Boston's House of Blues
By Lauren LaDeau & Bryana Prout
The House of Blues has finally returned to Boston. The former House of Blues, located on Winthrop Street in Cambridge, opened in 1992 but closed ten years later. On February 20, House of Blues reopened at its new location, 15 Lansdowne Street in Boston. With its 53,000 square feet, the new space is nearly ten times the size of the earlier Harvard Square venue. After the closings of Avalon and Axis, House of Blues Boston should be an exciting addition to the nightlife near Fenway. Live Nation plans to book somewhere around two hundred shows a year with a variety of musical performers in the spacious concert hall. There has already been an amazing response, with ticket sales through the roof and major network press coverage. Marketing manager of House of Blues Howie Turkenkopf says that the House of Blues Boston “fits much more with the brand that it’s become.”
If the size of the building alone doesn’t induce visitors to take a look inside, talk of the restaurant and main room should. The restaurant seats about 125 people comfortably, and the front lounge room can accommodate about 350. It’s not a bad spot to hang out in while waiting for a show to begin. The main stage room has three levels: the General Admission floor, the General Admission balcony area, and a reserved seating area above the balcony. This represents quite a contrast from the House of Blues in Cambridge, which held only 180 people; the new venue can hold 2400. In front of the General Admission area is the main stage, which is higher than the main floor. The stage itself is wide and is very deep, which will help the band move in and out much more easily than on the original stage. The walls of the venue are hand painted a burnt orange, with intricate details in a pale yellow. The walls are also covered with original pieces of Southern folk art, giving the space that regional feel. And if that’s not enough for visitors to feel they’ve entered a new realm, they can check out the restaurant. The dining area has a New Orleans look to it, very cultured, with wall mosaics of blues legends, folk art paintings, and tables moved close together so that everyone feels a part of something. In addition to the one in the restaurant, there is a bar on every floor in the main room, except for the reserved balcony seating area. On the General Admission floor there are two bars on each side, but there is only one in the General Admission balcony area.
Setting this House of Blues apart is the lavish VIP Foundation Room. As you enter the Foundation Room, your eyes focus on the walls. They are covered with colorful and detailed fabric from Gujarat, remnants of old Indian wedding dresses. The VIP dining area is definitely a change from the main dining room, with sophisticated décor and a fine dining menu that is different from the one in the main restaurant. Also available to VIP members is a media room and the option to rent out a Prayer Room, which is an exclusive room where a member and guests can enjoy themselves over cocktails. To have access to the Foundation Room, you need a national membership, which can run $2500 and upward. However, even though it carries a hefty price tag, 20 percent of the profits from the membership go directly to the House of Blues Foundation, which brings the arts to schools and communities through programs that increase public awareness of African American contributions to American culture (IHOBF.org).
Familiar as the House of Blues but uniquely Boston, the renewed venue is sure to attract college students in and around the city looking for a local place to have a good time. Providing food, entertainment, and a place to socialize, it will quickly become a big hotspot. House of Blues will undoubtedly flourish in Boston.