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Great Scott: Go for the Music

Dive bar on the outside, great bands inside


Great Scott is a fun, intimate venue to see a show. Photos by Robert Dolan

It’s easy to walk right past Great Scott. Located on a dimly lit corner in Allston, the only thing that gives the music venue–bar away are the green awnings over the windows and the knot of smokers out on the sidewalk.

But enter the space and discover a fun, intimate room, the perfect spot to hear the indie and alternative rock bands that frequently perform there. The reasonably priced tickets (admission for most shows is between $5 and $12) and laid-back atmosphere are further enticements.

A recent Thursday night lineup included BU’s own Pray for Polanski, with guitarist and vocalist Aviv Rubinstien (COM’08,’10) and drummer Dan Ramspacher (ENG’11), Streight Angular, a CD release for Little Motel, and the crowd pleaser Mighty Tiny, which was named one of Improper Bostonian’s Top 10 Breakout Bands of 2010. With a sound that’s a mixture of gypsy, blues, and rock, band members sported Venetian masks, elaborate costumes, and accordions.

The bar’s small unassuming space makes for excellent acoustics—bands are well amped, but you can have a conversation with a companion without having to shout. The bar is in the front, and the bands play on a small stage all the way in the back. The décor is a little worn, with a faded wooden bar, tiled floor, and exposed brick walls. An Elvis bust and a lava lamp provide additional ambience.

While mainly a venue for bands, Great Scott does offer other types of entertainment. A few nights ago the bar held a premiere party for the HBO series Eastbound and Down, and it sometimes hosts album release parties, comedy groups, and DJs. Aspiring artists shouldn’t miss Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, on the second Sunday of the month. Billed as an alternative art experience, it features a burlesque model posing in the middle of the room while patrons sketch away.

Great Scott is also one of the last 18-plus venues in Boston (depending on the show, so patrons should check the schedule before attending). Bouncers are vigilant about checking IDs when patrons walk in, and those over 21 are given bracelets that allow them to buy beer and liquor.

Beer enthusiasts may find the selection somewhat limited. Bass, Stella Artois, Strongbow, and a few other varieties are on draft. A draft of Guinness costs $5. Bottled beer includes Sierra Nevada, La Fin du Monde, and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Mixed drinks run between $5.50 and $6.50. Customers should bring plenty of cash because credit cards aren’t accepted. And if you’re hungry, eat before going, because Great Scott doesn’t serve food of any kind.

Great Scott is open daily from noon to 2 a.m.
Live music is offered most evenings—check the schedule here; 18-plus, depending on the show—again, check the schedule.

1222 Commonwealth Ave., Allston, Mass. 02134

MBTA: Take the Green Line B trolley to Harvard Avenue.

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @amlaskow.

This is part of a weekly series featuring Boston nightspots of interest to the BU community. If you have any suggestions for places we should feature, leave them in the comments section below.

Read about more nightspots around the area here.


One Comment on Great Scott: Go for the Music

  • JaneinMA on 09.16.2010 at 1:01 pm

    top bands play here

    nice to mention local bands but the fact is many many up and coming bands play here. This year alone Wild Beasts, Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro played and Villagers will play, three of the Mercury nominees. Bands like The Cribs, Editors Frightened Rabbit, Hot Chip have all had their breaks here. This is one of Boston’s best clubs for scouting new music.

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