Cafe 939

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Café 939 is one of the coolest places in Boston to see both up-and-coming local musicians and well-known musicians in a small and intimate setting.

This musical venue is located in the heart of Boston right around the corner from Berklee College of Music. The café owned by Berklee, so many of their students perform there for practice. While many shows are free to the public, tickets must be purchased for more popular artists, albeit at an incredibly low price relative to the other venues in the area.

The shows take place inside the Red Room, with a capacity of about 200. The space is small enough for clear acoustics from the artist, and allows their music to fill the room. This atmosphere allows a deeper level of appreciation of the lyrics and, by extension, the artist.

Every performance in Café 939 feels personal, and young artists, like Juan Dhas, feel comfortable enough to lay out all they have on the stage.

Dhas is a senior at Berklee who released a  jazz album, and recently played an hour-long set with his friends at Café 939. His accompaniment supported him on the piano, bass and drums. Dhas played passionately, yet stayed true to the jazz style with a smooth and cool rhythm.

When I walked into the Red Room, most people were in the café eating. When Juan began to play, they all focused their attention on him and began piling into the Red Room to support him.

Watching Dhas and his band was inspirational. They worked as a team, smiling and nodding at each other to show how linked and invested they all were in this performance. Though this was Juan’s senior recital and album release, each musician during the set was able to have a solo based on the instrument they played—either the piano, the bass, or the drums.

After the set was ended, I headed back into the café area for a mango smoothie. The food inside the café is all freshly made and is sold at pretty reasonable prices. There is a variety of food there−even vegetarian friendly, which can be hard to find in small cafés. The line for the food is always pretty long but your order is completed in a timely manner and is always delicious and well worth the wait.

This venue is really accessible to students. It is a quick ride on the red line to Park Street, a transfer there onto the green line’s B/C train to Hynes Convention Center, and finally a five minute walk from there.

Café 939 is perfect for college students: easy to get to, food services that is both tasty and affordable, free to cheaply priced shows, and awe-inspiring musical talent and dedication.