All Aboard the Cool Bus

Boston’s original party wagon rolls on.

“There are only three rules,” says our driver, Mike, as he loads another case of Bud Light onto the Bustonian, the reigning champ of traveling debauchery. “No pissing. No puking. No dancing on the seats with your shoes on.” We—20 urbane thirtysomethings sitting properly along the padded benches—look at each other. “Don’t worry,” we say. “We’re not that kind of party. We’re researching for a story.” Mike smirks.

Seconds later, we pull onto Mass. Ave., the first beats of “P.Y.T.” booming, and—just like that—we are that kind of party. The kind Mike and his fellow drivers see nearly every night as they squire bachelors, bachelorettes, and birthday guys and gals across town in one of five custom-designed rides, including the brand-new “all ’80s, all the time”–themed bus. (Sadly, our bus does not come with the usual stripper’s pole.)

First stop: the Hong Kong in Harvard Square for scorpion bowls, which we suck down after Mike gets the bouncers to let us skip the line. Then it’s back on the bus for more MTV-beach-party-style boogieing.

Four bars later, 3 a.m. comes and goes. We’re beat, admittedly buzzed, and slightly incredulous—we’ve had the night of our lives, for less than $50 apiece.