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Hub Hotspots for the Under 21 Crowd

Underage doesn’t have to mean underwhelming


Students under 21 may not be admitted to some of the city’s more popular bars and nightclubs, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find plenty of fun in the Hub. There’s lots to do on weekends, both on—and off—campus.

What’s cooking on campus

If you want to stick close to home, head over to BU Central, the University’s music and comedy club, where artists such as Young the Giant and We Are Scientists have performed. The venue, in the lower level of the George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Ave., is open Thursday through Saturday until 12 a.m. and is free to BU students.

BU is abuzz with activities throughout the year. Check out the University Calendar for daily events, including films, concerts, art exhibitions, and sporting events.

If you’re itching to get away from campus for a few hours, Boston and nearby Cambridge and Somerville offer all kinds of entertainment options at reasonable prices, accessible via public transportation. The venues below are in one of these three cities.


Boston’s music scene has something for everyone. Some clubs listed here alternate between 18-plus and 21-plus nights, so log on before you head out.

Great Scott, 1222 Commonwealth Ave., Allston, is 18-plus weeknights, 21-plus weekends, and often features indie and rock artists. Tickets for some events are free, but typically run about $7.

Brighton Music Hall, formerly known as Harper’s Ferry, 158 Brighton Ave., Allston, has music for every taste—reggae, rap, rock, electric, and more.

Down the street, the Paradise Rock Club, 967 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, which had significant renovations last year, presents famous acts like the Indigo Girls and Ziggy Marley and up-and-coming bands like RJD2, Yellowcard, and Allston natives Big D and the Kids Table.

In Cambridge’s Central Square, T.T. The Bear’s Place, 10 Brookline St., has hosted bands such as Jane’s Addiction, the Smashing Pumpkins, and the Strokes. There is no cover charge and tickets start at $7.

Ryles Jazz Club, 212 Hampshire St., Central Square, Cambridge, has jazz and serves food from the S&S Restaurant across the street. Try the Hot Salsa Wednesdays—for $10 ($12 after 9:30 p.m.), you get a salsa lesson and can then enjoy dancing until 1 a.m.

Out of the Blue Art Gallery, 106 Prospect St., Central Square, Cambridge, has become a mecca of sorts for emerging artists looking for a place to showcase their work, whether it’s painting, poetry, or music. Programming can run from a puppet show to an impromptu concert. Entry is free, but donations are always welcome.

The Middle East, 472-480 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge, has three performance venues, with different bands every night. The club, as its name suggests, also serves first-rate Middle Eastern cuisine

Club Passim, 47 Palmer St., Harvard Square, has been a mainstay of the American folk scene since 1958. Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and Bob Dylan all performed here early in their careers, and today this intimate club continues to feature some of the best folk music heard anywhere. Recent performers include the Bee Eaters, Lake Street Dive, and Joy Kills Sorrow. Tickets for most performances run about $15.

And in nearby Somerville, P.A.’s Lounge, 345 Somerville Ave., offers indie, pop, or rock music, depending on the night, as well open mic nights.

Dance clubs

You can work off the freshman 15 at a handful of dance clubs around Boston. Best of all, you won’t need a partner, and most nights begin with a quick lesson.

The goth club Xmortis, 10 Brookline St., Cambridge, is known for great DJs. Dress code is all black; look for themed nights.

RISE, 306 Stuart St., Boston, claims to be the city’s only after-hours nightclub. A mainstay since 1998, the club offers patrons the chance to literally dance the night away. Some events don’t end until 6 a.m. Admission is typically between $20 and 25. The club boasts that it has state-of-the-art lighting, sound, and video.

Rumor, 100 Warrenton St., Boston, offers 19+ events depending on who’s performing. The nightclub also allows patrons to create their own events and set their own prices, themes, and covers. Admission to most events is between $15 and $25.

Phoenix Landing, 512 Mass Ave., Central Square, Cambridge is an alternative Irish bar that opens its nightclub up to the 18+ crowd every Sunday from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. The music usually consists of dubstep, techno, and house music, provided by some of the best local DJs.

Downstairs at the Middle East, 472-480 Mass. Ave., Central Square, Cambridge, is home to one of the most popular weekly dance events in the Boston area. Each Thursday, the club hosts Throwed, an 18-plus indie electric dance party that draws between 200 and 500 college students from all over Boston. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission runs between $15 and $20.


Sing your heart out at Limelight Stage and Studio, 204 Tremont St., Boston.

In Allston, there’s Doremi Karaoke, 442 Cambridge St., which has 13 language options and private karaoke suites.

Both venues offer food and nonalcoholic drinks.


At Lucky Strike Bowling located at Jillian’s Boston, 45 Ipswich St., you can bowl or play pool during the week. But Friday and Saturday nights are 21-plus.

