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Ask the Local

For those of you not paying attention, there is excitement in the air. Specifically, one of the few remaining seedy neighborhoods in Boston is getting gentrified at a furious pace. Yes, that’s right – I’m talking about the Ladder District…

The Ladder District sits between Boston Common and Downtown Crossing, and is so named because the narrow streets look like rungs running between the larger and longer Tremont and Washington Streets. To get there, you can take the Red Line T to Park St, or the Green Line to Boylston. You can even walk there easily from such HBS haunts as Pravda and (shiver) the Alley.

Although there are other older tenants in the area – notables including Fajitas and ‘Ritas (25 West St, Boston), known for decent fajitas, pitchers of margaritas, and crayons to draw on the walls, and The West Street Grille (15 West St, Boston), featuring several well-appointed bars – I am going to focus instead on two relative newcomers:
Mantra (52 Temple Pl, Boston) – This is the latest coolest place in Boston. Mantra is a fusion of French and Indian cooking. Be warned, the prices are steep and the portions are small, but for a short time you will feel like you’ve made it. Also, Mantra is the home to the most unique urinal in Boston (I’m not kidding – check it out), which is reason enough for me to go.

Loews Boston Common (175 Tremont St, Boston) – Although the movies here cost $10, it might just be worth it. This new theatre has all the amenities you would expect – multiple snack bars, assorted video games to pass the time, stadium seating and surround sound, and even snuggle seats (the arm-rest goes up between most seats). It also has another great innovation – a bar upstairs where you can wait. Now, I’m not saying I would go there to hang out, but it definitely beats lurking in the lobby by the ticket booth.

Silvertone (69 Bromfield St, Boston) – Okay, this place is not new, but it is expanding to meet the new Ladder District demand. It’s a cool little downstairs bar that serves a great BLT and other items that are low-maintenance but less greasy than most bar food. The main clientele are the hipsters of downtown – think advertising rather than banking.
The area is also awaiting the reopening of Boston’s Locke-Ober, under the new ownership of Lydia Shire of Biba fame.

Hey, I’m just trying to keep you guys at the forefront of cool…
The Local

Send questions about Cambridge, Boston, and the surrounding area to The_Local@mba2002.hbs.edu

November 19, 2001
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