Best of Boston

1986 Best Club


<p>The life span of most nightclubs is short, largely because crowd loyalties tend to change about as often as the Republican candidate for governor. Fortunately, however, that fact has always kept the city’s impresarios on their toes. Local club owners know that to make it, they’ve got to make it happen. With clean sight lines and state-of-the-art acoustics. Or an interior that’s as sleek as it is comfortable. Or a consistently solid lineup. Or the right kind of crowd.</p> <p>Club managers Sam Marcus, Robert Gregory, and Chloe Sachs have put together all those elements—under the same roof, no less—at Nightstage, an upscale Cambridge music room that opened a day after Hurricane Gloria, and with all the storm’s gusto, last September.</p> <p>Six years ago, Sachs, a devoted fan of the Ann Arbor Blues Festival, sensed a blues revival coming and gambled on it. “Our basic love was the blues,” says Sachs. “But we were tired of seeing the acts we wanted to see in such grody conditions.”</p> <p>According to Sachs, the concept behind Nightstage, located at 823 Main Street, was “to create a comfortable and sophisticated space in which to hear the music we wanted to hear and to attract the kind of crowd we wanted to attract—namely, people in their middle twenties and older.” Six years later the reality is exactly that.</p> <p>Although Nightstage—a two-level room coated in muted lavender, taupe, and gray with recessed lighting, wall-to-wall carpeting, and a mahogany bar—is arguably the best-dressed club in the area, its real success has hinged on the breadth of its nightly (except Monday) performance schedule.</p> <p>Since opening, Nightstage has attracted top names in blues (Memphis Slim, Sippie Wallace, Albert King), jazz (Sun Ra, Carla Bley), folk (Leo Kottke), Latin (Tito Puente), pop (Girls’ Night Out), and bluegrass (Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys), plus local talents like the Screaming Coyotes.</p> <p>Says Sachs: “The best part of it all has been the diversity of the crowds and the music we’ve been able to pull in. We feel that culturally we have really given something to the city, and that’s been incredibly gratifying.”</p>