Boston contains numerous colleges, which means it also contains numerous college bars. Yet, sadly, too many of us restrict our imbibing experiences to the one-mile radius around the Square that stretches from the People’s Republik (if you venture to Central Square) to Temple Bar (if you are banished to the Quad). But this need not be so. Undergraduates, rejoice: A short T ride, $5 cab or 10-minute drive (designated, please) brings students to a fifth-dimensional place where people almost like us inhabit bars nearly the same as our own. For those not so intrepid to explore on thier own, never fear: FM did the legwork, providing the best tips for expanding Harvardians’ barhopping repertoires—and dating pools.
Boston College: GREAT SCOTT
1222 Comm. Ave., Allston
T: Harvard Avenue (Green Line B)
It’s hard not to feel sorry for the bands that play at Great Scott. The inattentive audience is transfixed either by the TVs blaring around the bar or by the pick-up lines being seductively thrown at them by the opposite sex.
While the band makes some damn fine music, the predominantly BC jock crowd—dragging BC girls in small shirts and tight pants behind them—concentrates on finding a late-night mate. Still, waitress service makes getting a drink quicker and easier than it ever was at the Grille and $1 drafts on Wednesday nights make the price right.
Equivalent Harvard bar: The bygone Crimson Sports Grille with live music and some real live upperclassmen.
Tufts: THE BURREN
247 Elm St., Davis Square, Somerville
While the façade and quiet front room resemble those of a traditional Irish pub, the back bar and its dance floor are quite another scene. Tufts students and a few locals relax at some of the readily available tables in the front room; those who wish to see and be seen make their way through the line to the back room, where backwards white baseball caps abound. The young clientele and pushy mob around the bar may remind some upperclassmen of nights at the late Crimson Sports Grille, particularly as Tufts girls dressed to the nines sashay around Tufts guys pretending not to notice.
Elbows may have to be thrown to get a table, but a better bet is standing and swaying to the music radiating from the back room. Every Thursday night features live eighties music, though be warned: it’s the same eighties band every Thursday, so be prepared to live on a prayer week in and week out.
Equivalent Harvard bar: Hong Kong, with sportier attire and a cover band
MIT: THE THIRSTY EAR
305 Memorial Dr. (located in the basement of Ashdown House), Cambridge
This is an MIT sports bar. If that sounds paradoxical, it is, but read on. Located in the basement of a graduate dorm, the Thirsty Ear draws a mixed crowd that ranges from grad students cooling down with some Sam after a nice workout to confused undergrads who think this is a fancy-dress type of bar and have dressed up for naught. A TV plays whatever games are showing, but almost no one pays attention. The drink is beer and beer alone, but variety is good and prices reasonable. (A pitcher of Sam Adams will set you back only $8.25.) The student bartenders are extremely friendly, going out of their way to make sure everyone is served quickly and having a good time. Do not be surprised if you notice someone next to you working on a problem set—John Nash’s stunt double makes regular appearances here.
Equivalent Harvard bar: The love child of a Quincy Grille that serves Bud Light, and Grendel’s Den.
MIT: MIRACLE OF SCIENCE BAR AND GRILL
321 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
Thanks to the large glass front, this second MIT bar resembles a slightly brighter Cellar. On weeknights the Miracle of Science draws a predominantly local crowd. While on some weeknights the place is pretty much deserted, you can expect slightly more excitement on the weekeneds, as a few adventurous MIT students stroll down toward Central Square to sip on screwdrivers and watch the cars zip along Mass. Ave. While the Miracle of Science is not a place to drink pitchers and get rowdy, it is a great to place to sit back, relax and chat with friends—just make sure you bring your own.
Equivalent Harvard bar: The Cellar.
186 Harvard Ave., Allston
T: Harvard Avenue (Green Line B)
A jazzed-out version of Red Line, Wonder Bar draws a youthful, well-heeled crowd. Some of the city’s best live jazz, two stories of over-priced liquors, a posh glass-fronted area and Burberry plaids make Wonder Bar the it place in Allston. While BU students claim it as their own, they are—as usual—mistaken. Hip kids from nearly all the neighboring schools, as well as yuppie twenty-somethings trying to stay with it, can be found scattered throughout Wonder Bar on any given night. Make sure you dress to the “T,” as the strict bouncers will not let anyone in wearing sneakers, jeans or a hat.
Equivalent Harvard bar: Red Line with live music.