By Hoodline

BOSTON (Hoodline) – Want the inside word on Boston’s most happening local spots? We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp to discover which local businesses have been getting extra notice in December.

To find out who made the list, we looked at Boston businesses by category, counting how many reviews each received. Then we did some math magic to identify statistically significant outliers. Read on to see which spots are getting plenty of attention, right now.

Democracy Brewing

Photo: mike b./Yelp

Open since July 4, this brewery and traditional American spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as “American (Traditional)” on Yelp.

Citywide, traditional American spots saw review counts increase by a median of 2.6 percent over the past month, but Democracy Brewing saw a 21.5 percent increase, with a slight downward trend from a 4.5-star rating a month ago to four stars today.

Located at 35 Temple Place (between Tremont Street and Winter Place) in Downtown Crossing, Democracy Brewing offers five of its own core drafts, which include an ale, IPA and saison daily, and have another five that are available on a rotating basis. On the food menu, it serves pub fare such as wings, burgers, pizza, soups and salads.

City Winery

Photo: city winery/Yelp

Whether or not you’ve been hearing buzz about West End’s City Winery, the event space and wine bar spot is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as “Wine Bars” on Yelp increased their review count by a median of 1.8 percent over the past month, City Winery bagged a 9.5 percent increase in reviews within that time frame, with a slight upward trend from a 2.5-star rating a month ago to its current three stars.

Open at 80 Beverly St. since fall of 2017, City Winery offers cuisine that borrows from Mediterranean history – Italian, French, Spanish and Middle Eastern cultures that pairs simple food with wine, according to its website. On the menu, it serves small plates like chickpea hummus and risotto balls, and large plates such as shrimp piri piri with pepper sauce and couscous salad and grilled skirt steak. Wine is available on tap or by the glass and bottle.

Bootleg Special

Photo: bootleg special/Yelp

South End’s Bootleg Special has been consistently making waves for the last couple months. Open since February at 400 Tremont St. (between Arlington and Appleton streets), the tapas bar and Cajun/Creole spot, which offers seafood and more, has seen a 7.7 percent bump in reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.8 percent for all businesses tagged “Seafood” on Yelp.

Bootleg Special offers small plates, oysters on the half shell, boils and fried seafood. Diners can grab a seafood etouffee of clams, shrimp and mussels; the Root n Boot salad on the small plates section of the menu ; or build their own boil with an assortment of seafood options. Over the past month, it’s maintained a solid four-star rating among Yelpers.


Photo: jacquith p./Yelp

Back Bay’s Explorateur is the city’s buzziest bar by the numbers.

The popular bar and French and New American spot, which opened at 186 Tremont St. last December, increased its review count by 10.2 percent over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median review increase of 2.4 percent for the Yelp category “Bars.”

It’s not the only trending outlier in the bar category: Tuscan Kitchen has seen a 9.9 percent increase in reviews, and Coogan’s has seen a 4.9 percent bump.

Explorateur offers cheese and charcuterie boards, hors d’oeuvres like fried cauliflower and lamb meatballs, and has everything from roasted chicken to grilled scallops on the entrees section. To view the wine, beer and cocktail menu, click here.


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