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Many people unfamiliar with Boston think that Lansdowne Street near Kenmore Square is the beginning and end of nightlife in the city. However, although Lansdowne does offer a number of bars (Game On!, Cask and Flaggon, Boston BeerWorks, Bleacher Bar) and clubs (Avalon, which CLOSED in late 2007 and reopened at the end of 2008 as music venue House of Blues, which also features Epic Saturdays, the biggest gay night in Boston, along with a lounge/restaurant ,and Tequila Rain which serves up a 'Spring Break' type experience in its place; and there is always Jillian’s/LuckyStrikes for your amusement) the location has begun a change away from being the premier nightlife spot of it's haydays- besides when the Sox are in town! There are now plenty of other places in Boston to check out if you’re looking for something to do after dark.
Those in the Theatre District can easily wander over to the Alley off of Boylston Street for drinks and dancing. The Alley includes the Estate (formerly known as The Big Easy and Mansion), Sweetwater Cafe, Stage Vaudeville Nightclub, and other establishments which contribute to the spilling out onto Boylston Street. Nearby Whisky Saigon is also a hot spot for a 'see-and-be-seen' hip crowd with a great DJ, but expect to wait in line for a while and pay a cover. On Tremont Street , you will find Royale (formerly the Roxy). Next to Royale is Guilt, and downstairs is Candibar, great for a night of dancing. On Stuart Street, Bijou Nightclub is one of Boston's best, where international students and Boston's well-heeled party with table service and burgers and fries. Cure, Venu and Icon are across the street, where local DJs spin house, EDM and hip-hop on the weekends. Up Stuart St. you'll find the W Hotel with their tendy W Lounge, and below is Tunnel, Boston's coolest subterranean nightclub. On the corner of Washington and Stuart is Emerald Lounge, which has a great after-work crowd and keeps the party going late into the night. Many clubs have steep cover charges and long lines in this neighborhood, so consider getting a VIP table (approx $50 per person including entry and bottles). Savvy Bostonians use Tablelist to book their tables instantly, which is like the OpenTable for nightlife, and you can even split the tab.
If you go about 8 blocks up, you will find yourself in the Leather District. This area used to be home to nightlife hotspots Splash and District, which have since closed. Late night staple South Street Diner is open 24hrs & serves their full breakfast/lunch/dinner menu.
Faneuil Hall is also home to a number of bars and clubs, but they tend to be full of tourists (or those who enjoy an atmosphere geared towards tourists). Head to the bars on Marshall St./Union St. (just outside of Quincy Market), or to The Bar Room on Broad St, to mingle with more of a local crowd. This area has a variety of bars frequented by the younger crowd such as: Purple Shamrock, Green Dragon , and the Bell in Hand (the oldest operating tavern in America). A staple on St Patrick's Day are The Black Rose and Jose McIntyre's. Another popular spot for good drinks and a lively crowd is Ned Divines, and Sissy K's around the corner. Expect long lines and cover charges at these bars, especially during the summer months when the tourists flock to this area. This area is full of "pubs" that offer great specials on Live Lobster in the summer months. You can usually find a place with a lobster special for less than 15 bucks!
Boylston Street between Mass Ave and the Common boasts a variety of bars catering to every kind of partier. For the beer swilling types or college crowd, stop into The Pour House for half-priced burgers on Saturday night and watch the game, or pop into Whiskey's, McGreevy's, or Lir for a similar scene just down the road. Grab a Cactus bowl (much like a Scorpion bowl, so beware!) at The Cactus Club or try one of their famous margaritas (voted Best in Town for a number of years). Those looking for the epitome of a hole-in-the-wall bar, look no further than Bukowski's which offers a good selection of beers and an attitude-less atmosphere (also has a sister restaurant in Inman Square, Cambridge). Further down Boylston, approaching Copley Square, you'll find three more upscale places for the urban professional crowd. Across from Vox, look for the hip City-Bar, an upscale hotel bar in the Lenox Hotel where you'll find young professionals sipping martinis in an intimate and dimly lit space. Across from City-Bar on Exeter Street is Storyville, another trendy, fun nightclub/lounge hybrid where young professionals party hard.
The South End (this is not the same neighborhood as South Boston) is a friendly neighborhood adjacent to the Back Bay neighborhood that features trendy shops, theaters, bars, and restaurants on tree-lined streets with brownstone buildings. Tremont Street is the major thoroughfare here but even the tiniest streets of this district are full of cafes and bars. Parking here can be next to non-existent, but this is a very walker-friendly area. The Beehive, 541 Tremont Street, is an artsy hangout for local residents and area thirtysomethings, though you will see all ages inside. Be prepared for a wait in line, especially on the weekends.
South Boston is an up-and-coming neighborhood that has seen an influx of younger professionals over the past several years. As a result, new bars and restaurants have continued to pop up. You wouldn’t target "Southie" as a clubbing destination, but there are plenty of local haunts to grab a few beers and watch the game. On Broadway, check out the Boston Beer Garden or Playwright . Around the corner from the Beer Garden and Playwright is Murphy’s Law. Murphy’s Law is a "dive" that doesn’t see a ton of traffic until after 1am on most weekends. Murphy’s Law can stay open til 2am while the other bars close at 1am (one of those loopholes). If you’re a fan of Good Will Hunting, head over to the L Street Tavern and toss back a Guinness in the same bar where some of the movie was filmed. You won’t recognize much from the film when you see the L Street Tavern, they’ve remodeled it since the movie and have taken away a lot of the "edge."
Allston is home to a whole slew of bars (some more dive-y than others) and psuedo-nightclubs where you can get your drink on or dance the night away. Catch live bands at Harper's Ferry , listen to live jazz at Wonderbar or see how many different beers you can try at The Sunset Grill & Tap , where they have over 500 microbrews. O'Briens is another popular spot for live bands, although it's much more of a dive than Harper's. Whitehorse Tavern and OurHouse attract large groups of college students, specifically BU and BC students due to location.
Harvard Square is another area not to be overlooked when you're out searching for a good time. Sure, it may not be as club-y as some of the downtown areas, but you can still have plenty of fun and who says Hah-vahd kids don't know how to have a good time? Beer enthusiasts will love places like Brew Moon and John Harvard's Brew House where you can get specialty brews, along with good eats. If beer isn't your thing and deadly Scorpion bowls mixed with high-energy dancing is what you're after, place the Hong Kong atop your list. Harvard Square is also home to a number of more low-key, upscale venues great for impressing a date such as Grafton Street , the Regattabar or Alden + Harlow .