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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 (with the added benefit of getting real-time updates on the clubs through InstantNightlife.com). The Alley includes the Estate (formerly known as The Big Easy and Mansion), Sweetwater Cafe, Liquor Store, and other establishments which contribute to the spilling out onto Boylston Street. Nearby Gypsy Bar 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 Caprice, a restaurant/lounge with good music, and downstairs is UnderBar, great for a night of dancing and 'beautiful-people' watching.
If you go about 8 blocks up, you will find yourself in the very posh Leather District. Splash (formerly News) just reopened in Nov and features a roof deck patio in the summer, complete w/ Miami style cabanas and pool. (Please note, the pool is purely for decoration. It's not big enough for swimming). And also the always popular District Lounge, generally is jam packed by the truly elite crowd, just not until after 12mid. Don't forget South Street Diner, open 24hrs & serving 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, with its sister club/lounge Parris. 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. Vox Populi is a trendy bar/restaurant where you're more likely to wait on a line, depending on the night. 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 Saint, another trendy, upscale place where the lines are long, the bouncers are big, the drinks are pricey, and the crowd's glamorous and flashy.
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. On Appleton Street is 28 Degrees, a restaurant with a popular and modern bar, and another line to wait on (proving its popularity).
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 Casablanca .