Nightlife | What's Good | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Published August 26, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. | Updated August 26, 2015 at 11:24 a.m.

Burlington isn't quite the city that never sleeps, but it suffers no shortage of nocturnal activities. Want to catch some live music, a game or simply chill out with a perfectly mixed martini? Head to one of our favorite nighttime haunts, listed here.

Music Venues

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  • Matthew Thorsen

The Monkey House

30 Main St., Winooski,

Winooski is the Williamsburg to Burlington's Manhattan. It's increasingly up-and-coming, especially in terms of food and nightlife. The hippest joint in the Onion City, the Monkey House features cozy couches, pool tables, and the most consistently excellent lineup of local, regional and national indie music this side — or that, really — of the Winooski River. It's also often 18+, especially during the week.

Higher Ground

1214 Williston Rd., South Burlington,

Higher Ground boasts a constant stream of big-name acts on the palatial Ballroom stage. The adjacent Showcase Lounge features rising talent.

Nectar's/Club Metronome

188 Main St., Burlington,

Iconic hot spot Nectar's — aka the House That Phish Built — has live music seven nights a week. Upstairs at Club Metronome, DJs reign most nights, including at the ever-popular retro weekend dance parties. 18+ on weekdays.

Radio Bean

8 N. Winooski Ave., Burlington,

If venues such as Nectar's and Higher Ground are the lifeblood of the local music scene, this cozy hipster haunt is its beating heart. The tiny Bean is Burlington's musical melting pot.

Red Square

136 Church St., Burlington,

Bands play almost nightly at this hip club and its adjacent alley. DJs take over after midnight most nights. Check out the Blue Room for bumping EDM on weekends.

Signal Kitchen

71 Main St., Burlington,

Hidden in a Main Street alley with no sign marking its door, this recording-studio-cum-live-music-speakeasy hosts heavy-hitting musical acts both imported and domestic.

The Skinny Pancake

60 Lake St., Burlington,

Folk music and crêpes — what's not to love? Get some of each most Thursday through Saturday nights. And don't miss Josh Panda's acoustic soul residency on Wednesdays. 

College Bars

click to enlarge MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen

Three Needs Brewery & Taproom

185 Pearl St., Burlington, 497-0119

We almost feel bad for including the Needs here. Really, it's a cut (or two) above most college bars. But as the block-long line of students outside the bar most weekends indicates, it's hugely popular with the academic set. And with good reason. It's got great beer, lively pool tables, a unique vibe and an enormous outdoor patio. Swing by at 4 p.m. on weekdays for $1 drafts during Duff Hour.

Akes' Place

134 Church St., Burlington, 864-8111

This classic college-town watering hole — with pool, darts and sports — was your older brother's favorite bar when he was in school here. It might become yours, too.

CK's Sports Bar

12 Malletts Bay Ave., Winooski,

Frequented by St. Mike's students, this traditional tavern boasts a long, wooden bar; a large, outdoor deck; nightly drink specials; and flat screens as far as the eye can see double.

Finnigan's Pub

205 College St., Burlington,

An upscale beer list, live music and DJs make this longtime BTV staple a solid weekend destination. Philadelphia Eagles fans flock here Sundays during football season.

McKee's Pub & Grill

19 E. Allen St., Winooski,

Grab a beer and sit outside to watch drivers royally misunderstand Winooski's traffic circle at this St. Mike's haunt. The weekly drink specials are crucial.


163 Church St., Burlington,

DJs play this popular college hangout three nights a week. Pool and TVs entertain anyone who doesn't feel like dancing. It's 21+ on the weekend.

Ruben James

159 Main St., Burlington,

Sports bar by day, sweaty dance club by night. Try the food — e.g., 40-cent wings every day of the week. You'll be surprised. In a good way.

Dive Bars

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The Other Place

4 N. Winooski Ave., 863-5803

The OP is the crown cubic zirconium of Burlington dives. It features drink specials every day of the week — we're partial to PBR pitchers on Tuesdays — and one of the more competitive pool tables in town. The music is random and usually loud. Don't complain. Just enjoy it, ideally at a seat by the open garage-door window facing the street.


194 Main St., Burlington, 862-7314

Townies, punks and hipsters coexist peacefully around Burlington's most awkwardly placed pool table. Home of the PB Army.

Franny O's

733 Queen City Park Rd., South Burlington,

Pool tables, dartboards and TV screens abound at this lively locals' hangout. But it's far enough from campus that you'll need a designated driver or cab fare handy. Live music and karaoke on weekends.

JP's Pub

139 Main St., Burlington, 658-6389

If it's karaoke you seek, look no further. This classic dive serves up wannabe rock stardom at least three nights a week.

Ken's Pizza and Pub

71 Church St., Burlington, 862-3335

This little hole-in-the-wall pub is a gem hidden in plain sight of the Church Street Marketplace. It's the perfect spot for a quiet drink — and a slice from the adjoining pizzeria.

Olde Northender Pub

23 North St., Burlington, 864-9888

Owner Bob Beauvais describes this true neighborhood watering hole as "the best damn make-you-feel-at-home-bar."

T. Rugg's Tavern

149 Elmwood Ave., Burlington, 658-0456

This Old North End staple has the distinction of being the only bar in town with a view of a cemetery. So that's something.

Related Locations

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About the Artist

Matthew Thorsen

Matthew Thorsen

Matthew Thorsen was a photographer for Seven Days 1995-2018. Read all about his life and work here.


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