You don't have to be a student to enjoy the bars near some of the city's most famous universities
It's back-to-school time, and you know what that means: throngs of college kids swarming the city, stealing back your summer fling (okay, he was19), and generally making you feel old. C’mon, we know you’re just jealous — when else in your life did you party five nights aweek, bum off your parents, and hook up with anything that moved? Whether you’re a USC alum, a frat boy from Middle America, or a proud former Boston collegiate, you can relive the good old days with a college-area pub crawl. If you’re really feeling nostalgic, hit up a different school’s ’hood every night. The nice thing is, now you can afford more than dollar drafts.
If your post-grad life is lacking in required reading, make your first stop an academic one at Union Street (107 R Union Street, Newton Centre,617.964.6684). It co-hosts the author series Newtonville Books in the Attic in its upstairs bar; greats like Dennis Lehane, Zadie Smith, and Augusten Burroughs have read there in the past.(Of course, if you’re just looking for a quality beer in a fun atmosphere, no literary chops required, Union Street can provide that, too.) Stop off at the expansive patio at Devlin’s Restaurant & Bar (332 Washington Street, Brighton, 617.779.8822) for a South End feel without the pricey cab ride. From there, head to Cleveland Circle to Roggie’s New Age Brew & Grille (356 Chestnut Hill Avenue, Brighton, 617.566.1880). From 4 to 7pm, enjoy 25-cent wings and good conversation with frazzled coeds decompressing after class. Then it’s a quick trip down the street to City Side Bar & Grille (1960 Beacon Street, Brighton,617.566.1002). The roof deck is an excellent place to drink if you can snag a spot, and the crowd catches some contagious BC-sports fever -— an added plus on game days. Late-night, headover to Mary Ann’s (1937-1939 Beacon Street,Boston; no phone), the Cheers of Boston College. The drinks are cheap, the cups are plastic, and things have been known to get rowdy, but it’s got a true neighborhood feel. We promise you’ll spend the rest of the night loving everything about the scene. Well, everything but the guy puking next to you in the bathroom.
The BU crowd is so diverse and international that plopping them down in a place like Allston makes for an interesting dynamic. A plethora of bars and nightclubs has sprung up to meet the demands of such a worldly set. Sunset Grill & Tap (130 Brighton Avenue, Allston, 617.254.1331) is the ideal spot to grab a great burger and kick off your pregame. It’s got an impressive 112 taps, 380 microbrews, and 63 styles of beer, so even your favorite beer snob won’t be disappointed. From there, head to Wonder Bar(186 Harvard Avenue, Allston, 617.351.2665), where — gasp! — you might actually see BU-ers mixing with the kids from BC. It’s one of the few places in the neighborhood with bouncers and a dress code. Inside, it’s a classy joint, with live jazz and a mix of DJs, depending onthe night. Tonic (1316 Comm Ave, Brighton, 617.566.6699) is another option on the upscale end. Head downstairs to the Met Lounge or hang out at the upstairs bar; either way, you’ll get a sexy vibe from the red walls, the martini in your hand, and the good-looking guy chatting you up (so what if he’s afrat boy?). Over on Lansdowne Street, a stop at Embassy (36 Lansdowne Street, Boston, 617.536.2100) is in order. Take a few spins around the dance floor with the international kids — they’re by far the best dancers in the city. End your night at the Avenue (1249 Comm Ave, Allston, 617.782.9508) with one of its city-famous $1 drafts. Indulge in a game of Photo Hunt alongside the by-now-sloppy students and enjoy the high-fives and celebratory hugs before you head back to the world of business hand shakes and pats on the back.
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