveiled, presents will be purchased, drinks will be drank, good times will be had!

December 5

Knucklebones’ Epicenter of Athletic Services Grand Opening

Knucklebones is pleased to announce the GRAND OPENING (Stage 1) of Knucklebones’ Epicenter of Athletic Services! To celebrate this special day, they will have free athletic games and activities from 9am-6pm on Monday, December 5th for ages six months to six years.  Come by and meet the KB team, register for upcoming classes, find out more about our retail and, of course, play with the coolest and most unique athletically inclined products around.

Chocolate. ‘Nuff said

December 10

Taza Chocolate Holiday Fiesta

Taza’s free Holiday Fiesta is coming! Join them December 10 & 11 from 11am-5pm for two days of sampling, sipping and shopping for locally made treats. Warm up with some Taza hot chocolate, enter the raffle to win free Taza Chocolate prizes, and shop for Factory Store Limited specials. Counter Culture Coffee, Somerville Brewing Company, and Sofra Bakery will also be there at different point in the day to sample their own tasty holiday treats


Snow Mall - Holiday Marketplace

December 11

Arts at the Armory: Snow Mall

Take a break from the malls and support local artists and craftspeople at the second annual holiday marketplace- SNOW MALL. Peruse all manner of local crafty goods for free from 12-6pm in the Armory’s performance hall. Get an in depth look at some of the vendors on the Snow Mall Facebook page.


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