The Rathskeller (known as The Rat for short) was a legendary live music venue in Boston, Massachusetts that was open from 1974 to 1997. A dimly-lit, gritty establishment, the Rathskeller was considered the "granddaddy" of Boston rock venues.
During its heyday, the Rat hosted such acts as the Cars, Pixies, Metallica, the Dead Kennedys, The Ramones, Talking Heads, R.E.M. and The Police. From 1980 to 1987, The Hoodoo BBQ -- which Esquire called one of the "100 Best Restaurants in America" -- was located at The Rat.
The Rat was the "locus of Boston Rock and Roll," and, while the club was revered for the soon-to-be-huge artists that performed there, it was equally distinguished by the local bands and scenes it helped to nurture. In 1976, the album Live at The Rat was released; it documented not only the music of the time, but the importance of the club in the development of Boston rock and roll. The WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble was held at the Rathskeller for its first three years and was originally referred to as "the Rumble at the Rat." Other references to the Rat's cultural impact can be found in the book All Souls, the film All Ages: The Boston Hardcore Film, and in both Guitar Hero II and Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s.
The Rathskeller closed in November of 1997, and was torn down in October of 2000 to make way for the Hotel Commonwealth, a 148-room luxury hotel of which Boston University is a limited partner.