The Middle East

Critics' pick
© Michael Young
Central Square

This sprawling venue is one of America's leading rock clubs, and a major player on the national and local music scene. A Middle Eastern restaurant as well as a club, it was the nurturing ground for Boston's alternative and indie music scenes, beginning in the mid-1980s in the smaller Upstairs room. 'Downstairs' was added later and, like many of Boston's basement clubs, was once a bowling alley. In the restaurant, musicians play the Corner without a cover charge, and in keeping with the Middle Eastern theme, there are also belly dancers. ZuZu, the venue's newest addition, sits in-between Upstairs and Downstairs, offering food, hip DJ nights and bands.

Venue name: The Middle East
Contact:
Address: 472-480 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge

Cross street: at Brookline Street
Opening hours: 11am-1am Mon-Wed, Sun; 11am-2am Thur-Sat
Transport: Red line to Central
Price: Admission free-$10