Explore Boston

Dubbsy Hub: The Best of Boston's 2-For-1 Culture

Five stores or ten? Boston's “dubbsy” businesses are bound by no rules but their own.

Duality—defined here as the combination of two often unexpected elements—can be a marvelous thing. The quantum world unites waves and particles; the Millennium Falcon allies a Caucasian human with an enormous furry biped from the planet Kashyyyk; chocolate, it turns out, tastes amazing with sea salt. In Boston, a town that has prided itself on toppling conventions since the American Revolution, a growing corner of the retail market has been defying the norm by combining two businesses under one roof. Is there a name for such places? Well, there is now—we’re calling them “dubbsy” ventures, because they offer double the value, and below you can find five of Boston’s finest.

Records and ragout, buy both at Tres Gatos
Records and ragout, buy both at Tres Gatos (Courtesy of Tres Gatos)

Tres Gatos

What do vinyl records and tapas have to do with each other? In nearly every corner of the world, the answer is as simple as nothing, however, nestled deep within Jamaica Plain might be the one place on earth where the two converge. What on the outside appears to be an ordinary home, on the inside is one of Boston’s most unique establishments: a tapas and wine bar that doubles as a record store. Stop in for a glass of Spanish red, a few Iberian small plates, and if you’re lucky, a copy of Bruce Springsteen’s Live in Barcelona.

Ball and Buck
Ball and Buck (©Mike Hodgkinson)

Ball and Buck

Upon first descending into this Newbury Street store, one might think they’ve simply found their way into an above par men’s clothing store. From the Indian dirt bike in the window, to the forty-eight-star American flag on the wall, the assumption wouldn’t be wrong; Ball and Buck however is no ordinary men’s apparel store. Venture past the waxed shooting jackets and the room begins wafting in the sweet scents of barbicide and shaving cream: part clothier and part men’s specialty barbershop, Ball and Buck is redefining what a store for men can be. 

ArtScience Culture Lab & Cafe
ArtScience Culture Lab & Cafe (©Wayne E. Chinnock)

ArtScience Culture Lab and Café

Cambridge plays home to Harvard and MIT, two of the best schools in the world. Outside the academic quads, the city’s hip and youthful neighborhoods contain some of the strongest restaurants in the Boston area. These two elements converge flawlessly at ArtScience Culture Lab and Café, a one of a kind restaurant that combines scientific experimentation and education with fine dining. Born from the mind of David Edwards, a Harvard writer and lecturer with a background in biotech and applied math, ArtScience uses science, research and technology to create their dishes. This combination results in the likes of Le Whaf, a machine that delivers the full taste and smell of food through inhaled vapor. With its apt location, ArtScience is a one of a kind meeting ground for the educational and the edible.

Books and dining at Trident.
Bury your nose in both a book and a bowl of food. (©Alex Oliveira)

Trident Booksellers & Café

Some bookstores are havens for aimless browsing, others standout for their particular selections, while the next might distinguish itself for its lectures and events; at Trident Booksellers and Café you’ll find the best place in the city to find the book you’ve been looking for, a hot place of food, then bury your nose in both. Half bookstore and half casual restaurant, Trident’s shelves and dining room are a welcome break from the retail bustle of Newbury Street and one of Boston’s most unique bookstores and restaurants.

Trillium Brewery
Trillium Brewery (Courtesy Trillium Brewery)

Trillium Brewing Company

Regarded as one of the finest producers of beer on the market, Trillium is the jewel of Boston’s craft brewing scene. Beyond their IPAs and lagers however, the brewery is a gem of an event space in its own right. One of the finest events they hold is known as Sweat and Sip: every month or so, a company called Taproom Yoga holds hour long yoga classes among the brewery casks. When the stretching is done and you’ve reached nirvana, Trillium pours a cold one on the house to cool participants back down to Earth.