Tonic Boston, Massachusetts



Who’s spinning? Who’s winning?

With all the hurrah over the Patriot “dynasty” taking another title this year, our NightStalkers hit the streets of Boston, checking out a sports bar-meets-club/lounge known as Tonic. The venue is on Commonwealth in Boston’s notoriously collegiate pub area, but claims to be more on par with city’s downtown hotspots. Tonic borrows the name and theme from its bright and flashy big brother lounge in Manhattan. Our Stalkers see if they really can get their groove on in the end(zone).

Stalker #1
As a first year law student I stumbled upon Tonic in the midst of scattered hole-in-the-wall pubs catering to the college crowd. Located in the Brighton/Allston neighborhood, it seems like this bar was snatched up from downtown and plunked down in this funky locale.

I quickly found that one of the best things about Tonic is its laidback atmosphere, something I didn’t expect to find when I first walked into the chic, Manhattan-like bar. It felt sophisticated and stylish, but without the pretentiousness, which is why I’ve gone back and dragged my New York housemate along, too. It’s the kind of place at which I feel right at home and have a good time, whether I’m decked out in black pants and stilettos sipping a martini, or rocking a Red Sox (or any team but Yankees) jersey and flip-flops sucking down a Blue Moon.

When I walk in I ignore the games that are on the six plasma TVs and projection screens. I pass through the sports-bar type vibe of the upper level, and head for the stairs. I follow the glow of the red lights and bass from the downstairs “met lounge” to find a DJ spinning a mixture of house and R&B, setting the mood for all night bumping and grinding.

Things get a little too hot on the dancefloor, so I grab a much needed cocktail from the thankfully large bar. I move with the crowd, dancing for more than hour before going back upstairs to find my friend, and hope she’s still there and hungry for a late night snack. I spot her using a pool stick as a microphone. We flag down a waitress to order from their menu of typical bar grub with a few surprises (grilled Portobello sandwiches and fried catfish). Word to the wise: Stay away from the pizza, green light on the fries.

So whether you’re tired and just want to chill and have a few beers, or if you’re looking to dance all night, Tonic will get the job done. Bonus: Upstairs is especially nice on a warm night when the front windows are opened. Only drawback: It closes at one a.m., so head there early to avoid lines, especially when there’s a big game. Another bonus, my personal favorite: After a foggy Saturday night, you can head back in on Sunday morning for a lovely buffet brunch and make-your-own-Bloody-Mary bar.

Stalker #2
After moving to Boston from New York last fall, my friend convinced me to go to Tonic for a splash of sports bar, without the entire place being a devotion to Red Sox fans’ glory. But when we got there I wasn’t thinking “sports bar” at all. My first impression at the door was that I was stepping into a swanky martini bar, but inside a real chill vibe pervades.

The crowd of mostly students and young professionals in their early 20s and 30s was more laidback than I’d expected. There was huge oval bar, and every professional, amateur and little league game going on in New England was broadcasted on the slew of TVs and projection screens. But instead of grabbing a stool next to a cute sports fanatic to watch ESPN’s Super Bowl highlights from the past four years, I followed my friend to the club going on downstairs. I was in luck: There was another huge bar down there, and plenty of comfy seating. There were people rocking the bar and the dancefloor, but this Stalker preferred chilling on the sidelines, sprawled out on a sexy leather couch.

When I tired of the club scene I just retreated back upstairs to shoot pool, booze and hear some good beats. The electronic juke box provided more varied music than the DJ-dance party downstairs, with what seemed like endless tunes.

After what must have been a long while and a lot of beer I realized that my pool partner was not, in fact, Tom Brady, and I was glad my friend resurfaced in time to get some food at the bar.

I plan on going back to the place, but I’ll remember to wear my dancing shoes during baseball season.

Copyright 2005 Club Systems International Magazine
Copyright 2005 TESTA Communications