Boston Nightlife

Shepard

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Thought it would be worthwhile getting a thread up on this topic, if only so that I can share a bit of a rant.

Haven't been out until closing time in quite a while, probably since I'm getting up there in my years (so it goes). But on Saturday night I had some great beers at Stoddard's on Temple Place (highly recommended) and then a late night meal somewhere in Chinatown. Left right when every bar and club let out.

Big mistake.

The streets basically became a trashy boozy mess where everyone simultaneously fought for cabs with Hunger Games-like violence. I was turned down by multiple cabs, and many dozens more passed me occupied. I had to walk until nearly near Kenmore - 45 minutes! - just to get a cab to Brookline. I might as well have walked the rest of the way. (I was a bit too tipsy to trust myself on Hubway, although I do realize it can be a good option.)

The taxi that finally picked me up was a Cambridge cab - technically illegal, although I would never complain or raise issue about such a stupid and misguided law. But of course it had its credit card reader tied up with a black trash bag. When I protested I nearly got kicked out.

This city needs extended closing times and taxi reform. Desperately. Even with no changes to the hackney system, just a later or nonexistent closing time would stagger the use of taxis so that they're not all in demand at exactly the same time.

Oh right, or I can dream about late night T service...
 

choo

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^ Yes, A 3 or even 4 am closing time for some places would definitely help the place stagger. You can even gain revenue from this by having only a certain number of place that get the later license (I think Chicago does this). That revenue can be used to fund some articulated buses that do some loops at 2 am and 3 am and 4 am.

I don't think people realize how this will likely reduce issues rather then enhance them.

Also, regionalized taxi's need to happen. For a Brookline cab to not be able to pick up people in kenmore or a cambridge cab in beacon hill is stupid and serves only the corrupt medallion owners, not even the cab drivers. I really wish the mayoral candidates had took more ownership of this issue- although its definitely not going to win many votes in west roxbury.
 

fattony

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^ I like the staggered closings mostly because it will be easier to sell to the public, though I think 4am is a big stretch. You might see 2 or 3am. You can sell the liquor licences upgrades for a fortune and problem locations will be easier to identify and deal with. Taxi crush solved. Late night transit - that is still tricky.

Circulating buses sounds kind of good - but where do they go? Not surprisingly, if you start listing all the must-have pick-up and drop-off locations it starts to look a lot like the T map... Can we just keep the T opened? Maybe increase fares after 1pm? Charge $3 or $4. Or is that a non-starter for some reason?
 

mass88

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Last call in Boston should be 3 am every day that a bar/club wants to stay open that late. I also think bars should be able to offer Happy Hour type deals. Nothing too crazy, but being able to offer $4 drafts on a Thursday when the normal price is say $5, or $5.50 seems reasonable to me.

Boston cabs can be the worst at times. Drivers screen you as to where you want to go before they'll agree to take you. They give attitude when you signal you're going to pay with your card. While it's not as bad as it used to be, I still get drivers who will claim their machine is broken. Getting a cab downtown after 1 am can be pretty tough.

As far at the T goes, would it really be that tough/big of a deal if they ran 1 additional train on each line from its terminus starting at 1:45 am?
 

commuter guy

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I'm under the impression John Connolly would like to make Boston more hospitable for young adults, for example, maybe pressuring regulators to loosening happy hour restrictions. Nurturing a more lively nightlife would improve the desirability of this area for that demographic group. As far as Walsh, don't expect much from him in this department since he is a recovered alcoholic.
 

Matthew

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It's long past time we had a night bus system, like many other cities, that substituted for the T after midnight or so.

I think both candidates are onboard with the idea.

I am going to do some more thinking about it after the election, but I already wrote a bit some months ago.

Of course, a later closing time, saner alcohol laws, and reformed taxicab system would all be great helps too.
 

JohnKeith

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I don't know of any bar owner who would like a later closing time.

"Nothing good happens after 1AM."
 

commuter guy

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^ I would probably agree. A 2 a.m. closing is fine. Later bar hours do not necessarily make for a better nightlife IMO, but maybe I'm just getting old. As already indicated, I think some form of transit should run later and more late night eating options would be a welcome addition. Most importantly, I think liberal granting of beer/ wine and liquor licenses would go a long way in injecting new energy into the city. The cost of such licenses are so cost prohibitive that potential entrepreneurs with creative ideas for new bars/restaurants but short on $$ are unable to establish new establishments. The other factor that would help inject some more unique nightlife options would be access to cheaper real estate.
 

Matthew

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"Nothing good happens after 1AM" is a line used by cops who just want the neighborhood to roll up the sidewalks at midnight. Yea... nothing good happens, if you ban anything good from happening... it's self-refuting nonsense.

Anyway, the major point of later-than-2AM closing is to help spread out the crowd, so that tens of thousands of people aren't suddenly forced onto the street with no other option but to try and hail a cab.

Another option is to do what they do in some places and let the bars stay open but the drinks stop getting served. This way, you have a warm place to be, everyone's sobering up, and you can stay inside and wait if you like.

