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Glamorous restaurant...in Boston.

My manager's wife would like to be taken somewhere "glamorous" for her birthday...a restaurant where she can dress up, have good food, and perhaps go dancing afterwards. They are in their 50s and moderately adventurous eaters. As an example of their taste, they enjoy Eastern Standard Kitchen, Island Creek Oyster Bar, etc.

He asked for my advice but both he and I are a bit stumped over this (and we aren't entirely sure what she means by "glamorous"). When I searched for "glamorous" in the Boston section of Chowhound, exactly one result came up (and it didn't have anything to do with a glamorous restaurant!).

I've thought of L'Espalier or Menton (maybe with a visit to Drink or Lucky's Lounge afterwards) but other ideas would be appreciated.

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  1. I think you're on the right track with L'Espalier and Menton. My impression is that the Oak Long Bar & Kitchen has more opulent decor than those two, but what do I know? I haven't been to any of them. I can tell you firsthand that neither Drink or Lucky's fits the bill. Wherever they end up eating, they should cab it to The Hawthorne afterward for a more glamorous cocktail experience, unless it's a weekend, when any decent lounge/bar is too packed for glamor.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pollystyrene

      I have to disagree about the Oak Long Bar & Kitchen. Before the renovation, the Oak Bar had an element of glamor. Now it's just a temporarily buzzy spot that I'm betting is just a flash in the pan. RIP Oak Bar. *sob*

      Sorellina across the street is a good idea.

    2. Mistral seems to offer quite a dramatic visual experience as well as a stylish scene.

      1. I love the idea of an old-fashioned supper club, a posh nightclub with good food, drinks, live music and dancing, but that seems quaint by modern standards. I tell folks who want to dance after dinner to inquire about that separately from the where-to-dine question.

        I like Menton and L'Espalier as occasion-dining places, but their crowds mostly strike me as square and prosperous, not glamorous. Ditto places whose food I like where a mostly older crowd dresses up a bit, like No. 9 and Hamersley's. You could say the same about the many high-end steak places, fancy-hotel restaurants, and celeb-chef joints that many of us rely on for big nights out.

        If you want a place where people are a bit more style-consciously dressed up for a fancy meal, I'd look to restaurants like Sorellina, Mistral, Clio/Uni (all with worthy if expensive food in my book) and perhaps Oishii Boston and the new Oak Long Bar (which are fine but less interesting food-wise to me). I expect the brand-new Cinquecento hopes to have that kind of crowd.

        There are places that combine a nightclub vibe with food, where people don the current 20/30-something idea of being dressed up for a weekend night out, but I suspect this might not be what 50-somethings will appreciate, and I'm generally not excited by the food at them. The Empire / Gem / Red Lantern troika is one of these, as are Clink and Alibi at the Liberty Hotel.

        I guess Boston is mostly just a doesn't-care-about-glamour kind of town when it comes to dining out. Women still put in an effort; most guys rarely go beyond an untucked collared dress shirt and "nice jeans". No Boston restaurateur can afford to have much of a dress code these days: the culture has just gotten too used to the idea that very casual dress should fit every occasion. And I don't know many folks over the age of 30 who want dancing as part of their evening anymore.

        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

        5 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          I agree with MC Slim overall, but I actually think that Clink or Scampo in the Liberty Hotel might be just the ticket. Market in the W Hotel might be a good choice too.

          Coppa and Toro also have a cool vibe to them that might be appropriate.

          1. re: lipoff

            I have to disagree with Clink and Scampo being anything near glamorous. The Liberty is a loud scene, but I've yet to detect its magnetism. Coppa and Toro are pretty casual, elbow-to-elbow places.

            1. re: lipoff

              Toro's 'cool' and delicious, but in my experience with the place, I don't think many people's idea of 'glamorous' includes standing outside for a few hours waiting for a table.

              1. re: lipoff

                i like Coppa but do not think that glamorous is a word to describe it.

                I love the idea of a supper club with dancing, but i think that you will have to go to NYC in th 1950s for that or perhaps Las Vegas; i have never been there.

                I just ate at Le Bernadin in NYC; I consider that a glamorous restaurant.

                1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                  Somehow this thread would not have been complete without a certain someone mentioning Le Bernadin or Jean Georges for the 100,000th time even though they still remain located in another city not covered by this board :)

                  Given the stated preference for Island Creek which I think is one of the most stylish decors in Boston, I thought of Sorellina, Mistral and Rialto (the Regattabar is a plus just upstairs but often closed in this period). And though it is no Jean Georges, Market by Jean Georges might be a possibility as well. Someone also mentioned Bond which could work though I don't think the food would be as good as at most of these but that might not be the focus.

