The debate over Boston's dull nightlife, and the possibility of improving it, has flared up again in recent weeks. The spark was the launch of the Future Boston Alliance, a group that advocates for a "loosened-up" city; it was unsurprisingly brushed off by the 19-year-old Menino adminstration. (Note to blog followers primarily interested in my Top 100 Sitcom Episodes countdown: This is not off-topic, as the depiction of community-building is one thing that interests me about sitcoms.)
This morning, on the Sunday of a long weekend when just about everyone with the means has fled Boston, the Globe's Dante Ramos weighed with an indictment of the "Boston bar buzz-kill":
Nightlife — the bars, clubs, and restaurants where people hang out after hours — is a major part of the image a city presents to the world, or at least to a crucial sliver of entrepreneurial, highly mobile workers who are prone to comparison-shopping among cities. Yet Boston’s anti-fun image isn’t just bad publicity; it’s written into the law. Happy-hour drink promotions are banned statewide under a Dukakis-era state measure meant to curb drunk driving. Another state law requires bars to obtain a specific license before they allow patrons to dance. Boston’s entertainment license application asks venues to quantify their dartboards and wide-screen TVs. The rules are enforced. At a February concert at the House of Blues, Boston police broke up a mosh pit they deemed insufficiently supervised.