I love Arlington but do wish it had a little more action. It's a dry town and on the fringes of reasonable MBTA bus service, so things are quiet -- except at night, when they become positively dead.
Still, it's an easy bus ride from my place to Harvard Square, and things start to liven up dramatically along the way. One of my favorites on that route is a little bar called "Toad," which sits inconspicuously in the shadow of Christopher's Restaurant, right across from the Porter Square T stop.
I headed to Toad with a buddy last night and had a good time there, as usual. We got there early (8pm) and it was practically empty. I brought a new card game for us to play that I found while Christmas shopping for my nephews. Each card shows a letter of the alphabet. The dealer puts down the cards one at a time until someone sees a word in the cards and yells it out. Kind of like "speed Scrabble." This was the first time I tried this game, and it was quite a hit. Not only did my buddy and I have a good time, but the ladies next to us joined in, and the bartenders took a geniune "Scrabble Player's Dictionary" out of the liquor cabinet for us to borrow. Actually, the bartenders were Scrabble ringers and they whomped us all while simultaneously serving drinks and ringing tabs.
Toad has live music every night. Last night the music started at 10:30, by which time the place was packed. There is quite a variety of music. From the casual vibe of the place you expect mostly folksy or countrified rock (not my first choices, honestly). Last night was ska and I have happily stumbled upon a couple jazz bands there too. December 3rd features one of my faves, "The Pollotronic All-Stars," a Herbie Hancock influenced jazz meets mambo band.