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4 College Sophomore

Nightlife: Harvard has a pretty good party scene Thursday through Saturday, but if you want to party or drink during the weekdays, you're out of luck. Students study pretty hard during the week, and many of them party harder on the weekends. Final clubs are the biggest source of parties, particularly for freshman girls. The clubs generally have unlimited supplies of alcohol on the weekend and offer a pretty great space for partying, although the ratio of women to men is ridiculously skewed in favor of men. Non-final club males have a somewhat harder time finding parties, especially as freshmen. However, for those not interested in attending final club parties, Harvard frats (especially Sigma Chi), upperclassmen parties, various extracurricular group parties, and frats at nearby MIT and Tufts offer plenty of opportunities for partying.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Nightlife: Parties aren't hard to find, depending on your group.

4 College Sophomore

Nightlife: I've found the nightlife to be awesome here. Granted, i'm a girl, so it's much easier, but there's always something fun going on. Not all students at Harvard party, but the ones that do know how to have fun. The best part is that there are so many options. It's not like other schools where greek life dominates. Almost every student club/organization i'm part of regularly throws (really fun) parties. Lots of organizations hold date events, etc. And boston is like 10 minutes away for bar-hopping and clubbing.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Nightlife: As a freshman its not great in the yard but upperclassmen have it a lot easier!

4 College Freshman

Nightlife: People mostly party on weekends because there is just too much to do during the week. There is usually something going on most weekends.

1 person found this useful Report

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 260th
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 321st
    Best Drink Prices
  • 1116th
    Tamest Party Scenes

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Dominic Hood
New Orleans, La.
View all previous student authors

In 2012, Harvard instituted new University-wide policy when it comes to drinking, in an effort to reduce dangerous drinking practices. So while there are parties on campus, the University is attempting to crack down on them, so tread lightly. Final clubs aren't necessarily mentioned in the policy, which is where a lot of partying occurs, in addition to the dorm parties that take place. Final clubs are typically for people who like to party or have the money to party in an expensive way.

However, aside from campus happenings, Harvard students still manage to spend plenty of time and money at local bars like Daedelus and Hong Kong. If the local bar scene does not sound appealing, just take the short T ride to Boston, and you will find a cornucopia of activities, ranging from bars and clubs to theaters and coffee shops. All in all, Boston and Cambridge provide Harvard students with more than enough nightlife opportunities to make most other college students jealous.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Harvard Square
  • Lansdowne Street
Other Places to Check Out
  • Cambridge Queen's Head
  • Champion's Sports Bar & Restaurant
  • Charlie's Kitchen
  • Grafton Street
  • Middlesex Lounge Restaurant
  • Rise After-Hours Club
  • Tavern at the End of the World
  • Tavern in the Square
  • Temple Bar
  • Thirsty Scholar Pub
  • Tommy Doyle's
  • Uno Chicago Grill
  • Whitney's Café
Local Specialties
Scorpion bowl: This is a popular specialty at Hong Kong.
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Beer pong
  • Card games (A$$hole)
  • Century Club
  • Quarters
Useful Resources for Nightlife
Closing Time
1:30 a.m.–2 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
Hong Kong

Club ListingsWhat's This?

Royale Boston

Royale gets pretty good acts to perform, in addition to its resident DJs.

279 Tremont St.


(617) 338-7699

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

Phoenix Landing

An Irish bar by day and a dance floor by night, the Phoenix nightlife gets into full swing around 10; the bar plays everything from house to `80s music, depending on the night.

512 Massachusetts Ave.


(617) 576-6260

John Harvard's Brew House

An undergraduate hangout for well-priced, tasty food.

33 Dunster St.


(617) 868-3585

Shay's Pub & Wine Bar

A perfect summer spot to have a sandwich and beer outside while you watch the crowd stroll by on JFK.

58 JFK St.


(617) 864-9161


Great for a first date or for any jazz lover, the Regattabar serves smooth drinks to go along with its smooth jazz sounds.

1 Bennet St., in the Charles Hotel


(617) 661-5000


This classy bar is a great place to start the night with since its capacity of 65 and closing time of 1 a.m. means it gets crowded easily and closes early. Drinks are moderately priced for Cambridge, while their food tends to be well-worth the added expense.

45-1/2 Mount Auburn St.


(617) 349-0071

Cambridge Common

Containing a subsidiary lounge called the Lizard Lounge, Cambridge Common is a trendy little bar and restaurant offering 24 draft beers.

1667 Massachusetts Ave.


(617) 547-1228

Hong Kong Restaurant

Can anything beat a night of scorpion bowls? And if you've had too many, there are plenty of beers to wash everything down. The Hong Kong can be the haven of underage bar-goers, though recently it has begun to crack down hard on fake IDs.

1238 Massachusetts Ave.


(617) 864-5311

Grendel's Den

Grendel's attracts a much smaller crowd than its Cambridge counterparts, and often its patrons love it because they can escape the crowd, while still enjoying good drinks and a great atmosphere. Grendel's tends to be more rustic than other bars in the area and largely features tables, instead of standing room like many other bars. Drinks are cheaper than nearly every bar in Cambridge. The below-ground bar also offers one of the best happy hours in the area (daily 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Sunday through Thursday 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.), with $3 drinks and half-price food.

89 Winthrop St.


(617) 491-1160

What to Do if You're Not 21What's This?

Club Passim

Many bands come to this venue.

47 Palmer St.


(617) 492-7679

Student Polls

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 33 responses

Very poor
  • Convenience to get to
  • Cover charges
  • Distance from campus
  • Drink prices
  • Fun
  • Variety/number of options

What's the best way to get to the popular nightlife spots?    Based on 32 responses

  • 47% Walk.
  • 3% Taxis.
  • 28% Public transportation.
  • 22% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 0% Use a designated driver.
  • 0% There are no good options.

Where can you find the best parties?    Based on 10 responses

  • 24% Final clubs
  • 21% Upperclassman dorms
  • 21% Other nearby schools
  • 18% Frats
  • 12% Boston
  • 6% Restaurant

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 36 responses

  • 6% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.
  • 33% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 42% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 11% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 8% Parties? What parties?

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 9 responses

  • 78% Harvard-Yale Thanksgiving Game
  • 22% Yardfest, Harvard-Yale, Garden Party Season, Punch
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