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Pubs we love: Crafty music venues

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Grab your ID and don’t forget the tickets: These venues have the perfect set list of indie music and craft beer.

Portland, Ore. // Crystal Ballroom

THE DETAILS: Opened in 1914, this historic venue’s now part of the McMenamins beer/hospitality empire. Party under elegant chandeliers and trippy murals or rock the worm on a shock-absorbing “floating” dance floor. DON’T SPILL!: Tour McMenamins’ beer portfolio during shows: Sip old favorites like the raspberry- infused Ruby Ale and the roasty Terminator Stout. DON’T MISS: Indie folk singer-songwriter extraordinaire Sam Beam (aka Iron & Wine) appears Nov. 2, followed by Aussie up-and-comers Atlas Genius a week later.

Cambridge, Mass. //  The Sinclair

THE DETAILS: This new Harvard Square spot is half gastropub (with modern comfort food by star chef Michael Schlow) and half multi-level concert hall. The kitchen’s open late, so clear your ringing ears with locally caught lobster and crab rolls. DON’T SPILL!: New England’s greatest hits (Harpoon IPA, Narragansett Lager) are classic picks, but go B-side with new releases like Jack’s Abby Smoke & Dagger. DON’T MISS: Go for indie rockers Born Ruffians (Nov. 6) and power duo Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Cave (of Nada Surf fame) in their newest project Minor Alps (Nov. 23).

Washington, D.C. // Black Cat

THE DETAILS: Twenty-year-old Black Cat features multiple stages where indie, alternative, punk and experimental bands thrive. It shares a roof with Red Room bar (no cover!) and the vegan-friendly eatery Food for Thought Café. DON’T SPILL!: PBR tallboys look the part, but pours of hoppy New Belgium Ranger or chocolaty Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter make wise upgrades. DON’T MISS: Psych-rockers The Black Lips weigh in on Nov. 2, followed by lo-fi pioneers and indie old-timers Sebadoh Nov. 3.

Hamden, Conn. // The Outer Space

THE DETAILS: Seven nights a week, eclectic acts from honky-tonk to jazz play in the antique-filled lounge. The adjacent bar boasts nearly 80 brews; drink 30 in 30 days and join the 30 in 30 club, which includes a free show and a plaque on the wall. DON’T SPILL!: Pair your night with lemony, earthy Brooklyn Sorachi Ace on draft, or can it with a hoppy 12-ouncer of Butternuts Porkslap Pale Ale. DON’T MISS: Begin your long initiation into the 30 in 30 club when indie rockers Built to Spill set up shop Nov. 5.

MORE: Check out Brooklyn’s newest crafty music venues The Wick and its sister beer hall The Well, both inside the former Hittleman Brewery in Williamsburg. The latter’s 60 drafts, 200 bottles and 12,000-sq.-ft. beer garden make it the best pre-show hangout.


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