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Arts & Entertainment

Nightlife: Milky Way

LGBT events, and excellent people-watching


Mango’s Latin Dance Night pumps salsa into the Milky Way most Saturday nights. Don’t know a cha-cha from a meringue? There are free dance lessons beforehand. Photos by Kate Flock

Kitschy, relaxed, intimate, the Milky Way Lounge and Bella Luna Restaurant in Jamaica Plain has the feel of a neighborhood bar, with enough theme nights—from Rock ’n’ Roll Bingo and Dyke Night to story slams and Mango’s Latin Dance Night—to make it a destination location.

Under the towering Haffenreffer smokestack, the doors to Bella Luna lead to a dining area, with a separate room to the right for the dance floor, an outdoor patio, and a welcoming U-shaped bar serving cocktails, wine, and beer, including Coastal Wheat, which is brewed exclusively for the Milky Way. Following the cosmos-theme, the club is hung with star-shaped lanterns, illuminating exposed brick walls and eye-popping red upholstery. This week, Bella Luna unveils its fall/winter menu (dinner entrees are $7 to $19).

At the Milky Way’s old location, in Hyde Square, the low-lit basement lounge contained the pool tables and bar, with candlepin bowling. While the crash of pins is absent from the new spot in the Brewery complex, the layout is notably improved —restaurant and lounge now comingle.

Milky Way is open seven nights a week, and most of them are booked solid: Stump Trivia, live music, open mics, Rock Band karaoke, and of course, dance nights. In Boston, queer dance culture is a moveable feast. There are gay bars in town, but for the lesbian set, Kristen Porter has kept the dance vibe going with Dyke Night, held at different venues around town ($6). The Milky Way hosts the event once a month, with DJ Kris Kono. The lounge also hosts other LGBT-themed nights, such as La Boum Queer Dance Party, Varsity: Gentleman’s Dance Night, and this month’s HalloQween dance party on October 29—costumes encouraged. And they’re all free.

While Dyke Night is a mixed bag, depending on DJ and venue—locations include Machine, and Caprice Lounge—my friends and I agree that Milky Way is our favorite. The restaurant is perfect for people-watching and brings a crowd with more of a mix of ages and backgrounds, much like the South End’s Club Café. The only drawback is that night owls need to get there early—the Milky Way closes at 1 a.m. on weekends.

Bella Luna Restaurant & Milky Way Lounge hours: Sunday through Tuesday, 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.; Wednesday, 5 p.m. to midnight; Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Drinks: a glass of wine starts at $7, beer starts at $6
Most nights are 21+ and free, live shows, starting at $5 at the door. Check the schedule.
The Brewery, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain. Mass.
Dinner reservations: 617-524-3740, ext. 12
MBTA: Take the Orange Line to Stony Brook Station. Turn left exiting the station, walk up Boylston Street to the first stoplight, and take a right onto Amory Street. The Brewery Complex is 1/2 mile on the left. Bella Luna & Milky Way Lounge is on the first floor, with main entrance on the right side of the building, next to the smokestack.
Parking information: There are 80 complimentary parking spaces on the Amory Street side of the Brewery Complex (do not park in the 15-minute spots next to Amory Street or you may be towed).

Kimberly Cornuelle can be found most probably dancing at HalloQween this month. She can be reached at kcornuel@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @kcornuel.

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.


4 Comments on Nightlife: Milky Way

  • Anonymous on 10.07.2010 at 10:26 am

    Great vibe, at the Milky Way. Love it.

  • Anonymous on 10.07.2010 at 12:14 pm

    A review of Havana club would be awesome

  • Milky Way on 10.07.2010 at 3:17 pm

    Thanks for the love!

    Kimberly and all you lovely people over at BU Today. Thank you for all the love here, we really appreciate it! Just a couple quick fixes:

    Sam Adams no longer brews the Sun Ray Ale :( We now carry their Coastal Wheat.

    Also, most of our nights are actually 21+.

    Thanks again!


    Justin & all of us here at Bella Luna & the Milky Way

  • Anonymous on 10.08.2010 at 12:10 pm

    some of the dj nights are even free!

    I love it there!!! They are definitely 21+ after 10pm- we got carded last week. Also, they totally have cheaper beer than that. I usually get bud light or high life. I think they are 3.50.

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