– By Rachel Leah Blumenthal
Boston’s got plenty of music venues, and a fair number of pool halls, but what if you want to see a live show and play pool at the same time? You’re in luck! There are a few good spots where you can do just that.
Church of Boston
Killer cocktails, innovative bar food, and a Gothic ambiance (gargoyles!) set this Fenway venue apart. Parking’s a huge pain, especially on game days, but the walk’s not so bad from the T or several bus lines. A lot of good local and non-local acts play here, and there’s generally a substantial audience of regulars hanging in the bar by the back in addition to the show-goers up front. Once, on a weeknight, I ordered a drink called Death. This was a bad idea. As for the pool, there are two tables, and they have a central location: a clear view of the stage and a short walk to the bar. Sometimes the pool tables get covered up once the music starts, though. It seems to happen on particularly crowded nights.
Bonus: If you’d rather experience the cocktails and food in a somewhat quieter setting, go next door to
the restaurant side.
T.T. the Bear’s Place
Depending on the night, T.T’s feels like a dive bar or something just a little bit nicer. On a series of visits during the 2011 Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble, for example, it was a hot, sweaty, sticky mess of spilled Picklebacks and, well, rock ‘n’ roll, but on less crowded nights, it has a more intimate feel.
(By the way, a Pickleback is a shot of Jameson’s followed by a shot of pickle juice. Give it a try if you’re feeling daring.) T.T.’s is a maze of rooms, so you can really escape from the music if you feel the need. The main bar (and usually the band merch) is in a separate room from the stage, and behind that is another room – with pool tables. You can’t really see the stage from there, but you can still hear the music a bit while hearing your own conversation and concentrating on getting that winning shot.
If you head through the room with the stage, you’ll come to a mini lounge-like space with an additional bar. On a crowded night, this room is a hidden oasis if you’re not into getting up close and personal with strangers.
Brighton Music Hall
In the location of the recently-closed, legendary Harper’s Ferry, an impossibly neat-and-clean club has emerged. On a recent visit, the only sign of graffiti I found in the entire place was a small smiley face in sharpie on a toilet paper dispenser in the ladies’ room. A lot of well-known bands come through here, as well as a fair amount of local acts.
The sound system is top-of-the-line, but if you need a reprieve, the pool room is the place to go. It’s past the stage, right near the bathrooms and an additional bar, and there are several tables. Even on sold out nights, it’s rarely crowded back here. The music is definitely still audible, but so is your voice, and the lights are kept on in this section.