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Visiting Back Bay Boston? 30 ways to talk like a townie instead of a tourist.

Heck, we love tourists – at Newbury Guest House we’ve devoted our business to helping visitors experience Boston like a native (that’s a townie, fyi). Our hotel itself is in the heart of one of the Boston’s oldest neighborhoods: the Back Bay’s historic residential brownstone district. When you stay with us, that means most of your neighbors are locals. We welcome tourists, but not all tourists welcome being labeled as one. If you’d rather blend in, here’s some tips and terms to know. 


Let’s address the accent first: R’s: who needs ‘em? At the end of a word, a soft ah is much easier on the ears. Thus cellar = cellah, supper (not dinner) = suppah, and car = cah (though please do not tell anyone to “pahk the cah in Havahd Yahd” – it’s a dead giveaway).


bang a uey: make a U-turn (If you’re turning left, you’re “banging a Larry”.)


bubblah: water fountain


the Cape: Though Massachusetts has two capes, only Cape Cod is “the Cape” (no offense, Cape Ann). 


carriage: the shopping caht you use to hold your groceries


chowdah: (chowder) Boston’s is the best, and let’s be clear, we’re not talking about the red stuff. The authentic, original version is cream- or milk-based and thick with clams, potatoes (that’s b’daydas here), onions, and celery.


clickah: TV remote


Coogan’s: where you go for dollar drafts


Dunks: Local for Dunkin’ Donuts. The franchise started here in Boston (top Back Bay bestsellers are glazed, chocolate frosted, and Boston Cream). And if you run on it, you’ll also need to know what a regular is (see below). 


frappé: Here, that’s a milkshake, made with ice cream. If you order a “milkshake”, don’t be surprised when you get just milk and flavoring. 


grindah: a sub or sandwich


hosie: used to call dibs on something 


jimmies: Ask for them if you want chocolate sprinkles on your ice cream. If you want the rainbow ones, ask for sprinkles.


mint: excellent 


nah suh: – no way (with yah huh being the obligatory response)


regular: When you ask for a “coffee regular” (regulah) you won’t get it black; you’ll get it with cream and sugar (two of each for a small, three for a medium). 


packie: liquor store (derived from the slang for packages the bottles come in). Good to know when making a “packie run.”


parlah: living room


the Pike: the Massachusetts Turnpike, or I-90


rippah: wild party


rotary: a traffic roundabout. We have plenty here and they can be death defying to navigate. Walk or take the T (see below) if you can. 


statie: state police 


the “T”: That’s the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority; i.e., Boston’s subway system.


tonic: soda. Order a tonic at a local bar and you’ll get a Coke. If you want fizzy water in your drink, be sure to ask for “tonic water”.


Town: Boston (few locals refer to it as a “city”).


wicked: very, as in very cool 


wicked pissah: even cooler


wicked frickin’ pissah: The coolest thing you can describe (in polite company).



And three more tips for really blending in:

  • Cross the street whenever you d***n well feel like it (though we don’t recommend it).
  • Eat at wicked tasty Boston chains the rest of the country is missing out on: Boloco (burritos); Thinking Cup (coffee); J.P. Licks (ice cream); Regina Pizzeria; Tasty Burger (what else?); Bon Me, and Anna’s Taqueria. 
  • No matter what, you root against whatever team is playing the Yankees.


Study up and book your trip to town today. When you stay with us at Newbury Guest House, you’re practically a local already. Now you’ll sound like one, too.