To commute to Beverly, and for some night life close by, I would start with either Salem or Lynn (yes, Lynn!). There are some nice areas in Lynn and it's starting to make a great rebound. You can also find some good deals near the ocean!
If you'd like more info, just let me know! I'd be happy to give you more updates and even show you some properties, if you're interested. Feel free to call my cell at 617-599-2775.