Nightlife: TT the Bear’s Place

Central Square club has bands appealing to young and not-so-young

By Rich Barlow

10-3042-TTTHEBEARS-011_h.jpg TT the Bear’s Place is open seven nights a week. Photos by Vernon Doucette

Whether you enjoy a night at a club depends on both setting and music. TT the Bear’s Place, which has been hosting comers from Boston and elsewhere since 1989, has proven its chops as a setting. This Bear’s Place is an intimate den—the audience area measures just 15 paces long and perhaps half as deep—so getting a good view of the stage is no problem. With just a bar, you have to eat elsewhere, but the club, located in the heart of Cambridge’s Central Square, is just a short walk from an array of restaurants; we tried Rendezvous, its not-inexpensive but deliciously inventive menu an ideal prelude to showtime.

As for the music, my wife and I enjoyed a recent midweek performance by Scars on 45, a pop group from Bradford, England, whose brochure plugs a repertoire imbued “with a touch of Fleetwood Mac.” That reference gives you an idea of the audience’s age the night we attended.

Bill Clinton celebrated his nomination at the 1992 Democratic Convention to the strains of Fleetwood Mac and it became an anthem for his baby-boomer generation. Clinton is now 64, which could have been the age of one or two of the decidedly older crowd that turned out for Scars on 45. (We noticed one gray-haired patron putting on her reading glasses to scan the program.) My photographer colleague, similar to me in, um, maturity, cracked that it was his first club outing in years where he thought, “I could get lucky.”

Patrons’ generation aside, the concert was fine, pop-ishly pleasant, and soothing after a long day. Scars on 45 earned a major label contract (Atlantic Records/Chop Shop) this year after one of its songs made it on to CSI: New York. Our only quibble was that we were kept cooling our heels in line outside for almost half an hour after the performance was supposed to start. “When you see the stage, you’ll understand” about the wait, the greeter announced. “I promise you that.” The stage, however, failed to live up to his promise—it was colorful but hardly worth the wait.

And if Brit-pop is too easy listening for your tastes, TT the Bear’s, which has hosted groups like the Smashing Pumpkins and Indigo Girls before they were hot, doubtless has a booking to your liking. With local microbrews among its drink selections (beers start at $3, mixed drinks at $5.75 ) and a poolroom just off the bar, it’s a comfortable and convenient spot to unwind.

TT the Bear’s Place box office is open Tuesday to Saturday, 6 p.m. to midnight, and Sunday and Monday, 7 to 11 p.m. Live music most evenings; check the schedule. All shows are 18-plus. No cover charge. Show tickets run $7 and up; again, check the schedule.
10 Brookline St., Cambridge 02139
MBTA: Take the Red Line to Central Square, then walk two blocks down Massachusetts Avenue (with the street numbers declining) and go right onto Brookline Street. TT’s is on the left.

Rich Barlow can be reached at

This is part of a weekly series featuring Boston nightspots of interest to the BU community. If you have any suggestions for places we should feature, leave them in the comments section below.

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