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Posted by Katie Johnston Chase June 27, 2007 10:04 AM

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I know the Beehive is the hip, new place to see and be seen. It's crawling with well-groomed people who are willing to stand in line in the rain to get inside; there's live jazz, tasty drinks, and fantastic french fries. But honestly, I think I'd rather be at the Cheesecake Factory.

I've been to both places in the past week, and my experience at the chain restaurant inside the Cambridge mall was much more enjoyable. First of all, it was easy to park, and it only cost $2 (it's $15 for valet parking at the Beehive, which is in the parking-spot-deprived South End). At the Cheesecake Factory, there was no pretentious man wearing an earpiece barring our entry at the door, despite having a reservation, and once we got inside, we could actually hear each other talk. The din at the Beehive, on the other hand, was almost unbearable.

The food is good at both places -- more creative at the Beehive, no doubt -- but it's truly tough to beat chocolate/peanut butter/cookie dough cheesecake.

I'm all for supporting local businesses over chains, and I'm all for checking out new places, especially when they have live music, but these hot spots can be a major pain. I'm not sure when I'll have the energy to go back to the buzzing Beehive, but I'm already thinking about making another trip to the Factory.

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Katie Johnston Chase likes dive bars, old country music, and pop art that has something to say.
Meredith Goldstein is keen on DJs who spin pop music and restaurants that serve real food after 11 p.m.
Emily Sweeney is a lifelong Bostonian who goes out all over, from Irish pubs in Southie to the roller rink in Dorchester.
Jeff Miranda has never heard a '90s alternative-rock jam that's not already a mainstay on his iPod.
Joan Charlotte Matelli digs movie singalongs, well-made cocktails, and alt-country rockers.
Courtney Hollands is a shopaholic and a music junkie with a penchant for tapas, chai, and Hall & Oates dance parties.
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