My friend introduced me to the world of Irish dancing, and even though I'm still clueless, I can't say I've ever had a bad time with these people. They have ceilis every fourth Friday at the Commodore Barry Club (Irish Center) at 8:00. Before the ceili there's a dance lesson from 7 to 8, focusing on set dancing. Set dance lessons are also offered Wednesday evenings. I've not taken formal lessons, but the teachers seem pretty patient and understanding about people like me who don't know what they're doing. Everyone's friendly and wants to ensure you have a good time; they'll encourage you and guide you.
PROS: fun and friendly
CONS: needs to recruit more young people!
I'm overwhelmed by the amount of merchandise in this store. Plus, everything is ALWAYS on sale. You get even better discounts if you have a store charge card. It's fun to go through sections like housewares and just dig through all the discounted stuff -- you can unearth some great deals. For women's clothing, though, it's hit or miss; they have an excess of teeny boppy styles and older women's fashions, with not much in between.
This is a nice place for Irish music entertainment in a pub setting, though the quality of the performances can be uneven. It's fun to sit in the back room and engage in sing-alongs. They have a variety of beers, ciders, and mixed drinks, including some really interesting concoctions involving Bailey's, etc. In addition to standard bar food, there is a dining room with a full lunch and dinner menu, and the choices are many. (Great mashed potatoes! ). Friendly servers, decent prices.
This place has the best breakfasts: nice omelettes, a variety of tasty pancakes and waffles, and fresh breads from Le Bus. The portions are always very generous and prices are average. Their lunches are good, too; you wouldn't expect such a variety from such a small place. The size of the front area is its main disadvantage - the tables are very close together and don't seat many people. The back area is more spacious. Go early if you go on a weekend.
PROS: Good food, nice selection
CONS: A bit cramped
They may have the best prices in town, but I don't think I've ever been in this store - day or night - when it wasn't crowded. I've had to wait in line to buy three bagels at 8:00 in the morning. Plus, they have some of the worst clerks anywhere; some of them barely grunt at you as you go through the check-out. I'll admit you can get some great deals, but besides the fact that you have to fight the crowds, I find their selection to be kind of limited on some items.
PROS: Good prices
CONS: Too busy
It's a small store that can sometimes be limited in selection, but I've always found what I needed, and the prices are great. All the basic supplies are here. They also have key-making services and sell used and off-brand car clubs (I got my club here and it's been fine). The employees are always very friendly, helpful, and willing to answer any questions. I'd rather go here than some big, impersonal place where it takes forever to find anything.
It's fun to wander around this store -- they sell more than just art supplies. You can find nice bound blank books, cards, calendars, and interesting gifts. I especially enjoy their supply of silly holiday-themed merchandise. It's also a good place to find unique craft supplies like "make your own greeting card" kits and Celtic design stamp sets. Prices on some items are kind of high, but others are reasonable. They have a discounted section with some neat stuff.
PROS: Fun merchandise
CONS: Metered parking
It's a cute little neighborhood store, but not the kind of place where you have a wide variety and could do your regular grocery shopping. It's more of a "run in and grab a drink or a newspaper" kind of place. You can find things here you wouldn't normally find in a bigger food store, like homemade gazpacho or 4-packs of Wild Fruitz, and some imported/goumet foods; it's almost like they want to be Reading Terminal Market on a smaller scale. But the prices are just too high.
"Fine Middle Eastern cuisine" at the end of the main drag in Chestnut Hill. The regular entrees are sort of pricey, but they have this great lunch buffet on Sundays - only $8. There are about a million different types of dishes on the buffet, and everything is really good. Vegetarian options are abundant. The owner is very nice and always makes sure everything is okay. You can get a coupon for a free buffet lunch after so many visits (like a punch card). They also offer other discounts on dinners for certain nights/times.
If you like pan-Middle Eastern type food, I highly recommend this casual, friendly restaurant. The dishes are always freshly made and very flavorful. They have the best hummus ever, as well as nice sandwiches, salads, and other standard Mid East fare like spinach pie and moussaka. The prices on appetizers and smaller meals are about average; some of the entrees are kind of high. The one drawback is that their vegetarian options are a bit limited.
PROS: great, fresh dishes
CONS: not many vegetarian options