Boston nightlife primer?
July 7, 2006 3:00 PM   Subscribe

Advice on the Boston nightlife? Where to go? What to wear?

I'm meeting two friends in Boston on the weekend of the 15th for a two day hedonistic vacation. Bars, funky lounges, and dance clubs rate highly on our to-do list. Advice or recommendations of favorite places would be very much appreciated, particularly for Sunday. We're open to a reasonably eclectic range - goth/industrial, dive-y, electronica, techno, salsa, 80's, top-40... On the "no" list is probably anything that's exclusively hip-hop, reggae or rap unless the place has some other outstanding element that rates a visit.

Also, we're used to California rules (or lack thereof.) How dressy do we need to be? Should we expect velvet ropes and lines?
posted by synapse to Travel & Transportation around Boston, MA (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Phoenix Landing in Central Square is a fun little bar with a dance floor ... too bad you won't be there on a Wednesday. No dress code there.
posted by lbergstr at 4:57 PM on July 7, 2006

River Gods (on River St., south of Central square) is a funky little bar that often has interesting goings-on. Last time I was there it was "night of the nerds" complete with retro video games and a guitar hero competition. In the lounge-y category, I like The Enormous Room (also in central).

Neither of these is very formal - no fancy dress or lines. At all the places I've been there is no dress code and only occasionally lines. Manray used to be a popular goth club, sadly now closed, but there events page lists some things that might be interesting.
posted by pombe at 5:18 PM on July 7, 2006

You could try Landsdowne Street for dance clubs. Not my style, but i think they're fairly dressy (at least, no jeans and sneakers). Try Jake Ivory's for duelling pianos and a tiny (but fun) dance floor.

where will you be staying, and how far are you willing to travel for nights out?
posted by darsh at 5:27 PM on July 7, 2006

Jazz and Blues in Boston.

There is Lucky's on the corner of A and Congress street in South Boston. Sunday nights is Sinatra night, most other nights they either have a Dj or a jazz band.

Sculler's Jazz Club in the Doubletree Hotel in Boston - actually on storrow drive right off the mass pike.

Regattabar in the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square.

Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge - i think it's in Inman Square.

Wally's Cafe on Mass Ave in Boston - Mondays is Blues night and the rest of the week it's Jazz.

and finally ... the Terrace Lounge in the Mariott Copley Hotel in Boston. i don't think they have a website but it's Jazz, well Sunday nights anyways.
posted by eatcake at 5:37 PM on July 7, 2006

Response by poster: These sound excellent - thanks to everyone! A jazz bar hadn't even occurred to me, but that's a perfect option for Sunday night. Oh, and we're staying in Kenmore square. So far it's unlikely we'll have a car, though we're amenable to cabs.
posted by synapse at 5:53 PM on July 7, 2006

Bars, funky lounges, and dance clubs rate highly on our to-do list. ... Oh, and we're staying in Kenmore square.

Lansdowne Street. Lots of clubs. Exactly what you're talking about, and right around the corner.
posted by cribcage at 6:06 PM on July 7, 2006

well Sculler's, Regattabar and Ryle's are definitely on or very close to the Red Line. Lucky's would take a train and a walk/cab. Wally's is doable on public transit but would take more effort, and Terrace Lounge is near the Copley stop (can't remember right now whether it's on the Red or Green Line).
posted by eatcake at 6:11 PM on July 7, 2006

Just so you can check out what's on Lansdowne before you go: Avalon and Axis are the two dance clubs. Like cribcage said, it's right around the corner from where you're staying.
posted by jdl at 6:22 PM on July 7, 2006

People's Republik is a slice of Cambridge townie-dom not to be missed. It's between Central and Harvard Squares on Mass Ave.
posted by nyterrant at 6:58 PM on July 7, 2006

As a Boston-Cali cross-resident, let me tell you that they are way pickier about appropriate shoes in Boston. You will not be wearing flops to any place on Landsdowne, for instance. Pack some nice leather, non-sports shoes.

My favorite of the recommendations thus far: Wally's. I love that place. Mass Ave and Columbus; take the 1 bus if you're along Mass Ave in Cambridge or Back Bay, else take a cab. Cheap drinks and good live music. Too crowded for dancing, if that's what you're into.
posted by rkent at 7:02 PM on July 7, 2006

People's Republik a townie bar? Not nearly as much as the Cantab (which is really coolest on Tuesdays, when they have Bluegrass night).
posted by rkent at 7:04 PM on July 7, 2006

People's is the BEST place in Cambridge to meet people. The beauty is the circular bar in the middle, which allows you to see people on the other side as they are ordering drinks.

It's not a townie bar.
posted by sweetkid at 7:39 PM on July 7, 2006

Enormous Room has a pleasant enough yuppie/eurotrash/hipster-fashionista vibe, expensive drinks, and a recently-altered menu that eliminated their fantastic Enormous Platter selection. You'll love it. Good danceable music, attractive people with little to say. Marvelous. It'd be my favourite bar if I were planning on killing myself or conceiving babies with high cheekbones.

Middlesex fits that description, but they never had good food. Both on Mass Ave at the bottom of Central Square.

Cantab on Tuesdays is brilliant. Bluegrass Nite is the real deal; head downstairs to the open pickin' party if you're feeling high-risk, aesthetically speaking. Mixed offerings at Zeitgeist in Inman Square - sometimes amazing free jazz, other times pure pretentious shite. Not a lot else for you in Inman though.

Consider also Dedalus - high-hipster place in Harvard Square, tolerable. Noir (at the Charles Hotel) also upscale and good atmosphere. Live jazz on weekends? Wonderbar in Allston is a surprising place. Green line, B line to Harvard Ave (get on at Kenmore). Dress code, line to get in, but if it ends up sucking you can piss off to any of the many dudebro bars in Allston, or catch some indie rock at Great Scott.

Anyone know if The Pill still does a Mod Nite? God I miss the Common Ground's Mod Nite.

If I ever get my finger on the blinking red 'Bomb Them All' button Lansdowne will be one of the first targets, but it's Boston's clubbing centerpiece.

As usual: pregame, pregame, pregame.

Go forth young man and rock out with cock out.
posted by waxbanks at 2:20 PM on August 9, 2006 [2 favorites]

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