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Bars & Clubs

Best Subtle Evolution of a Small Music Venue 

Rickshaw Stop

Rickshaw Stop celebrated its 10th birthday this year, but the onetime auto shop, TV studio, and now music club exists in a state of perpetual adolescence. In a town where everyone and everything seeks improvement and progress, the unmarked Fell Street spot has happily stayed its own funky self. It's neither a rock venue nor a dance club, but some cross between; the atmosphere, with its reclaimed white marble bar and actual rickshaws imported from Southeast Asia, finds a happy medium between casually divey and comfortably posh. All of which is not to say that the club hasn't grown up some in the last decade. Once prone to reaching hellish temperatures, Rickshaw now has a big cooling system that keeps dancers mostly dry. A new upstairs bar has replaced the lung-squelching smoking room. And there even are couches from which you can see the stage! But it's really all about the music, and the Rickshaw cultivates a remarkably consistent calendar: Local bands galore, the latest and greatest in under-the-radar touring acts, and offbeat dance parties fill the place most evenings. Thursdays bring the legendary Popscene club night, in which Live 105 Music Director Aaron Axelsen imports acts everyone will be freaking out about in 18 months. So yeah, you could argue that the Rickshaw Stop has changed in the last decade. But we'd say it's just gotten better.

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