Want to See the Best Nightlife in Boston? Check Out These 13 Hot Spots

Want to See the Best Nightlife in Boston? Check Out These 13 Hot Spots

CAs the saying goes, “Boston nightlife” isn’t a contradiction in terms. You just have to know where to look. To that end, we’ve rounded up the best places to party, from a basement disco to an outdoor salsa bar and a bar that brings the spirit of the South up north. And for the more rusty dancers among us, try one of the places that offer lessons before the dance floor opens. If you’re more interested in the best live music clubs in Boston, we’ve also got nine picks to offer across the region in a companion list.



Dance with the sea spray in your hair at The Anchor in Charlestown. This outdoor beer and wine garden hosts weekly events, including salsa dancing and comedy shows right on the water, all summer long — free of charge. Sip on specially selected beers and a few bar snacks, then line dance the night away. Want to bring the kids? The Anchor’s many movie nights and live performances are great for all ages.


1 Shipyard Park, Charlestown


Street Kayana Szymczak for The Boston Globe

Step into The Beehive any night of the week and you’ll be ushered downstairs to a white-tablecloth lounge with thick red curtains and chandeliers, serving up gourmet pub food (smoked paprika wings, anyone?) and the latest in jazz and world music. The events calendar is always packed, so settle in and get ready to tune your ears to everything from blues to reggae to Brazilian choro. And for those looking for a quieter summer evening, the Beehive also has a lovely outdoor terrace.


541 Tremont Street, South End

Cantab Lounge

Cantab Salon.

Long live Cantab. Few venues draw such a diverse audience as this Central Square staple, which offers live music seven days a week on two stages, plus open mic nights, poetry events and more. The cheap beers don’t hurt either. Pro tip: ask for a pistachio shot to get your courage up and compete with Cantab’s lively dance floor.


738 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

Club cafe

Two hundred and nine Columbus Avenue is a prestigious address for two reasons: First, it’s where the Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892. Second, it’s been home to one of Boston’s best nightclubs for 40 years: Club Café, a restaurant, piano bar, and dance club, and a legendary Boston LGBTQ+ hangout. The line to get in can be long (regulars know to buy an annual VIP pass to skip the line). But whether you go for a drink or a dance, you’ll leave with sticky soles and a smile. We’ll Pledge Allegiance to this.


209 Columbus Avenue, Bay Village

Glitter Boys

Glitter Boys. Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

Bubbles. Glitter. ABBA. And costumes galore. This vinyl disco—held every Friday in the basement of The Sinclair—draws a crowd. Get there early to secure a spot. DJs Kyle Buresh and Steve Maling, now in their 30s, have been going to concerts together since high school in Stoughton, and they keep the party going. The playlists range from the ’70s to the ’80s. And the records play until 2 a.m.


Sinclair, 52 Church Street, Cambridge

Grace According to Nia

Grace according to Nia. Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

Nia Grace brings Southern spirit to the Seaport with her restaurant-cum-jazz bar. Leather seating and intimate tables face a cabaret-style stage, giving guests the chance to chat over signature cocktails and grilled oysters, or just sit back and listen. Bring the family for brown butter beignets for brunch (or oxtail and grits for dinner) — or stop by later in the evening to watch guests transform the dining room into a dance floor, shimmering under the lights. (The venue is open to those 21 and older after 10 p.m.)


60 Seaport Boulevard, Floor 3, Seaport


Hava’s layout—a large, oval bar with a ramp leading down to the dance floor—means more room to show off your moves and a shorter wait for a drink. Despite the elegant interior, with its chandeliers and ornate fireplace, the atmosphere is anything but stuffy. The dance floor always stays energetic thanks to the club’s excellent music selection, from hip-hop and Top 40 to Latin hits. And special guests, who have previously included rappers Polo G and Fetty Wap, occasionally perform.


246 Tremont Street, Theater District

Club Havana

Club Havana. Jared Charney

The rhythms of bachata and salsa echo through the doors as you enter the Havana Club, one of Cambridge’s most famous Latin dance venues. The club hosts dance sessions throughout the week, each starting with a beginner’s lesson. With an on-site bar (open Thursday to Saturday) and performances by local dance groups, this dance hall guarantees a great time for all levels of experience.


288 Green Street, Cambridge

La Factory Central

La Factory Central. Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

La Fábrica offers a seamless transition from day to night with a Latin dining experience—complete with mofongo, maduros, and chicharrón—that gives way to Latin music in the nightclub on Fridays and Saturdays. But for the full experience, drop by on Wednesday nights, when the restaurant offers dance lessons starting at 9 p.m. in partnership with Bachata Room, as well as a party that lasts until the early hours.


450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge


ManRay. Carlin Stiehl for The Boston Globe

ManRay, the legendary Central Square club that closed in 2005, reopened last January with much fanfare, boasting a huge dance floor and raised stage. Even after an 18-year hiatus, it still attracts a diverse crowd: Wednesdays are the goth/industrial scene; Thursdays are LGBTQ+ dance night; and every Saturday, DJ Chris Ewen plays a delicious mix of 80s, new wave, electro, and post-punk. Events include karaoke nights, “Fantasy Factory,” and a monthly fetish night featuring go-go dancers and dominatrixes. Just check the schedule ahead of time to know what you’re in for.


40 Prospect Street, Cambridge

Silk R&B Party at Big Night Live

Silk R&B party at Big Night Live. Shamari Humphries

All R&B. All love. All night. That’s the slogan for Silk R&B Party. It only happens once a month, but it’s always worth the wait. Silk attracts hundreds of people from all over New England, mainly because it features some of the region’s most talented DJs. The costumes are impeccable, the dance moves are on point, and the music is always well-mixed.


110 Causeway Street, West End

Slade’s Bar and Grill

Slade’s Bar and Grill Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff

Slade’s is a must-stop for homesick Southerners and Hennessy punch lovers. Once owned by Celtics legend Bill Russell, the bar and grill has been a home away from home since 1935. Don’t miss the crispy fried chicken wings or the seasoned greens, full of slow-cooked, home-style flavor. Even on a Saturday afternoon, the throwback playlist, including Christopher Williams’ “I’m Dreamin’,” can evoke the atmosphere of a family barbecue, a cross-generational dance to new jack swing.


958 Tremont Street, Roxbury


Yvonne. Erik Jacobs for the Boston Globe

While Yvonne’s bills itself as a supper club, the main attraction is its craft cocktails, such as the (healthy, right?) What’s Up Doc, which makes Scotch with carrots, turmeric and ginger. Hidden behind a mock hair salon, Yvonne’s library lounge transports guests to a modern Great gatsby-bar or Clue game style. The decor is impeccably detailed, from the tin ceiling to the ornate mahogany bar, soft lighting and secret bookcase that leads to one of several dining rooms. As a finishing touch, the check comes in an old book.


2 Winter Spot, Downtown Crossing

The 2024 Boston Globe Best of the Best winners were selected by Globe staff and correspondents, with their choices narrowed to Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline. We want to hear from you: Did your favorites make the list??