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A slice of nightlife


Northampton at night. (Ben Barnhart photo)

There’s nothing going ooooooon . . . A stroll down Main Street in Amherst or a look through the “Happenings” section of the Valley Advocate suggests that this is not precisely true. In addition to those described in our main story, some popular possibilities include:

In Amherst:

  • Amherst Chinese, 62 Main: Has anyone not gone here on a date?
  • Antonio’s, 31 North Pleasant: For late-night munchies and attempts to stifle oncoming hang-overs, this seems to be the place to go.
  • Bart’s Homemade, 103 North Pleasant: After a meal at Judie’s, people seem come here for ice cream.
  • Black Sheep Deli, 79 Main: Sandwiches, cake, coffees of all sorts and, from time to time, folk or other mellow music on the tiny stage.
  • Bueno Y Sano, 46 Main: Crammed when we peeked in the door on November 11.
  • Judie’s, 51 North Pleasant: See Amherst Chinese.
  • Monkey Bar & Grill, 63 North Pleasant: The new-ish place in town, with New York decor and a New Orleans-style menu.
  • Pasta E Basta: 26 Main: Italian food, cheap and plentiful – a pre-night-on-the-town stop.
  • Rafter’s, 422 Amity: A sports bar; notable for the free popcorn on every table.
  • Starbucks Coffee, 71 North Pleasant: Seen one, seen ’em all – reliably cozy hang-out spot for students and townies who need their caffeine.

In Northampton:

  • Bay State Hotel: 41 Strong Avenue: Your chance to see one of the area’s scrappy rock or pop bands in a setting visually better suited to blue hair and meatloaf specials.
  • City Cafe, 1 Pearl Street: Dancing, pool, smoky room, big bar.
  • Claytopia, 157 Main: How men can prove they’re sensitive: go here on a pottery-painting date.
  • Club Metro, 492 Pleasant: The club above a car wash. Different nights of the week feature different musical genres. Nov. 11 was teen night.
  • East Heaven Hot Tub, 33 West Street: Best enjoyed in winter. Reserve a tub on the roof.
  • Fire & Water, 5 Old South: Feels cave-like, but in a good way. For regular spoken-word performance, this is pretty much the only game in town. Or any of the surrounding towns, for that matter. Also, folk, acoustic rock, open-mic nights and very healthy food.
  • The Grotto, 35 West Street: Seems to be the only specifically gay bar between here and Brattleboro.
  • Haymarket Bookstore Cafe, 15 Amber Lane: Journaling hippies, latte drinkers and smoothie addicts. Also vegetarian and vegan food, cheap.
  • Iron Horse/Calvin/Pearl Street; Center, King, and Pearl streets: All owned by the same person now, which means you see mostly adult alternative acts, as they’re calling John Hiatt, Dar Williams, The Nields, etc. – along with, at the Calvin, ballet and theater performances and the occasional dollar movie night.
  • Northampton Bowl, 525 Pleasant: Go disco bowling, do a little karoake, or catch a band at Grandstands, the bar on the premises. Nov. 11 featured Gutterboy.
  • Northampton Brewery, 11 Brewster Court: No relation to the newer Amherst Brewing Company, but offering a similar service: no bad beer.
  • Tunnel Bar, 125 Pearl Street: Wing-backed chairs, wafting cigar smoke, jazz stylings from an unobtrusive live band – take visiting New Yorkers here to show ’em we got class, baby.
  • World War II Club, 50 Conz: Legendary for its karaoke nights, featuring a mix of the talented and the tone-deaf from the student population and the community.

Further afield:

  • The People’s Pint Brewpub, 24 Federal Street, Greenfield: Offers some of the best brewpub food in the valley, and a selection of home- brewed ales, lagers, and the like.
  • If you really want to get the heck out of Dodge: Brattleboro is only 45 minutes away, and its Common Ground eatery offers healthy foods (à la Haymarket or Bela) as well as performances of poetry, music and comedy.
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