The 12 best clubs in Boston

For a night of unabashed fun with friends, head to the best clubs in Boston and dance all night with a drink in hand
People dancing at nightclub
Photograph: Shutterstock
By Eric Grossman and Time Out contributors |
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Sometimes you want to get wild, but where to go? A night out partying or dancing can be just as memorable as a fancy meal at the best restaurants in Boston or a picture-perfect evening on one of the best rooftop bars in Boston. Enter the best clubs in Boston. From longtime mainstays with big-name DJs to incredibly fun, local hangouts, these clubs all but guarantee fun times with friends. And, since you’ll likely need a little pick-me-up the next day, here is a list of the best Boston coffee shops and cafes for all your espresso and latte needs.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in Boston

 

Best clubs in Boston

1
Royale, Music and nightlife, Boston
© Sara Skolnick
Nightlife, Clubs

Royale

icon-location-pin Theater District

This Theatre District nightspot hosted some of the city’s biggest bashes during its previous life as the Roxy. Today, Royale continues to host national-level music acts on various nights, and on weekends the clubs kids pack in to dance the night away. The massive room has a grand stage, an elegant marble foyer, cushy seating nooks, a fantastic sound system, a festive light show and more. There are VIP balconies if you feel like getting away from it all.

2
Phoenix Landing
Photograph: Courtesy Phoenix Landing
Bars, Pubs

Phoenix Landing

icon-location-pin Central Sq

While some know the Phoenix Landing as Cambridges busiest soccer bar, the space really comes alive at night, when the pub-like space transforms into an old-school dance spot. The floor is tiny, but the variety 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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3
Good Life
© Michael Ascanio Peguero
Nightlife, Clubs

Good Life

icon-location-pin Downtown

One of several spots that first dragged downtown Boston out of late-night wasteland, Good Life hangs on by catering to many different scenes. On a given night, the DJs may be spinning top-40 hits, underground hip hop, Latin remixes or cutting-edge electro music. Dont like the scene upstairs? Head down to the more intimate subterranean lounge area.

4
Middlesex Lounge
Photograph: Courtesy Middlesex Lounge
Nightlife, Clubs

Middlesex Lounge

icon-location-pin Central Sq

At this eclectic nightspot near Central Square, DJs spin the best vintage hip-hop, classic electro and underground dance. Middlesex is more of a lounge than a full-on nightclub; the room is filled with little metal benches on wheels that can be artfully arranged to accommodate even the most disorganized of parties. Check with the venue to learn about electronic nights, queer dance parties, and special guests.

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5
Venu
Photograph: Venu
Nightlife, Clubs

Venu

icon-location-pin Theater District

If you want to get a taste of Bostons international scene, be prepared to pay for it. Venu gets points off for sky-high cover charges and expensive drinks but, if cash is no object, then a good time is pretty much guaranteed. Entourage Saturdays are the night to be here, and you should probably arrive early and dress to impress in order to improve your odds of getting in.

6
Icon Nightclub
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Michael C.
Nightlife, Clubs

Icon

icon-location-pin Theater District

Icon is all splash and sass; more than 7,000 square-feet of hip design with a state of the art sound and lighting system. On Friday and Saturday nights, the cool crowd lines up to dance the night away to DJ-supplied tunes; expect a mash-up of Latin, house and hip hop.

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7
Tunnel
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Cindy T.
Nightlife, Clubs

Tunnel

icon-location-pin Chinatown

The W Hotel’s nightclub/party space resembles a tunnel inside some sort of futuristic space vessel. Tunnel is also visually striking, with curvy couches, sleek decor, and multi-colored lighting. The champagne menu is extensive and expensive, but other drinks are more reasonable. Arrive early for an easier chance of getting in, and sometimes there's reduced admission for early entry.

8
Bijou
© Michael Ascanio Peguero
Nightlife, Clubs

Bijou

icon-location-pin Chinatown

Catering to an upscale, international crowd, Bijou draws dance DJs with the same kind of cache. 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 big-name acts.

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9
Cure Lounge
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Cure
Nightlife, Clubs

Cure Lounge

icon-location-pin Theater District

Part of the nightclub family that also includes Venu and Icon, Cure features colored ceiling lighting, so you may think you’re dancing inside a Rubik’s Cube. Wednesday is the club’s weekly gay and lesbian dance party, and weekend nights see DJs come in to keep the party going.

10
Beehive, Bars, Boston
Photograph: Alex Benn
Bars, Lounges

Beehive

icon-location-pin South End

The Beehive often resembles a nightclub for grown-ups—of which there are precious few in this town. The bohemian, jazz-centric supper club allows folks of a certain age to dine, drink and then dance in a laid-back, permissive setting where there’s no cover or dress code. While jazz is the main musical genre, on any given night you can also expect blues, electronica, reggae, Latin, cabaret and burlesque.

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11
Dbar
Photograph: Michael Ascanio Peguero
Bars, Gastropubs

dbar

icon-location-pin Dorchester

The owners of dbar took over a grubby little Dorchester pub and installed a dark wood interior, a lengthy martini list and an upscale menu. After 10pm on weekends, the smoke machines, lights and rib-shaking subwoofers come on, and suddenly the space belongs to lively, gay-leaning crowds for karaoke Fridays and “Magnum Saturdays.” 

12
Wally's, Music and nightlife, Boston
© Michael Young
Music, Jazz

Wally’s

icon-location-pin Roxbury

For sheer history and ambience theres no beating Wallys. Since 1947, this unassuming South End spot has been the premier showcase for Boston jazz talent, including plenty of students from Berklee, the Boston Conservatory and the New England Conservatory of Music. The drinks are strong and reasonably priced. No matter the day of the week, its invariably jazzy, often inventive and always without a cover charge. 

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