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Harvard Square is the primary area of Cambridge to consider for your nightlife choices. But move a little farther in each direction, and you'll find a wide assortment of venues.
Club Passim, tucked away on a side street in Harvard Square, has given many folk musicians their start. Stop by on any night and you'll be sure to catch a great act by an up and comer. Bars in Harvard Square include Grendel's, Noir (at the Charles Hotel), Grafton Street, Temple, the Hong Kong (renowned for Scorpion Bowls), Red Line, Shay's, Tommy Doyle's, Charlie's and Daedalus.
Beyond Harvard Square, things get more diverse. In Central Square, the intersection of Brookline Ave and Mass Ave is the mecca for venues to see up and coming bands. In particular, the three rooms of the Middle East, ZuZu and TT the Bear's host local and touring bands. For dancing, Middlesex Lounge, Phoenix Landing and the Enormous Room offer a diverse mix of techno, drum n bass, hip hop, 80s and more. Inman Square includes Ryles for live jazz (and a fabulous jazz brunch on Sundays) and Bukowski's Tavern, whose menu lists pages and pages of beers from around the world. The B-Side in East Cambridge has a retro-lounge theme and a hip crowd. The Lizard Lounge hides in the basement of The Cambridge Common, along Mass Ave between Porter and Harvard Square. This intimate seated room is one of Cambridge's secret gems.