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The Grand
Photograph: Courtesy Big Night Entertainment Group The Grand

The best clubs and lounges in Boston

For a night of unabashed fun with friends, let loose at these lively spots

By Olivia Vanni and Eric Grossman
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You can have a fancy meal at the best restaurants in Boston or a picture-perfect evening on one of the best rooftop bars in Boston, but when you want to go wild, you head for the club. The best clubs and lounges in town guarantee a great time, with lineups of big name DJs, dancing and themed events. Grab your friends and go crazy. Since you’ll likely need a little pick-me-up the next day, here's our list of the best brunches in Boston to refuel... and get ready to do it all again.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in Boston

Best clubs in Boston

1. Mariel

Restaurants Cuban Downtown

This lavish Cuban restaurant has emerged as one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city, thanks to its flaming rum drinks and drunken monkey wallpaper. But underneath all of that fancy food and elaborate cocktails found within its dining room is one of the coolest places to party in the city. Mariel Underground is a luxurious lounge hidden away in this restaurant’s basement, boasting just as beautiful decor as the main-level. This secret space totally turns it up every Thursday through Saturday, when live DJs work their spindoctor magic and people dance into the wee hours of the morning.

The Grand
Photograph: Courtesy Big Night Entertainment Group

2. The Grand

Nightlife Clubs Seaport District

Big Night Entertainment Group is behind the city's most high-end nightlife experience: 12,000 square feet of stylish fun, located smack dab in the middle of the bustling Seaport. Custom content from Steve Aoki’s VJ and animation team keeps the crowds engaged, as do the state-of-the-art kinetic light system and 70-foot LED wall that wraps around the dance floor. Keep an eye out for international chart-topping DJs and celeb performers like Shaquille O'Neal.

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Middlesex Lounge
Photograph: Courtesy Middlesex Lounge

3. Middlesex Lounge

Nightlife Clubs Central Sq

At this eclectic spot near Central Square, DJs spin the best vintage hip-hop, classic electro and underground dance around. More of a lounge than a full-on nightclub, Middlesex has an ever-changing configuration; the room is filled with metal benches on wheels that can be artfully arranged for any number of events. Check with the venue to learn about electronic nights, queer dance parties and special guests.

4. Alibi Bar and Lounge

Restaurants American West End

Located within the old Charles Street Jail and the now Liberty Hotel, this ultra-trendy spot is the place to see and be seen when you’re spending a night out on the town. On the inside, Alibi stays on brand with nods to the building’s criminal past, like its brick walls and cell doors. Couches are strewn about the space, so you and your crew can collapse with a drink and watch all of the beautiful people pass by. While this lounge isn’t a full-on club like the venues you’d find in the Theater District, it does feature bumping beats from live DJs every Thursday through Saturday, and there’s plenty of room for you to get down and dance.

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Royale, Music and nightlife, Boston
Photograph: Sara Skolnick

5. Royale

Nightlife Clubs Theater District

Royale has been known for big bashes since its past life as the Roxy. The club hosts nationally celebrated musical acts, calling all those cool club kids here on weekends to dance the night away. The massive room has a grand stage, an elegant marble foyer, cushy seating nooks, a fantastic sound system and light show, VIP balconies and much, much more.

Club Café, Restaurants and cafes, Boston
Photograph: Jen Grygiel

6. Club Café

Bars Back Bay

Boston’s long-standing restaurant, piano bar, cabaret space and dance club will satisfy whatever nightlife craving you’re dealing with. As an institution within the city’s LGBTQ scene since it opened in 1983, its glossy interior has become a place where friends old and new gather each week. Regulars spring for a special club membership ($50 annually) to waive cover fees on club nights and get discounts on meals.

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7. Icon

Nightlife Clubs Theater District

Icon is a splashy, sassy venue, featuring more than 7,000 square-feet of space of pure hipness and state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems. On Friday and Saturday nights, DJs draw crowds, spinning a mash-up of Latin, house and hip hop jams.

Mémoire Nightclub Encore Boston Harbor
Photograph: Courtesy Encore Boston Harbor

8. Mémoire at Encore Boston Harbor

Things to do

You'll make major memoriesor won't remember a thing, depending on the night—at this Big Night Entertainment Group nightclub located within the Encore Boston Harbor. Featuring some of the world's top DJs and super sophisticated interiors, this spot is one of the classiest nightlife options around the city. And because it's situated inside this huge casino complex in Everett, it serves as the perfect way to cap off a night of gambling and high-end dining.

