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Poetry, Hip-Hop, and Craft Beers at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge

By S. Mathur

The Rolling Stone verdict: "Lizard Lounge is where it's at ? intimate, eclectic hot spot." It really doesn't get much better than that. Owner Billy Beard describes the venue and atmosphere as "an award winning music venue and bar, featuring local and national acts in an intimate atmosphere. Small cafe tables and chairs surround the performers, creating a connection to the musicians unlike any in the Boston area." The lounge has been around for twenty years and in that time, he says, it "has featured rock, opera, spoken word, variety shows, folk, jazz and nearly everything in between."

Ongoing shows include Club d'Elf on alternating Friday nights; Lizard Lounge Poetry Jam and Slam on Sunday nights; hip-hop, rap and dub with MC Kabir and the Krush Factory on the first Saturday of each month; an Open Mic Challenge every Monday night; and the signature sound of the roots music of The Dennis Brennan Band on Wednesday nights. The lounge has helped to launch many musical careers, including The Dresden Dolls (Amanda Palmer's band), Josh Ritter, and Lake Street Dive.

Beard feels that what sets the lounge apart are "The unique atmosphere, vibe, and musical diversity of Lizard Lounge appeal to patrons and musicians alike. We have been fortunate to receive both local and national recognition spanning 20 years, as it has become a breeding ground for creativity and artistic expression unlike any other venue."

The location, right next to Harvard Law School and Lesley University, halfway between Porter and Harvard Squares, puts it in the heart of the area's educational and cultural offerings. The Cambridge Common Restaurant, above the lounge, is a great place for a meal before or after a show. With its fame and popularity, the lounge remains a small venue concerned about patrons, says Beard: "While the discovery and cultivation of new talent is still at the core of the Lizard's booking policy and the thrust of the club's appeal, the welcoming, friendly staff are integral to the experience of patrons who return time and time again. Not to mention that the Lounge has 24 hot craft beers on tap."

The Lizard Lounge has an impressive list of awards past and present. It was the winner in this year's Improper Bostonian Best Neighborhood Club/ Bar category and the Boston Music Awards' Best Live Music Venue. It has been listed among the top picks for live music in Boston by The Guardian, Time Out Boston, the Boston A List, and Boston Magazine.

Visitors agree, and add some observations and poetry of their own.

"Great basement dive-type gem, great atmosphere, great crowd, great band and great bartender who was professional and friendly despite the place being packed. Wish we had place like this back home, would go all the time! Great ending to a great night!!!"

"These poets deserve a gold medal for how they cleverly meddle with words that hit like bricks stacked high by powerful links embedded with valuable nuggets of new ways to think.

The Lizard Lounge has creatively and thoughtfully allowed the rawest form of passion to intricately speak aloud Every Sunday night is slam night, and consistent with their vow constantly moving you without physics, and to that- I bow."

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