I forced myself to do something sad and uncomfortable. I forced myself to go to the Boston Taco Bell that replaced Great Scott.
Great Scott sat comfortably on Comm. Ave. at the corner of Harvard Ave. in Allston from 1976 until 2020. I could go on and on about the beloved club’s cultural significance and the role it played as a hub for multiple communities over the years, but I did that already. It’s in this oral history I organized for GBH and NPR Music a few years ago, and it’s totally worth the read. Great Scott was special.
Then, like too many local music venues, Great Scott was no more. Yet another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the club closed its doors in early 2020. There was talk of a revival at another Allston location, and there was even a celebratory pop-up, but in the fall of 2023, it became official: 1222 Comm. Ave. wouldn’t even be Great Scott’s ghost anymore. It would become a Taco Bell Cantina.
I Visited the Boston Taco Bell Where Great Scott Used To Be
I can’t claim Great Scott the way a lot of the folks I chatted with in the abovelinked oral history can. But I certainly spent a few memorable nights there. A Walter Schreifels solo show in 2009. My friend Paul Driscoll’s bachelor party a few years later. Cave In at least once that I remember. I can close my eyes and picture the room in all its scruffy detail. Great Scott was that kind of place.
So to walk into that physical space in 2024 and have it be a chain restaurant? I can’t think of a bigger 180. Comfy shadows banished by stark light. Time-worn character replaced by fresh, clean lines. It was jarring. But it was also Taco Bell. So I grabbed a Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito for myself and Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme for my 15-year-old and I took some pictures.