Allston-Brighton, Massachusetts is a part of the city of Boston, though it has alternated annexation over the years. First founded in 1646, Allston-Brighton was known as Little Cambridge for the better part of the 18th century. In 1807, Allston-Brighton separated from the City of Cambridge. For nearly a century, Allston-Brighton thrived as a meat-packing and slaughter town; in 1874, the City of Boston annexed Allston-Brighton.
Today, Allston-Brighton is known as the student village, owing to the enormous number of college students and recent graduates that live in the area. Boston University and Boston College bookend Allston-Brighton.
For more general history, visit the Allston-Brighton Historical Society.
Get in & around
Travelling to Allston-Brighton by car is generally a bad idea and a means of transportation to be avoided if at all possible. Parking is difficult, extremely limited, and ticketing is very aggressive. Allston-Brighton can be reached via I-90 (Exit 20), as well as State Routes 20 and 30. One of the main thoroughfares in Allston-Brighton is Commonwealth Avenue, State Route 30.
The MBTA buses and Green Line LRV run through Allston-Brighton on Commonwealth Avenue and Brighton Avenue.
Allston-Brighton has some of the best ethnic restaurants in the metro Boston area, bar none. Brazilian, Vietnamese, and Middle Eastern dominate, and the bars aren't half bad either, but more on that later. The best indicator of the local restaurants' quality are the patrons - if you want good Vietnamese, follow the Vietnamese crowd.
Pho Pasteur - 137 Brighton Avenue - home of some of the best Vietnamese around. Their spring rolls are to die for.
Cafe Brazil - 201 Brighton Avenue near the OscoDrug - amazing buffet of Brazilian and South American foods.
Allston-Brighton is the student village of the area, and naturally you would expect bars. Lots of bars. You'd not be incorrect.
Caveat - as of 2003, there is no smoking in any restaurant or bar in the metro Boston area.
The Sunset Bar and Grill - with the exception of some bar in DC, the Sunset has the largest selection of beer in the country. 130 beers on tap, more than 300 bottled varieties. Get your free beer card at the door - then sample 20 different beers, and you get a t-shirt. There are bar stools with nametags on them. The honored ones sampled every beer the Sunset has.
Big City - combination bar and pool hall, served by the Sunset. Exceptionally nice.
The Silhouette Lounge - If you are looking for the kind of bar that Archie Bunker would visit, this is it. The ceiling tiles are gray with age and dirt, the jukebox is broken, and the patrons are way past college age.
Christopher S. Penn lived in Allston-Brighton from 1998-2001.