Middle East

The Middle East is a Lebanese restaurant and nightclub that opened in 1970. The venue started as only a restaurant, but in 1975 added live music. After dinner customers were treated to belly dancing, jazz, funk, and Latin music. This was also the year that the Middle East expanded, buying the building next door to create the Upstairs venue. The Upstairs became a premier spot for musicians, as the space could hold 200 people and word spread of the talented players at the Middle East.

The Middle East continued to expand, first into a bakery at Mass. Ave and Brookline St. in 1988. This bakery then became The Corner, a restaurant and bar with a small corner stage. The Downstairs was also created in 1988 in what was an abandoned bowling alley in the basement. The Downstairs can contain up to 550 people and the Corner can fit 70 people. The Middle East today consists of 3 live-performance rooms, two family-style restaurants, and one elegant restaurant called ZuZu (established in 2001). Many of the Middle East’s rooms also serve as art galleries, featuring works from local artists. Artists sometimes have to wait over a year for their work to be featured in one of the galleries.

The Middle East curator coordinates with Out of the Blue gallery to find and display works. To read more about Out of the Blue, click on the sidebar.

Image courtesy of Time Out Boston, photo by Michael Young