            2. I think the real answer here is: Take your wife to NYC!

              3 Replies
              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                I'd agree the NYC call.

                There's nothing glamorous about Menton, unless high prices makes you feel special.

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  Bingo!!! Take the Acela down, pay the bucks go first class, get off in Penn Station and there is no shortage of glamorous restaurants.

                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                    Even in NYC, restaurants and night clubs largely have gone their separate ways. There are exceptions - The Darby, for example, on 14th St. -- but while NYC of course has no shortage of great restaurants, and great sophisticated restaurants, I'm not sure which ones qualify as "glamorous" in the sense that the OP is using the word. Boston has really good sophisticated restaurants, too, although small in number compared to NYC.

                  2. The dining room at Miel is pretty glamorous. I've only been once, a few years ago, but I remember lots of white and gilded surfaces. We were there with a group and weren't out of place all dressed up.

                    1. Oak Long Bar is noisy and decidedly not glamorous in my book.

                      1. I haven't heard anyone mention Bond yet, but I think it could be a pretty good fit here. That, to me, is a very "glamorous" sort of place. You might get a wannabe crowd on a Saturday, or something, but like others have mentioned, there is no 100% surefire option. If I was taking your average 50 year old woman out I'd feel pretty confident doing Bond. The space itself is going to do 75% of the work.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: FinnFPM

                          Bond is a great suggestion. Top of the hub has dancing. The reviews on their food is mixed.

                          1. re: FinnFPM

                            i am a 40-something woman and i cannot abide bond. yes, the room is pretty, but the crowd is horrible (at least during the week), the service haphazard at best and the food forgettable.

                            feh.

                            of all the rooms listed for dining, i think clio or sorrelina are the nicest. mistral is loud with lots of hard surfaces and hasn't had a face-lift in almost 15 years.

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              The olfactory overload really detracts from the enjoyment of a sit down meal at Clio. There was always the nori and fish scents wafting up from Uni. Now that has been compounded by burning sugar and other odors from the expert mixology at the bar. It really can throw the palate off for the kind of refined food Clio serves. I love going to the bar at Clio, but you can keep the dining room and Uni.

                              While the bar can be very noisy. I have never found the dining room at Mistral to be too loud, and I am someone who has trouble holding onto conversations with a lot of background noise going on.

                          2. Glamorous in Boston with dancing? Doesn't exist!
                            CocoDan

                            1. I second Sorellina and Mistral. The interior of Sorellina is definitely glamorous and sexy, and it draws a 30s "see and be seen crowd". Mistral has the same vibe, but I like the interior of Sorellina more. No dancing, though. Don't know of any "supper club" type places in Boston where you can dine, drink and dance.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Kat

                                Eat drink and dance at Beehive. Maybe Darryl's? I haven't been in this incarnation and don't know if there's a spot to dance. Anyway, they are "nice" but not glamorous.

                                It sounds like dinner at Rialto, drinks at Noir, and music at Regattabar might be the kind of evening the OP is interested in. It's not NYC-level glamour, and it's in a hotel, but the food is good, and the Regattabar gets some really good acts.

                              2. We have not been to the redecorated Clio, but before the makeover it was as close as you could find in Boston to the classic NYC/Parisian supper club. Perhaps someone who has been since can comment, as well. Also, it is small enough that, if you are not dressed nicely - if not glamorously - you tend to stick out, so you saw less shoddiness. A similar place is the dining room at Number Nine Park - small enough that most visitors take the time to put a bit of effort into their attire. No dancing either place, alas.

                                1. Maybe dinner at L'Espalier and then walk over to Top of the Hub for a drink and dance.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. I wish I did know of someplace in Boston that was still "fred and ginger" but I don't. Weirdly retro in that it might remind you of that golden age, is Cafe Escadrille in Burlington which I think has music, a dance floor, and a "Gourmet Room" with quite a good wine list - can't speak to the food because I've only been once and I had the lobster. I will say the people there that night were dressed up.

                                    1. Doesn't Upstairs on the Square have dancing sometimes? Not glamorous as a restaurant but it's very good and it certainly has its charms.

                                      1. Thank you everyone for all these great ideas! I've passed them along to my manager and he is mulling over his options. I'll let you know how they do.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: wandergirl

                                          erbaluce (theatre district/bay village) is a very romantic place with great food. they would be within walking distance of many dance clubs and hotels - including aforementioned W.

                                          a bigger question is - what kind of dancing? lots of landmines with that one. are they jazz people? swing people? top 40 people?