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Dbar
Photograph: Michael Ascanio Peguero

9. dbar

Bars Gastropubs Dorchester

This former Irish pub still boasts its dark wood interior, but now, it features a lengthy martini list and an upscale menu from chef Chris Coombs. After 10pm on the weekends, this restaurant turns on the smoke machines, lights and rib-shaking subwoofers, and suddenly, the space belongs to a lively, LGBTQ-friendly crowd singing karaoke and dancing the night away.

10. Havana Club

Salsa and bachata are the dances of choice at this Cambridge nightclub. Evenings out at this Central Square spot are all about practicing your dance moves, feeling the rhythm and having a great time. Mondays and Tuesdays are alchohol-free to allow for an 18+ crowd, but every Thursday through Saturday is a straight-up dance party with full bar. Don't worry about your skills or bringing a partner—a welcoming community of dancers is there to help you learn and lessons are available each evening before the party gets started.

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Big Night Live
Photograph: Big Night Entertainment Group/Chris Lavado

11. Big Night Live

Nightlife West End

This glamorous music venue captures the essence of elegant music halls and supper clubs of the past—obviously, just with all of the modern bells and whistles. The space features luxury seating, beautiful decor, several bars, mezzanine viewing and VIP areas. A variety of concerts and events pack the calendar, offering ample opportunity to elevate your nightlife escapades.

Beehive, Bars, Boston
Photograph: Alex Benn

12. Beehive

Bars Lounges South End

While The Beehive may not be the place to test out your twerking, it's still very much a nightclubjust in the most mature and sophisticated sense of the word. This bohemian, jazz-centric supper club allows folks in search of the finer things to dine, drink and dance in a laid-back and dimly lit setting, where there’s neither a cover nor a dress code. While jazz is the main musical genre here, you can also expect blues, electronica, reggae, Latin, cabaret and burlesque.

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Venu
Photograph: Courtesy Venu

13. Venu

Nightlife Clubs Theater District

Venu is known for sky-high cover charges and pricey drinks, but for club-goers who have the cash, entry is well worth it because a good time is pretty much guaranteed. Entourage Saturdays are the night to go here, so you should probably arrive early and dress to impress in order to improve your odds of getting in.

Phoenix Landing
Photograph: Michael Ascanio Peguero

14. Phoenix Landing

Bars Pubs Central Sq

While some people know the Phoenix Landing as Cambridges busiest soccer bar, this space really comes alive at night, when its pub-like interior transforms into an old-school dance spot. The floor is tiny, but its catalog of tunes is huge. Keep an eye out for popular 80s nights, plus DJs spinning hip-hop, reggae, house, techno, new wave, dubstep and more.

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15. Tunnel

Nightlife Clubs Chinatown

As its name may imply, the W Hotel’s nightclub resembles a tunnel inside some sort of futuristic space vessel. Tunnel's space is visually striking, with curvy couches, sleek decor and multi-colored lighting. The champagne menu is extensive and expensive, but there are plenty of other drinks far more reasonable in price than bottles of bubbly. Arrive early for a higher chance of getting in and, if you're lucky, there's sometimes a cheaper cover for early entry.

Storyville
© Michael Ascanio Peguero

16. Storyville

Music Back Bay

Named after the classic Kenmore Square jazz club that hosted musical icons like Billie Holliday, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald, Storyville sure has a lot to live up to. And while the Copley Square space doesn't quite match the historic name it's borrowed, it does offer quality, laidback nightlife and dancing. More a lounge than a club, two separate rooms with two separate dance floors means that if you aren't feeling the crowd, you can basically change venues in just seconds.

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Bijou
Photograph: Michael Ascanio Peguero

17. Bijou

Nightlife Clubs Chinatown

Bijou caters to an upscale, international crowd with a range of big-name DJs from around the world. Arrive early (around 10 or 11pm) if you dont want to wait on line—or worse, not get in at all. The space is small and intimate, but often loud and crowded. Check the website for upcoming appearances by major acts.

18. Ned Devine’s Irish Pub

Bars Pubs Quincy Market

During the week, Ned Devine’s is just another Irish pub in Faneuil Hall, serving fish and chips, award-winning clam chowder, corned beef, Guinness onion soup and other Éire-inspired fare. But on the weekends, this massive, top-floor joint transforms into a popular club, where folks can find several bars, live music and dancing.

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