School spirits

By HEATHER BOUZAN  |  September 5, 2006
Northeastern University
Northeastern kids tend to be more laid-back than most. Their style is more casual than that of the typical Boston prep, and their hangouts reflect that — which is why you won’t find $25 appetizers, crystal stemware, or hyper-trendy cocktails anywhere near these establishments. Start your crawl at Conor Larkin’s Grill and Tap (329 Huntington Avenue, Boston, 617.867.0084), home of the cheap pitcher and surprisingly good bar food. Chill out at the end of the day with students relaxing after class or co-op, and challenge your barstool neighbor to a lax game of pool. A few steps down the street at Punter’s Pub (450 Huntington Avenue, Boston; no phone), you’ll find the future DAs, prosecutors, and public defenders of America, as Northeastern law students have unofficially claimed this spot as their own. That’s not to say the less legal-minded aren’t welcome; anyone can enjoy the friendly staff, cold beer, and snacks served through a literal hole in the wall from next door’s University House of Pizza. If you’re looking to diversify your beer options after a few too many brews, head around the corner to Woody’s Grill and Tap (58 Hemenway Street, Boston, 617.375.9663), one of Boston’s hidden gems that nobody wants to share. If you passed on a slice back at Punter’s, you and your drunk munchies surely won’t be able to say no to one of Woody’s famed brick-oven pizzas. As the evening winds down, end your night at the homey Our House East (52 Gainsborough Street, Boston, 617.236.1890). It’s one part frat party, one part group of friends hanging out in your living room, and it’s a popular destination when the clock strikes last call.

Tufts University
What Harvard Square is to Harvard University, Davis Square is to Tufts. A perfect night in these environs starts at the Joshua Tree (256 Elm Street, Somerville, 617.623.9910), where hearty comfort food and post-work sports fans abound. Grab a seat at the windows, which open out in good weather, and watch the coeds, young professionals, and since-forever Slummerville natives pass by. The more sophisticated college set appreciates a good beer list, and the Joshua Tree delivers. After a few pints, you’ll be ready to head across the square to the Burren (247 Elm Street, Somerville, 617.776.6896), named for an expansive, rocky plain in Ireland’s County Clare. It’s got Magners on tap, which is a just-sweet-enough break from all that beer. Check the pub’s music schedule before you leave; you’ll most likely find traditional Irish music in the front room and a boisterous cover band with lots of raise-your-glass dancing in the back. From there, it’s a short walk to Orleans (65 Holland Street, Somerville, 617.591.2100), the most upscale stop on your Tufts crawl. Here you’ll enjoy martinis and couches where you can congregate with friends; it’s the place college students go when they want to pretend they’re part of the employed set, only without all the added responsibility. Your last stop, PJ Ryan’s (239 Holland Street, Somerville, 617.625.8200), is just five minutes down the street in Teele Square, but hop in a cab if your pointy-toed heels are dragging. Here you’ll find the kind of raucous late-night party that’s best enjoyed at the end of an evening. Chat up the students who fill the bar, but beware of any closing-time invites back to the dorms — you’ll regret it in the morning.
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