Although Allston Village may seem like a strip of stores to pass by on your way to Target, this square is worth a second look. Filled with coffee shops hardly big enough to contain the concentration of ombre-dyed twentysomethings, Allston is a mashup of food you haven’t tried yet and bands you’ve never heard of. This neighborhood is like an I-Spy game—there’s always a vintage guitar or Afghani kebab just around the corner. Next time you leave the bubble, be sure to check out these places:
We all Scream for Dairy-Free Ice Cream
This shop serves up sweet frozen treats with a twist—their ice cream is entirely dairy-free. Instead it’s made with coconut milk and sweetened with agave and cane sugar. Want something a little more conventional? The Samoa and Thin Mint flavors are deliciously accurate takes on your favorite Girl Scout Cookies. If you’re a bit more adventurous, try the Avocado or Pistachio Cardamom flavors, and don’t forget to top your ice cream off with some Agave Gummy Bears.
481 Cambridge St, Allston. Sunday-Thursday, 11a.m.-11p.m., and Friday-Saturday, 11a.m.-12a.m.
The Refuge Cafe endorses a hipster version of the universe: in the replication of the “Creation of Adam” from the Sistine Chapel painted on the ceiling, there is a cup of coffee in God’s outstretched hand. The barista shares this worldview, preparing Raspberry Hott (yes, 2 ‘t’s) Chocolate while chatting with a customer about meeting up at a show later that night. The café serves coffee and espresso drinks, as well as sandwiches (try the “Allstoned Sunrise”), and that graduate student favorite: PBR on tap.
155 Brighton Ave, Monday–Thursday, 7 a.m.–8 p.m., Friday–Saturday, 7 a.m.–11 p.m., and Sunday, 7 a.m.–5 p.m.
Poppin’ Some Tags
A fan of Macklemore? Tired of the Garment District? Only got $20 in your pocket? Then try out this well-stocked thrift shop on Harvard Avenue. Pretend to recognize the bands whose album art decorates the walls while you hunt through selections ranging from hand-me-down numbers from Forever 21 tops and floral 70s nightgowns. Buffalo Exchange is the perfect place to find that $20 BCBG dress you’ve been looking for—or that $15 pair of 50s roller skates.
180 Harvard Avenue, Mon-Thurs 11a.m.-7p.m., Fri-Sat 11a.m.-8p.m., Sun 12p.m.-6p.m.
Just Obscure Enough