Sacco’s Bowl Haven, 45 Day St., Davis Square, Somerville, offers 10 candlepin bowling lanes and flatbread pizza, salads, and more from Flatbread Company.

Late-night eateries

After a night on the town, you’ll be hungry. There are lots of nearby places to satisfy your late night cravings.

Finale specializes in desserts, with several locations in the Boston area—the closest one in Coolidge Corner, Brookline, at 1306 Beacon St. The eatery serves classics such as passion fruit meringue and tiramisu delizioso until midnight on weekends.

Twin Donuts, 501 Cambridge St., Allston, opens at 4 a.m., so head there for an early breakfast (or very late night snack) of glazed donuts and other breakfast offerings.

Wing It, 1153 Commonwealth Ave., Allston, offers 21 different types of chicken wings—and free delivery. The restaurant is open until midnight Sunday through Thursday, but serves until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

La Verdad Taqueria, One Landsdowne St., Boston, is open until 2 a.m. on weekends, and 1 a.m. on weeknights, so if you’re over on the east end of campus or near Fenway, check it out. If you happen to be out late on a Tuesday, don’t miss the restaurant’s $1 Taco Tuesdays.

Tasty Burger, 1301 Boylston St., Boston, just behind Fenway Park, is another late night eatery. Beef is king here, but salads are also available. If you’re in a group, consider ordering the sack of five burgers (take-out only). Tasty Burger is open until 2 a.m. every night.

Giga’s Pizza, 27 Buswell St., may be the best place to satisfy your late-night munchies if you’re on the south end of campus. In addition to dozens of wrap and pizzas, Giga’s offers several kinds of nachos, potato skins, onion rings, and bread sticks with cheese, is open until 3 a.m., and delivers right up until closing time.

And, of course, there are the on-campus BU staples—T. Anthony’s, 1016 Commonwealth Ave., and Sicilia’s Pizzeria, 840 Commonwealth Ave. Both are open until 2 a.m. and serve pizza, subs, salads, and more.


If you’re a fan of cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, head to Cambridge’s AMC Loews Theater, 10 Church St., Harvard Square. At midnight on Saturdays the theater group Full Body Cast acts along with the movie and encourages the audience to do the same. Dress up as Dr. Frank-N-Furter and throw toilet paper with everyone else.

The Improv Asylum, 216 Hanover St., Boston, is an improv and sketch comedy theater near Faneuil Hall. BU students get a discount when they show their Terrier Card.

Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline, offers live performances, ranging from jazz concerts to a one-man adaptation of the Star Wars Trilogy, as well as international, documentary, animated, and independent films. Make sure to bring your student I.D. to get a discount.

Amy Laskowski

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

8 Comments on Hub Hotspots for the Under 21 Crowd

  • Seamus on 09.29.2011 at 5:23 am

    Really? Big D and the Kids Table is an up-and-coming act? They’ve only been around for what, 16 years? Same with Yellowcard. You might remember their big hit…from 8 years ago.

    • John F. on 09.29.2011 at 1:12 pm

      Yeah seriously, RJD2 has been around since the mid 90s. He has released over 6 albums and EPs, along with a boatload of remixes and collaborations spanning 3 decades. Up and coming? Just quickly google the bands before you label them as such.. such a laughable error.

    • Aidan on 09.29.2011 at 2:03 pm

      Up-and-coming meaning they are playing at the venue in the coming months

  • Eric Hsiao on 09.29.2011 at 9:59 am

    Hi Amy and John!

    Nice list of things to do for the under 21 crowd! Boston hasn’t always been too 18+ friendly but I think that’s beginning to change. My blog also posted a similar topic on the newly emerging 18+ party scene in Boston (http://www.urbanamp.com/blog/newly-emerging-18-party-scene-in-boston). I think it is definitely a lot better from the time I was a freshman. WIth the new electrodance movement, there are more nights dedicated for the under 21 crowd such as Throwed(Middle East Tuesdays), GlowBoston(Middle East. Next Performance in October), and Wonderland (Club Rise Fridays). I think there is a market for under 21 events because there are so many colleges in the area. I’m sure a bigger Boston nightlife scene for this audience would be greeted warmly.

    Eric Hsiao

  • Spectrum on 09.29.2011 at 10:13 am

    Don’t forget about Machine. 18+ on Friday nights.

  • Mary on 09.29.2011 at 12:41 pm

    Throwed is on Tuesday nights, not Thursday.

  • Andrew on 10.19.2011 at 6:25 pm

    Hi Amy,

    Adding to your dance info, the http://www.dancenut.com/boston web site lets you search by age and has hundreds of dance classes and parties coming up in the next month. Hope you and your readers will find this useful!


  • luiqson on 07.16.2014 at 4:47 pm


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