Boston Nightlife Planner
Cover charges for local acts and club bands generally run $8 to $20; big-name acts can be double that. Dance clubs usually charge a cover of $8 to $20. Nearly all nightlife spots accept major credit cards; cash-only places are noted.
Because Boston retains vestiges of its puritanical blue laws, last call for alcoholic beverages in bars and restaurants remains at 1 am, and doors close at 2 am. Mayor Marty Walsh recently stumped for an extension to 3:30 am, but Beacon Hill legislators rebuffed the move. The only places "serving" after the official 2 am closing time for bars and clubs are a few restaurants in Chinatown (ask for "cold tea" and you might get a beer) and all-night diners, which won’t serve alcohol. Bars may also close up shop early if business is slow or the weather is bad. Blue laws also prohibit bars from offering happy-hour drink specials, although happy-hour food specials abound. That said, the MBTA (lovingly, the "T") keeps the subway and major bus routes running weekends until 2:30 am.
The best source of arts and nightlife information is the Boston Globe's "Arts & Entertainment" section (www.boston.com/thingstodo). Also worth checking out are the Thursday "Calendar" section of the Boston Globe; the Friday "Scene" section of the Boston Herald; and the calendar listings in free magazines in drop boxes around town, like DigBoston (www.digboston.com) and the Improper Bostonian. The Globe, Dig, and specialized sites as diverse as the thoroughly classical Boston Musical Intelligencer (www.classicalscene.org) and the scruffy indie-rock broadside Boston Hassle (www.bostonhassle.com), provide up-to-the-minute information online. Other reliable websites include the comprehensive artsfuse.org and The ARTery at wbur.org, the radio station of Boston University.
Boston’s supporters of the arts are an avid group; tickets often sell out well in advance. Buy tickets when you make your hotel reservations.
BosTix. This Ticketmaster outlet has two locations that sell half-price tickets for same-day performances and for select advance shows online. Full-price tickets for local attractions like Boston Duck Tours, Freedom Trail Walking Tours, and New England Aquarium are available. On Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, show up a half hour before the booth opens. Booths are in Faneuil Hall and Copley Square. www.bostix.org. Faneuil Hall Marketplace: Closed on Monday. Tuesday – Sunday: 10am – 4pm. Copley Square: Closed Monday – Wednesday, Thursday – Friday: 11am – 5pm, Saturday – Sunday: 10am – 4pm.
Broadway Across America—Boston. This organization brings Broadway shows to Boston in pre- and post-Broadway runs. Call between 10 am and 5 pm on weekdays. 866/523–7469; www.boston.broadway.com.
Live Nation. This huge ticket outlet handles top and trending tours of country, rock, and arena shows at major Boston venues such as TD Garden, Xfinity Center, Gillette Stadium, House of Blues, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, and Paradise Rock Club. Transactions are conducted online. www.livenation.com.
Ticketmaster. The ticket juggernaut has outlets in local stores (check online for locations), or you can order by phone, but note that Ticketmaster phone charges allow neither refunds nor exchanges. 800/653–8000; 800/745–3000; 866/448–7849; www.ticketmaster.com.