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Popular college nightlife spot Tavern in the Square Allston closed permanently

Tavern in the Square closed its Allston location this week, according to an announcement posted to the establishment’s Instagram on Monday. 

Tavern in the Square Allston’s Instagram post announcing that it is officially closed. The bar and restaurant, a popular location for local college students and residents, closed after 13 years of service. KATE KOTLYAR/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

The establishment, colloquially referred to as TITS, is a popular bar and restaurant known for attracting local college students and Allston residents. The chain has locations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, with upcoming locations in New Hampshire. Tavern Allston, located at 161 Brighton Avenue, was open for 13 years.

“This decision was not made lightly, but after careful consideration, we believe it is the right move for both our business and the evolving landscape of the Allston community,” Victoria Tuttle, public relations assistant for Broadway Hospitality Group, wrote in a press release. 

The press release also expressed gratitude for the collegiate community, a crowd that frequented the bar on Thursday nights. The establishment is located near campuses including Boston University and Boston College.

“Your enthusiasm and energy have been a constant source of inspiration for us,” the press release stated. “We are honored to have been a part of your college experience.”

Joshua Carl Hall, a DJ and entertainment director for multiple venues in Boston, started working at Tavern Allston in 2013. He said he watched as Thursdays at the venue “caught fire” during his tenure.

“One of the things that we can do [as DJs] is be part of the soundtrack of people’s memories, like the most important memories of their life,” Hall said. “Not being able to do that anymore is probably the biggest thing I’m going to miss.”

Hall said he observed changes to the neighborhood’s demographics and thinks that could be a reason for the establishment’s closure. Since the pandemic, he said he’s seen an increase in families living in the area and a decrease in college students. Hall said many Allston venues have recently experienced a “massive rise in noise complaints.”

Steve Beliveau began working as a video DJ at Tavern in 2016. He said that after the pandemic, Tavern Allston was not seeing as much business on weekends as it used to. 

“It’s such a large venue that there has to be stuff done to try to draw more people in,” Beliveau said. “[Despite] everything that they tried to do … it just seemed that other than Thursday, everybody wanted to go somewhere else.”

Beliveau said the Allston venue’s lively nightlife scene made it a “unicorn” among Tavern locations. 

“For BU and BC and the surrounding colleges, that place was a landmark and staple for Thursday nights,” Beliveau said. 

Arsalaan Abbas, a senior at BU, said for him, Tavern was “just a place to be on Thursday” like any other bar. Still, he said Tavern’s importance to the BU community made its closing “quite sad.”

“It was like a cultural touchstone for BU in general,” Abbas said. 

Theo Endreny, a 2024 BU graduate, said going to Tavern was an “overall positive experience,” despite the long lines and cover fee. He said he appreciated it as a nightlife option but is “not too sad” about the closure.

Sophia Sheumack, a senior at BU, turned 21 recently and has never been to Tavern Allston. She said she knows the establishment is a popular place for students to celebrate senior week.

“I’m definitely bummed I wasn’t able to go there because I feel like this would have been the best year to go as a senior,” Sheumack said.

Sheumack said the $5 cover charge made Tavern an affordable nightlife option for students, and she hopes the space is replaced by a business that will continue to serve students.

“It would be nice if it was another college bar or a restaurant in general,” Sheumack said. “I feel like something like that would really be great for the BU 21-over crowd.”

Although plans for the space following the closure are unclear, the press release stated Broadway Hospitality Group looks forward to future opportunities. 

Now that Tavern Allston is closed, Beliveau said he and Hall want to “keep people’s schedules full” and find new work for the DJs they manage at Tavern at other venues. 

“Every time that you lose a venue,” Beliveau said. “ You have a void to fill.”

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