Sunday, April 18, 2010

Brighton Center's Hidden Treasures

A handful of bars, coffee shops and chain restaurants: Brighton Center blends in with any given populated area in any of Boston’s streetcar suburbs. While many glaze past these Washington Street blocks, a closer look and you’ll find some unique locations and oddities that set the area apart from the mold.

If you’re looking for cheap, unhealthy and terrible food, you’re in luck. You’ll find Domino’s, Quiznos, Cold Stone Creamery, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts all conveniently located just steps away from each other. If you’re afraid you’ll slip into a food coma after the pizza, subs, lattes and milkshakes, make sure Dunkin Donuts is your last stop. Brighton Center’s franchise is perhaps the classiest in Massachusetts. You’ll find couches to lounge in, giving you a great view of the HDTV which often has a Nintendo Wii hooked up to it. Video games aren’t your thing? Don’t worry, there’s a fireplace too. You can pretend you’ve gone back to a simpler time… but unfortunately your large iced coffee is still going to cost $2.75.

Here to run errands? Okay, go to the Brighton post office. You hate going to the post office because the lines are interminable and the employees are apathetic. Luckily, this post office has employees who know that, and they seem to pride themselves on making customers feel like they’re in the Twilight Zone. The lines move quickly and the service is friendly; the place is so efficient you’ll think you accidentally walked into one of those non-government-funded shipping stores where the employees actually value their customers.

Then there’s Palace Spa. It’s not a spa or a palace. It’s a convenience store. Their food and beverage selection is nothing special, but their real business seems to be in peddling vice. No matter what time of day, you’ll always find people in this shop playing Keno or buying lottery tickets. Additionally, Palace Spa is the only place in the area where you can buy rolling tobacco by the tin, and their prices rival some of the more well-known places around Boston (like that “color-changing-glass 'tobacco' pipe” shop in Kenmore Square).

Then, among all of this, there’s Diskovery. This independent book store is the kind of place you forgot existed. Books are stacked in piles when shelves run out of space, there is little order to them (though it seems they are vaguely arranged by genre) and once in a while you’ll find posters, vinyl, cassettes or some other outdated media scattered about the store. As soon as you get used to the atmosphere, you’ll notice a cat sleeping on a pile of books. Then you’ll realize that no one seems to care. If you went into Diskovery looking for something in particular, you probably didn’t find it. If you went in looking for nothing in particular, you probably walked out with at least ten items. Unless you don’t carry cash. (Diskovery doesn’t take credit cards.)

Brighton Center is accessible by the 57 bus on the MBTA.
Palace Spa - 419 Washington Street‎ - (617) 787-1665‎
US Post Office - 424 Washington Street‎ - (617) 254-5026‎
Domino's Pizza - 464 Washington Street‎ - (617) 782-5655‎
Quiznos - 470 Washington Street - (617) 787-9966‎
Starbucks - 470 Washington Street - (617) 787-2430‎
Cold Stone Creamery - 470 Washington Street - (617) 562-6002‎
Diskovery - 569 Washington Street - (617) 787-2640‎
Dunkin Donuts - 598 Washington Street - (617) 254-2600‎

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