The Boston Phoenix

arts & entertainment

Best lesbian night

The Lava Bar may be in the penthouse of Howard Johnson's, but that's easy to forget on a Saturday night. The club, which goes lesbian on Saturdays, has glass walls on three sides and is filled with sleek galvanized metal and lots of stylish velvet sofas. The atmosphere may be elegant, but the crowd and the music provide the necessary level of funk to keep the night fun. DJs Fran Englehardt and Thom Delahunt play an unusual blend of house, old-school soul, and Latin music. And if the music doesn't do anything for you, there are always theme nights. On one recent Saturday, women shucked their blouses and painted their breasts with liquid-latex paint (soap was not included).

The runner-up in this category has a completely different feel. The Midway Café, a laid-back bar in Jamaica Plain, attracts not only lesbians, but also artists, blue-collar workers, and young professionals new to the neighborhood. Live bands perform on most nights, but you might not even notice the music if you get deep enough into a game of darts or pool. Thursday is the official "Dyke Night," but anyone with half-functioning gaydar can find members of the tribe here on any evening.

Lava Bar, 575 Comm Ave, Kenmore Square, Boston, (617) 267-7707; Midway Café, 3496 Washington Street, Jamaica Plain, (617) 524-9038.

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