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5 Places in Boston Where You Can Dance With No Hangups

Student Work Insider Guides
by Isabelle Martin Aug 1, 2014

Sometimes playing “Dance Dance Revolution” alone in your apartment just isn’t going to cut it. At the same time, how the fuck are you supposed to execute a perfect tootsie roll in five-inch heels? I’ve got the solution. Sweatbands and track suits highly encouraged.

1. The Cantab, Central Square (bluegrass)

If life were like the movies, and Liam and Ryan McPoyle actually got to open their own “anything goes” bar, this would be it. This place is weird as shit. Half the people here are geriatric fucks, half are wasted Harvard PhD students, and everyone resembles some kind of bird. The band’s average age is always at least 100, and the music is great.

To me, the most important thing about good dancing is being in a judgment-free zone, and you really can’t get much closer than this. Also, there’s a scratch ticket machine in the back for your boyfriend to skulk at if he doesn’t like getting down or is worried someone might try to lick his face.

2. Zuzu, Central Square (funk & soul)

In my opinion, funk is the best dancing music if you really want to freak out. You’ll hear the classic James Brown / Gap Band / Marvin Gaye stuff, along with some fantastic tunes you didn’t even know existed. You’ll see a fair number of college students here, but they’re the weird ones that wear long skirts and lipliner, so breathe easy.

Besides the music, the best thing about this bar is the floor-to-ceiling mirror wall. This provides a great way to perfect your pelvic thrusts and make sex eyes at the long-haired dude behind you. Preferably at the same time.

3. Rise, Bay Village (EDM)

This is the only place in Boston open past 2am. They don’t serve booze after 2, but it’s a great place to dance away your burgeoning hangover via seizure-like moves while surrounded by a bunch of glittery neon-garbed beacons of excellence.

4. Common Ground, Allston (’90s night)

Although you’ll spot a few high-heeled, sausage-dress-wearing girls awkwardly swaying, they’re relegated to their rightful place on the edge of the dance floor where they can perpetually adjust their dresses and check their phones. Everyone else will be in the middle of the packed floor, sweating their balls off while they flail around to “Good Vibrations” and slosh light beer all over each other. Breakdancing will be attempted.

5. 6B Lounge, Beacon Hill (’80s night)

’80s night in the fancy part of town seems to attract people from all walks of life: 22-year-olds basking in false nostalgia, die-hard Whitney Houston fans, 30-somethings hoping to relive their childhoods, confused-looking doctors who wandered in after a 24-hour shift at MGH and don’t understand what the fuck is up with this music. It’s all here.

The waiters are usually decked out in ’80s gear, and even though most of the patrons aren’t, I still like to get in the spirit with a scrunchie and crimped hair. They serve good food, too, so I recommend arriving at 9 and getting dinner and drinks before the line forms outside. Then you can sidle up to the alcoholic wreck who’s been slumped over the bar since 4pm, convince him that he almost definitely has the moves of a young Michael Jackson, and be the first duo to slither out to the dance floor. Your bartender will thank you.

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