Bars With No Cover Charge

BY ERIN POWERS // MARCH 29, 2012 //

Having to pay a cover charge is like having to receive a kick to the shin just to enter a bar. We are forced to break open our purses and wallets before we even order drinks.

Let’s face it, our budgets are tight and who wants to set aside $10 for a cover charge when it could be put toward drinks, gas or food? It is hard to find a decent bar or club with no cover on a Friday or Saturday night. But this task is far from impossible. One must simply know where to look.

If you recently spent your last few dollars on a new pair of dancing shoes, then Splash Ultra Lounge is a good spot for you. Don’t be fooled by your first impressions here; the crowd doesn’t get thick until after 11. At first, you might think you’ve entered a high school dance where the boys and girls are at separate ends of an empty dance floor, but this is only an illusion. Once the DJ gets going and people start to move, the place erupts and you’ll be sure to find yourself drenched in sweat by the time last call rolls around. There’s no cover charge any night, even Saturday, making Splash a gem among many.


Lansdowne Street is sure to provide for a good time and is always crawling with college students looking for just that. The Lansdowne Pub is a perfect place to experience the Irish culture Boston is famous for. The last time I visited, God-awful karaoke and a tantalizing plate of greasy potato skins entertained me the whole night.

The bar hosts many open mic nights, but will play dance music for small stints in between sets to keep the place alive. Lansdowne will only charge a cover when there is a live band performing, and even then, it will only cost you $5.

As for the Allston/Brighton area, there are a couple good spots that I would recommend to anyone who wants a vibrant atmosphere and a cold beer without giving up a cover charge. White Horse Tavern, located on Brighton Avenue, is known for its extra large windows that get swung open in the warm weather, making this spot a perfect summer location. It is a great place to catch a game, whether you’re stuck standing outside on the curb during the Stanley Cup or sitting at the bar for one of the 950,000 Red Sox games. Either way, you’ll have a view of one of the Tavern’s many big screens.

Another solid location in the same area is Barely Hall, located on Commonwealth Avenue in Allston. Formally known as the Joshua Tree, this newly revamped bar should absolutely have a cover. But as of right now, the place has yet to charge anyone at the door. What’s nice about this spot is you can sit upstairs and sip on a beer, then head downstairs to the dance floor when you start feeling a bit more rambunctious.

Another plus to Barley Hall is its menu. The place’s massive, mouth-watering burgers (half-priced on Tuesdays) and wings (25 cents on Mondays) are sure to leave you satisfied.

My advice to you, dear college students, is to always be stingy when out on the town. Don’t waste your hard-earned cash at the door; save it for inside. Cover-less bars do exist, if you look hard enough.

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