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Arts & Entertainment

Nightlife: Machine

Dance floor at Boston’s hottest gay club popular with all


A recent Friday night visit to Machine Nightclub offered a welcome assault on the senses. Thumping bass pervaded a room lit by colored lights and packed with gyrating bodies. If you’re looking to dance, there’s no better place to hit the floor than here.

Machine opened in 1998 and has attracted a diverse and loyal following. Although it’s a gay club, you’ll find people of every sexual orientation taking advantage of the excellent music and vibrant dance party atmosphere. It’s where the open-minded and fun-loving come to party.

Machine Friday, the weekly 18+ dance night held downstairs, is hosted by DJ Darrin Friedman, who spins a loud, energizing blend of Top 40, remixes, and house music in the large main room. Stationed on four platforms with poles, muscular male go-go dancers sporting tight, bright boxer briefs and fluorescent body paint provide great eye candy, and a drag queen MC appears from time to time to keep things moving. The dance floor gets crowded with guys and girls, couples and friends.

With its combination of kitsch and glitz, Machine’s atmosphere is electric. Red Christmas lights and shifting pinpoints of pink and green reflect off the requisite disco ball. Thirsty club goers can order from three different bars serving strong but pricey drinks, or sample from the Red Bull juice bar. Be prepared for unisex bathrooms—it’s part of the experience. Those looking for a brief respite from the up-tempo dance numbers can catch their breath at a scattering of tables and black leather banquettes around the room’s edges. But before long, a friend or the music is sure to lure you back on the floor. The energy is infectious.

Also downstairs is the Pool Room, where you can find a better-lit area featuring pool tables, TV screens, a few arcade games, and a small dance floor. DJ Gay Jim plays favorites from the ’90’s, 2000s, and today (Spice Girls fans will be pleased). Pool enthusiasts will want to stop by on Tuesdays, when every downstairs pool table is free, beginning at 10 p.m.

Upstairs is Ramrod, the smaller 21+ club that caters specifically to gay men.

Part of what makes Machine so popular is its entertaining theme nights throughout the week. Karaoke That Doesn’t Suck takes place on Thursdays. Show Me Your Stuff! a drag competition open to all, is on Wednesdays. Bring your own outfit, eyelashes, shoes, and song to perform, and they’ll take care of the rest. There are plenty more dance nights to check out, as well as special events and Dyke Nights for the lesbian crowd.

A piece of advice: if you’re headed to Machine on a Friday night, arrive early to make sure you get in. Things really get going after 11 p.m., and the line to enter can be long and the bouncers capricious about who they choose to admit. But once inside, get ready for a fantastic night.

To get to Machine, 1254 Boylston St., Boston, by public transportation, take a Green Line trolley to Kenmore Square, walk down Beacon Street towards Fenway Park, turn left down Lansdowne Street, and walk to Boylston. Machine Fridays begin at 10 p.m. and end at 1 a.m. and are 18+. Entrance is $15 for those under 21, $10 for 21 and up. Note: Machine does not take credit cards, so bring cash. An ATM is on site. Find more information on Machine events here. Find out more about gay nightlife in Boston here.

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

Erin Thibeau can be reached at ethibeau@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @erinthibeau.

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