I don't really stay out until 2AM much anymore but I know that the cops and major officials sure as shit don't know how to handle it properly. It seems everything they try just backfires on them spectacularly. I swear, it's like they're a bunch of suburban town cops brought in to the big city and they don't know what to do.

"Gee whiz, there's crowding on the streets after the bars close!" "I know! Let's force them all to close at 1AM instead! That'll change everything!" "No wait, we need to make sure there's no food options at that hour, so that everyone will go straight home like good little boys and girls!" "Why can't people just get to bed by midnight?*" "Hey some dumb woman drove drunk, lets ban drink specials, that'll prevent drunken driving!"


*Real quote from a police officer.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I could go with the loosening of cab jurisdictions. Ever since I moved here it's always been force of habit when out with friends to make sure that we were barhopping on-the-move late at night to position ourselves in an area where short walk could get us the Brookline or Cambridge cabs. Kenmore, North Station, etc...unless it was screw-it altogether and uproot straight to Inman/Porter/Davis after 11:00pm to finish out the night on Cambridge/Somerville turf. Everybody knew that the cabs in Boston were fuckin' useless after 12:30, so it was like jockeying for position at the door to get away from downtown before last call. To the point where most of us only went downtown when we were sure it was going to be an early night and not racing against T closing time. We'd start and end elsewhere if it was going to be a marathon.


I know over the course of the last dozen years hundreds of dollars if not more out of my pocket have gone to bartenders not in downtown or not in the City of Boston at all solely because of these late-night jockeying games around the cab scramble and cab territories. That's the kind of artifice these policies create around their own inconveniences. I feel like half of the experience of Boston nightlife itself is in exercising evolution's behavioral adaptations around the arbitrary limitations on Boston's nightlife.
 

omaja

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All of the above is why Uber is doing so spectacularly well. The cab system simply can't come to terms with how broken it is and fix what needs to be fixed in order to compete.
 

George_Apley

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All of the above is why Uber is doing so spectacularly well. The cab system simply can't come to terms with how broken it is and fix what needs to be fixed in order to compete.
I love Uber. It's definitely worth the sliding demand curve cost scale to be picked up without fighting for cabs. I've never tried to use it when I'm downtown though. I imagine it would be hard to find your Uber in the throngs of people hailing cabs.
 

DowntownDave

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I have never used a cab since installing Uber long ago, and I live right downtown.
 

choo

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I have never used a cab since installing Uber long ago, and I live right downtown.
Uber is awesome and will totally undermine the cab industry in a way to eventually force reform. I have taken Uber to the airport at 430 am, home from the airport, to downtown, from downtown, its great. All of it has been cheaper then a cab.

Last ride from the airport was $26 in a nice clean van vs. what used to be a $37 cab ride (including tip) in a shit box driven like mad. Plus getting picked up is actually faster if you time it right getting off the plane because massports cab dispatch where they don't call the cabs until a line forms and they use the carnival chain like people have never got in a cab before. I actually think Logan runs really well, but the cab part is infuriating.

Uber is building their uberX fleet. You can see it on the app over the last 2 months. It will force a change in cab structure and since it has already been approved and the cab racket has been called out, I think it will be tough to get rid of it without a huge outcry. Plus, its regional!
 

Max Power

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Uber is awesome and will totally undermine the cab industry in a way to eventually force reform. I have taken Uber to the airport at 430 am, home from the airport, to downtown, from downtown, its great. All of it has been cheaper then a cab.

Last ride from the airport was $26 in a nice clean van vs. what used to be a $37 cab ride (including tip) in a shit box driven like mad. Plus getting picked up is actually faster if you time it right getting off the plane because massports cab dispatch where they don't call the cabs until a line forms and they use the carnival chain like people have never got in a cab before. I actually think Logan runs really well, but the cab part is infuriating.

Uber is building their uberX fleet. You can see it on the app over the last 2 months. It will force a change in cab structure and since it has already been approved and the cab racket has been called out, I think it will be tough to get rid of it without a huge outcry. Plus, its regional!
Have you tried Lyft? That one is more of the gypsy cab variety but I find it to be even cheaper. I prefer it.
 

choo

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^Lyft is a little too sketchy for me. It's more like a carpool. Uber has more accountability and tracking. I'm not much a cab person- I bus/bike/T/walk before anything else- but uber has been great. I have also used it in Chicago while for business and made expense reports nice and easy- so added bonus there.
 

JeffDowntown

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I have never used a cab since installing Uber long ago, and I live right downtown.
I am the same, I have never used a cab since starting to use Uber, and I also live right downtown. Walk a block away from the cab crowd, and call your Uber.
 

Matthew

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I tried UberX to the airport. It was slightly cheaper than a cab and zero hassle. So far so good.
 

617

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I am the same, I have never used a cab since starting to use Uber, and I also live right downtown. Walk a block away from the cab crowd, and call your Uber.
Ubers great until you experience surge pricing...$85 for a trip from central to the north end
 

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