The nightly music mix here might sometimes veer toward cabaret or even burlesque, but local jazz musicians are the mainstay for a usually well-dressed, mature crowd at least a decade past their schooldays. A convivial bar scene and excellent contemporary bistro fare round out the appeal of this great night out (see The Beehive).
The region’s alternative rock scene can trace its genesis to this Central Square landmark. This influential venue has launched many careers. Seminal local bands like the Pixies, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Morphine all played on The Middle East’s three stages. Today, the club (see The Middle East) continues the tradition, genuinely embracing musicians operating just under the mainstream radar.
15 Lansdowne St • 888 693 2583 • Adm
The House of Blues chain was born across the river in Cambridge, and this 2,400-capacity room behind Fenway Park continues the commitment to American music: blues, gospel, jazz, rhythm and blues, and roots-based rock ’n’ roll. A Gospel brunch is offered occasionally, and the restaurant also opens during Red Sox evening home games.
Housed in an ornate, bi-level theater, the Royale can accommodate more nightlife denizens than any other Boston club. Top 40, 1980s, Latin, and house music are pumped through the powerful sound system, while a mixed crowd lounges around on cushy banquettes or throngs the mammoth dance floor.
290 Northern Ave • 617 728 1600
This circular 1-acre (0.4 ha) outdoor amphitheater, originally known as Harbor Lights, is one of Boston’s prime summer concert venues. It seats more than 5,000 spectators beneath a grand tent that shields them from inclement weather. Cool harbor breezes and state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems enhance the experience.
158 Brighton Ave • 617 779 0140 • Adm
Set in the heart of Allston, Brighton Music Hall is a premiere live performance venue and primarily caters to college and university students. The 400-capacity concert hall hosts up-and-coming national and local rock, pop, alternative, and indie rock bands as well as stand-up comedy shows.
The sumptuous, dark interior, glam lighting, and extensive range of designer vodkas combine a stylish high-tech approach with enchanting, old-fashioned roman-ticism. It is easy to see why this attention-seekers’ paradise has topped various polls, including sexiest bar and best pick-up spot (see Nightclubs and Bars).
1 Hamilton Pl • 617 482 0106 • Adm
Boston’s oldest music venue, the Orpheum dates from 1852. After serving as a vaudeville house and a movie theater, it has now become a beloved venue for touring rock bands and comedy concerts.
967 Commonwealth Ave • 617 562 8800 • Adm
Although no longer in its original Downtown location, the Paradise is the oldest name in Boston rock venues. Icons from the 1970s and 1980s such as Van Halen, the Police, and Blondie first put the club on the map. Today, the Paradise remains true to its rock ‘n’ roll roots, welcoming nationally recognized acts that favor volume levels north of ten.
400 Soldiers Field Rd • 617 562 4111 • Closed Sun • Adm
Enthusiastic champion of Latin jazz and emerging artists (for example, Norah Jones and Diana Krall started here), Scullers is also a well-known venue for internationally established musicians. It’s a great place to enjoy a drink and an evening of smooth jazz by some of the best performers in the business.