Wally's Cafe located in the South End of Boston, Massachusetts, and claims to be among the oldest continually operating jazz clubs in the United States.For Wally's Cafe and beyond, use our Boston online itinerary planner to get the most from your Boston vacation.
Wally's was founded by Joseph L. Walcott who was a Barbadian who immigrated to America in 1910. After reaching Ellis Island, Mr. Walcott, better known as "Wally," joined his brother, who had migrated a few years earlier, in Boston. Wally held many jobs, and with his savings he opened Wally's Paradise at 428 Massachusetts Avenue in 1947. Wally was the first African American to own a nightclub in New England; he brought new acts to town and the nightclub became an attraction for jazz aficionados who rushed to see the famous bands of the day.
The Sixties arrived, and the Big Band era was diminishing. Wally maintained his commitment to jazz by featuring young musicians who were attending prominent academic institutions such as Berklee College of Music, the Boston Conservatory, and the New England Conservatory of Music. Mr. Walcott hired these young music students and mixed them with seasoned professionals who were veterans of the Big Band era. This mix of talent was special, and the format enabled Mr. Walcott to continue to serve the jazz loving audiences of New England.
In 1979, Wally closed its original location at 428 Massachusetts Avenue and moved across the street to 427 Massachusetts Avenue, the present location of the nightclub. Wally's Café now features live music 365 days a year. Many of the musicians are professionals, but Wally's still maintains its tradition of providing students with a stage to perfect their craft.
After Wally's death in 1998 at age 101, his three children took over the bar, and today Wally's is a family club managed by Walcott's daughter, Elynor, and his three grandsons, Paul, Frank, and Lloyd Poindexter.
Wally's Cafe Reviews
The vibe feels like the 40's or 50's when you squeezed into a jam spot and listen to some great impromptu jazz. It small and crowed with limit tables but worth the time for a session or two. more »
This place used to be awesome but has gone to seed. The bartender isn’t just bad, he is actively evil and decided my date and I didn’t belong there the minute we stepped in. Sorry for dressing nicely.... more »
Tiny, Tiny, Tiny Jazz Club... Latin Jazz Night.... Authentic. A great time, not enough room for dancing. Beware no cover, but made up in the drink prices. I would give this place 5 stars, if it had a dance floor, and a stage. The band was awesome, talented, but unable to see band from the rear. People stand in the floor and block the view. So come early, find a table, don't expect to see the band... Enjoy some super fine live music.
Great local spot for jazz, was able to see lots of talented student musicians playing some sets. Got here around 8:30 on a Thurs night and was able to grab a table and stay there while the 9:30/10pm band started and the small venue really started to fill up. Great history, cheap drinks, good cool jazz. What's not to love.
Plan your trip to Boston
Get a personalized planA complete day-by-day itinerary
based on your preferences
Customize itRefine your plan. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
Book itChoose from the best hotels
and activities. Up to 50% off
Manage itEverything in one place.
Everyone on the same page.
Popular things to do in Boston
Kid-friendly things to do in Boston
Side trips from Boston
Hidden gems in Boston
See all ›
Plans to Wally's Cafe by other users
4 days in Boston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular sights Preferences: December Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 17 days in United States BY A USER FROM JAPAN September, popular sights Preferences: September Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 17 days in United States BY A USER FROM CHINA September, popular sights Preferences: September Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 20 days in Three Rivers, San Francisco & Boston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular & hidden gems Preferences: June Attraction style: Popular & hidden gems Pace: Medium 9 days in Boston BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM May, historic sites, popular sights Preferences: May, historic sites Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 14 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems Preferences: July, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums Attraction style: Popular & hidden gems Pace: Medium