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Maybe It’ll Become Your Song? Can’t Go Wrong with These 6 Boston Live Music Dates

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Noel Coakley, founder of the annual New England Americana Festival (happening March 31 to April 2, 2011 at Church), is a generous fellow. He not only wants to bring everyone together for a 3-day celebration of the best in Americana folk and roots live music…

…he’s also swell enough to give a lucky HowAboutWe dater a pair of weekend passes to the jamtastic fest. To enter to win the passes, all you have to do is post the best date with the words “New England Americana Festival” in it by Monday, March 28.

Now, get yourself in the zone with a few of Noel’s favorite local live-music venues for sweet dates. – Christine Liu, Boston Community Manager

1. SHOW + MORNING-AFTER BRUNCH (MAYBE)

The date: How about we… hit Church for drinks, bites, a show, and (if we’re lucky) morning-after brunch.

Why it’s great: Church is the site of this year’s New England Americana Festival and an amazing place to start this list. Church is divided into an upscale restaurant with a tasty menu and cocktail list and a live music venue with a consistently strong, multi-genre calendar and a staff that takes serious pride in what they do. They have a great sound system but you can also maintain a conversation without yelling (especially if you hang back by the bar). Check their calendar for special menu nights; they often do a multi-course tequila dinner or a beer dinner. They also happen to have an amazing Sunday brunch… per chance things go well.

Want to go? Click here.

2. DANCE A LITTLE CLOSER

The date: How about we… catch a cozy live set at Toad, followed by awesome beers and a burger at Christopher’s?

Why it’s great: In Cambridge’s Porter Square, there’s a great little music club called Toad, with a capacity of something like 63. There’s a loyal crowd in there and they do a number of long-standing residencies with staples of the local music scene (Dennis Brennan, Christian McNeill, Eric Royer, Tim Gearin, Jimmy Ryan, Billy Beard). Shows every night of the week, and there’s always an early set and a late set. So, you could catch music before and/or after dinner next door at Christopher’s. Great beer selection and a solid menu, a step up from a good pub menu. Try the homemade black bean burger. (Just don’t overdo it on a date.)

Want to go? Click here.

3. BEST BEER AT A BASEMENT SHOW

The date: How about we… chillax with a local band in the subterranean Lizard Lounge over sweet potato fries and a microbrew on tap.

Why it’s great: Combining pretty much the two greatest things I can think of—an obsessively developed selection of microbrew taps and a long history of hosting fantastic local bands—the Lizard Lounge basement of the Cambridge Common restaurant is warm, red, gypsy den. Wall-to-wall oriental rugs. No stage. Just a cleared area surrounded by low tables and listeners. Feels like you’re at a friend’s house. A friend who has a way cooler sound system than you and cooks up better food than your mama. Grilled cheese, tomato soup, and sweet potato fries. And an I.P.A. you’ve never heard of.

Want to go? Click here.

4. MOON DANCING, IN A WAY

The date: How about we… sample beer at the Sam Adams Brewery and then dance our faces off at the Milky Way.

Why it’s great: Located in Jamaica Plain’s Brewery Complex, Bella Luna Restaurant and the Milky Way Lounge is a great place for anything from a pizza to a well-cooked salmon steak. Live music ranges from DJs to live bands and themed party nights. Check the calendar for all sorts of different nights: Latin dance parties, line dancing, rock ‘n roll, and craft beers. The Sam Adams Brewery is in the same building, so consider going on a brewery tour for a few beer tastings before dinner.

Want to go? Click here.

5. A SOUTH END CULTURE CRAWL

The date: How about we… luxuriate in a jazz set at The Beehive, then eat with our hands at nearby Addis Red Sea or Toro.

Why it’s great: The South End is known for having some of the best food in town. The Beehive adds music to that mix with unique, old-timey, swing era atmosphere and live jazz and world music. They have a great menu for sure, but there are a number of fantastic restaurants within walking distance. Directly across the street is an interesting dining experience at Addis Red Sea. Addis is an Ethiopian style restaurant—hands-only family-style eating, and totally fun for a date. Another good place for sharing food is tapas restaurant Toro a few blocks away. You’ll want to dive right into the paella—and the bowl they bring it to you in is big enough to do so.

Want to go? Click here.

6. WE ARE SONIC YOUTH

The date: How about we… rock out over hummus and foolproof-cool shows at The Middle East.

Why it’s great: A long-standing rock club with four music venues and three restaurants—how can you go wrong? Serving fresh falafel and rock and roll, The Middle East has a huge room downstairs (maybe 300+ capacity), but it’s a bit loud a times. Great for listening, but you’ll have to do your “getting to know one another” upstairs in one of the restaurants between sets.

Want to go? Click here.

After rocking out to the artist lineup at New England Americana Festival, post a date here!