City: Cambridge, MA
Address: 472 Massachusetts Ave.
Capacity: 575 (Downstairs at the Middle East)
Coolest Feature: Of the four venue complex, the best is arguably the Downstairs at the Middle East
Open since 1974, the Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub prove that a great venue doesn't have to hold thousands. True to its name, the venue began as a Lebanese restaurant before slowly transitioning into a prime spot for live music in the late '80s. Its success and reputation around the Greater Boston area as one of the best live concert venues has allowed the Middle East to expand. In subsequent years, it has added the Upstairs at the Middle East, the Downstairs at the Middle East, the ZuZu and The Corner. These days, it's a complete complex, a far cry from the family owned restaurant. Though it's regarded as one of the best indie rock spots in the area, it's also become one of the top hip-hop clubs, drawing the likes of Wu bredren Killah Priest and Masta Killa, as well as Philly's Jedi Mind Tricks.