A Taco Bell Cantina — the Mexican fast food chain’s slightly upscale 21+ concept that pairs margaritas and tequila-spiked Baja Blasts with Crunchwrap Supremes — might fill the vacant space at 1222 Commonwealth Ave. in Allston, the former home of the storied Great Scott music venue. Boston Restaurant Talk reports that on Aug. 8, the Allston Civic Association posted online seeking neighborhood residents’ opinions about a proposal from the restaurant to acquire liquor licenses for the Commonwealth address.
“The purpose of this meeting is to get community input and listen to the residents’ positions on this proposal,” the ACA wrote. It would be the third Taco Bell Cantina within a 3-mile radius. (There are locations in nearby Coolidge Corner and on the Boston University campus.)
Great Scott closed in May 2020, forced to shut down amid the surging COVID-19 pandemic. Though Carl Lavin, the club’s former booking agent, had initially tried to relocate it to the former Pizzeria Regina space on Harvard Avenue, plans fell through and the venue has remained closed.
Originally a bar that played mostly blues and folk jams, Great Scott opened in “Rock City” in 1976 and quickly assumed its stature as a sticky-but-beloved college dive. Over the course of the venue’s lifespan, Great Scott hosted DJs, standup comics, and some of the city’s most legendary punk and indie shows. In 2016, Consequences of Sound ranked it as the eighth-best music venue in America, above Madison Square Garden.
“The petite, 240-capacity venue carries all the traits of an ace dive bar without the unbearable setbacks,” the article read.
When the club shut down in 2020, general manager Tim Philbin posted a tribute on the Great Scott Facebook page. “There is a sign that still hangs in the venue from the establishment that Great Scott replaced, the name of which was Brandy’s,” he wrote. “That sign read, ‘Where Incredible Friendships Begin.’ I’m glad we never took it down because it describes Great Scott better than I ever could.”
Consequences of Sound continued in its 2016 article: “For all of Boston’s cliched drunken swagger and collegiate crowds, no place makes the most of alcohol and youth quite like Great Scott.”