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Blue Cat Cafe
94 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA
Phone: (617) 247-9922

 

The Vibe: This modern lounge is ultra-hip without trying ultra hard. Sure, the sleek, brushed-steel furniture, art-deco European liquor prints, and piped-in bebop lend a stylish ambience; but what you won't find is attitude among the friendly waitstaff or laid-back patrons. You get the sense these folks are cool because of who, not where, they are.

When to go: Friday night

What to order: The Cat's espresso martini (vanilla vodka, Kahlua, chilled espresso) presents a delish compromise. This place isn't afraid to splash bold, colorful mixes into its cocktails, which include the Blue Cat cosmo (Bombay Sapphire, blue curacao, lime juice) and the perfect ten martini (Tanqueray Ten, Midori, sour mix). Combine one with the equally creative dinner menu, and you'll be purring into the weekend in no time.

  
  
La Boom
25 Boylston Place
Boston, MA 02116-4602
Phone: (617) 357-6800
The Vibe: La Boom deserves props for even trying to inject some class into Boylston Place, and the surprising thing is that it mostly succeeds. The decor resembles nothing so much as a hotel lobby on ecstasy--all suspended white curtains and long divans punctuated by revolving multicolored searchlights, with plenty of room to lounge as well as dance. The music can veer from global house to hip-hop or even disco, but the real draw is the high-powered sound system, which--true to the club's name--hits you right in the gut with its big, big woofers.

When to go: Table space on Thursdays is at a premium.

What to wear: More important is the generous female-to-male ratio. Dress for the former skews to short skirts and tall boots, with leather pants and midriffs a fallback.

  
 
McCarthy's Bar & Grill
903 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02115-3104
Phone: (617) 867-9090


The Vibe: Boylston Street's most in-demand bar keeps packing them in on weekends, attracting a steady crowd of preppy young professionals and students. Most nights it's noisy and crowded, with a line spilling out onto the street. Singles have been known to "make friends" here, though probably not as the result of long or deep conversations. Many a professional athlete has stopped by after a game. Patrons choose from a full selection of adult beverages, including an above-average beer menu. Harried bartenders patrol the handsome bar, which also features numerous TVs constantly showing sports, music or movie clips. Standard bar food is available for those who want to nosh.

When to go: Hot place to go after work, after the week or after things don't work out with your mate. If you get there early enough, grab a seat and hold onto it. The second floor turns into a makeshift dance spot on busy nights.

  
  
Pravda 116
116 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: (617) 482-7799

The Vibe: In part, you've come to Pravda for the scene, and here that means being on display. The bar is, by far, the trendiest spot. Looking to escape? Head to the slightly more relaxed back lounge.

What to order: Chef Chris Parsons continues the tradition of sane and flavorful bistro fare pioneered when this was Marais and continued when it was Mercury Bar. But Parsons has his own chops, and they're very good indeed. Look for healthy portion sizes and preparations that are heavy on flavor, light on fat.

  
 
Roxy
279 Tremont St
Boston, MA
Phone: (617) 338-7699

The Vibe: Allow a moment of silence for the club's deceased mascot, an oversized, stuffed bee that used to fly around the ceiling. Its track was dismantled when the "VIP bar" was installed upstairs.

When To do: The dance music here is a mix of old and new: Latin is featured on Thursday; international house on Friday; a mix of house, techno and Top 40 on Saturday. There's at least one live-music event per week, and because the club rents out to different promoters, the fare is a mixed bag.

  
  

Whiskey park
64 Arlington Street
Boston, MA
Phone: (617)
426-2000

The Vibe: Whiskey Park, the first Boston property of ultra-swank nightclub mogul (and supermodel husband--just ask Cindy Crawford) Rande Gerber, attracts a diverse crowd, from leather-clad Euros to Beacon Hill hipsters. His hip drinking lounges have already made their mark in New York and L.A., and been visited by A-list stars like Penelope Cruz, Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney. In the next twelve months, Gerber will be opening bars in Miami, Chicago and New Orleans. His latest Whiskey bar has just debuted—Whiskey Park, located in the Boston Park Plaza hotel. The 3,500-square-foot space contains two separate bars: one smaller, intimate room—which, according to Gerber, will be a modern version of a men's club—and a large lounge that will be more lively, with modern décor and funky music. The setup should make both Boston's Old Guard and university crowd happy.

When to go: On weekends the bar fills up around 8pm; go early to avoid standing in line. Tables are always reserved, but just cop a spot. If you're ordering drinks or, even better, food, it's unlikely anyone will give you the boot.

What to order: There's a light selection of average-quality finger foods (quesadillas, chicken skewers and even burgers) for early-evening nibbling or for those alcohol-induced munchies.

  


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