Cantab Lounge

Dive Bar / Live Music Venue
Cantab Lounge Featuring local rock, blues, and soul musicians every night, Cantab Lounge's upstairs/downstairs set-up attracts an eclectic cross-section of pub crawlers, college kids, and music lovers. Boston United States 42.3661798 -71.1053048
3.15 8
Cantab Lounge - Dive Bar | Live Music Venue in Boston.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Featuring local rock, blues, and soul musicians every night, Cantab Lounge’s upstairs/downstairs set-up attracts an eclectic cross-section of pub crawlers, college kids, and music lovers. Early in the week, patrons will... ... read full review

  • Hours:

    M–W noon–1am, Th–Sa noon–2am, Su noon–1am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Cantab Lounge Review

The Scene

Featuring local rock, blues, and soul musicians every night, Cantab Lounge's upstairs/downstairs set-up attracts an eclectic cross-section of pub crawlers, college kids, and music lovers.

Featuring local rock, blues, and soul musicians every night, Cantab Lounge’s upstairs/downstairs set-up attracts an eclectic cross-section of pub crawlers, college kids, and music lovers.

Early in the week, patrons will find a pretty chill atmosphere as a laid-back crowd of blue-collar regulars congregates at the ground floor bar to shoot the breeze over cheap pints and listen to the live folk music drifting over the partition from the small elevated stage.

Monday’s Open Mic Night and Wednesday’s Poetry Slam get artists coming to perform original material, but the place really starts to liven up on Thursdays, giving way to more rocking weekend acts.

The cramped downstairs performance space draws crowds of indie-loving college students in vintage concert t-shirts and skinny jeans, ready to rock out to up-and-coming garage bands.

Upstairs, a slightly more mature clientele fuels up on spirits and hits the dim dance floor to get down to house-band renditions of rock and soul standards, or mingles and flirts with the twenty-something pub crawlers.

Hard to beat in terms of entertainment options, Cantab Lounge is an upbeat venue perfect for anyone looking for a cool drinking spot, a lively dance floor, an authentic music scene, and an outgoing crowd.

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Tip from Jonah:

Anyone aching to get onstage and show their stuff should check out Open Mic on Mondays at 8pm. Order is determined by picking names out of a hat, and performers get two songs apiece.

  • Crowd

    College students, indie music lovers, and local blue-collar regulars, mostly 20s downstairs, mid-20s to 40s upstairs.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Live music nightly, mostly folk, rock, blues, and soul. Open Mic Night on Mondays at 8pm and Poetry Slam on Wednesdays usually starting around 11pm.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Patrons are permitted to bring in food from elsewhere.

  • Prices

    Cover charge up to $7/Th–Sa. Beer $3+, cocktails $5+.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Very casual, mostly jeans and sneakers. Tighter jeans and vintage duds downstairs.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Thursdays through Saturdays for the live music, and Mondays for Open Mic night.

  • Close By

    The Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub (472–480 Massachusetts Avenue), another great live music venue, is right down the street.

Cantab Lounge User Reviews

Average rating:
fun dive with great live music
Meg J. May 6, 2013
the title really sums it up - this is a true dive, but there's always fun, live music. this is a great place to go with a group of friends on a night when you just want to chill out, dance a little, have a few beers, and enjoy yourself.
Dive bar with a communal vibe that's a GREAT place to catch some local live music
Robert P. Mar 6, 2013
I became aware of Cantab Lounge about a year ago when my band booked a show to play there on a Saturday night. We had a blast that night and have been back to play five times already! Cantab is easily one of our favorite venues to play in Boston. Like the Middle East (which is about a block down the road), Cantab has an upstairs and a downstairs. The upstairs always has a solid blues or soul band playing, while the downstairs features local acts (a nice mix of LOUD indie rock bands and quieter acoustic sets). Both rooms are relatively small, but this is what makes Cantab Lounge great: It’s a throwback dive bar with a communal vibe that exists for the sole purpose of hosting live music. Nowadays, bars like Cantab Lounge are few and far between. Cantab Lounge is located right on Massachusetts Ave in Cambridge, about a five minute walk from Central Square, and is surrounded by good food (there is a great falafel place next door as well a Greek style pizza place where you can grab a slice for cheap). Both floors have bars, prices are a little steep though ($5 for a beer, $6 or $7 for a mixed drink), but that’s pretty much standard for most bars on Mass Ave. If you want to grab a beer and catch some live music for cheap, Cantab Lounge is definitely worth checking out. If you play in a local band and are looking for a place to play, Cantab is ideal. Not only is the sound great, but you ALWAYS get to play for your allotted 50 minutes, and you ALWAYS walk away with some cash at the end of the night regardless of how many people you bring. Tell your friends, Cantab is always a good time!
Worth visiting... once.
Grace H. Mar 6, 2013
Cantab is a local must-visit, especially for college bar-goers and the over-40 crowd. However, there is not much in between the two age groups. The music is great, the dancing is fun, but there are few 20-somethings and 30-somethings besides the Thursday late-night rush of college bar-hoppers. Otherwise, the lounge is filled with older couples and a few singles dancing solo on the quite small dance floor. The band is a favorite, with a minimal cover charge for some genuinely good covers of great oldies. Sure to get you swinging, but not necessarily begging for more the following weekend.
Cool spot in Cambridge
Christina W. Dec 11, 2012
This is an awesome spot. I visited my friend in Boston about a year ago, and she suggested that we go here. I don't know much about Boston, so I obliged, and since we had been roommates I assumed she would pick a good spot. And she totally did! This place is adorable, and I had a great time just drinking beer and listening to music with a bunch of nerdy post-grads like myself. I specifically remember some really bizarre older patrons, including an elderly lady who wouldn't stop hitting on the college boys. It got a little awkward, but mostly it was funny and gave the Cantab a really unique kookiness to it that I definitely won't forget. If you are into chill live music where everyone is kind of doing their own thing, this is the spot for you. I will definitely be back there next time I visit Boston!
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