After college, all the rules about going out change. Suddenly, half the bars you used to frequent in college are off-limits. If you went to BC, as I did, that means au revoir to Cleveland Circle, which includes Mary Ann’s, Cityside, and Roggie’s (unless you’re at Roggie’s for late night pizza, since it’s the only place in Cleveland Circle open at two in the morning). It also means no more trips to The Kells for BC nights on Wednesdays. You have to find the bars that are more “twenty-something” and less “college student.”
This was the challenge that my friends Lindsey and Erin and I faced when we decided to go out last Friday night. We reviewed our options. Where could we go that wasn’t too college and, at 10:30, wouldn’t take so long to get to from Brighton that we’d be stuck paying a fortune for a cab when it was time to leave? (Since the T stops running at 12:30, if you don’t live right in the city, you’re kind of screwed when it comes to going to bars downtown.) We eventually settled on SoHo in Brighton Center, which a lot of college students don’t know about because it’s not on the T. You have to take a cab to get there, but in our case, the ride wasn’t very far.
The rules about the guys you check out change, too. Your first question when you talk to someone isn’t “Where did you go to school?” but “Where do you live?” or “What do you do?” And it’s not so creepy to be hit on by a guy in his late 20s or early 30s anymore. We might even welcome it. But skeezy guys exist at all stages of life, as we’ve found out.
We miss the college bars, though. Once this summer, Lindsey and I went to Cityside. In about fifteen minutes, we saw our friend Ashley, an Irish guy Erin was dating at the time(whom she actually met at Cityside), and this creepy guy named Paul, who didn’t go to BC but once tried to convince Lindsey that he did and who, after getting Lindsey’s number, left her a voicemail message in which he screamed at her to “pick up [her] fucking phone!” At the time, Linds and I had just come from SoHo, and we had with us a twenty-seven-year-old guy I’d been dancing with there. He’d never been to Cityside, and he commented that it seemed like the kind of place where everyone knew each other.
And he was kind of right. What bars near colleges lack in quality, they make up for in comfortable familiarity. Mary Ann’s, for instance, is disgusting. The floors are always sticky with beer and there’s barely room in the bathroom to sit down to pee, but you know everyone there, and suddenly, they’re all your friends. The random kid in your English class whom you’ve never talked to is suddenly telling you stories about his roommates. The girl who lived on your floor freshman year whom you’ve lost touch with is hugging you and telling you that you look great.
Cheers did take place in Boston, and I think that this city, which is full of college students, really wants what the song says: a place where everybody knows your name. Now that we’ve graduated, we’ll never have that again.
But some of us still try for it. Friday night at SoHo, when Erin and I left our table to get a second round, Erin leaned in close to me. “Don’t tell Lindsey this I told you this,” she began, causing my ears to perk up, “but we…” She swallowed hard. “We went to The Kells,” she whispered, then covered her eyes in shame. “On Wednesday!”