Stearns Square is an urban, city square located in Springfield, Massachusetts, United States, in the heart of Metro Center's Club Quarter. It was designed by the famous sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and the equally renowned landscape architect Stanford White, to accompany Saint-Gaudens' now-iconic statue, The Puritan.
Augustus Saint Gaudens' The Puritan and Stanford White's planned landscape environment were meant to aid in the transformation of northern Metro Center Springfield from a neighborhood of immigrant housing into a grandiose district, with a state-of-the-art railroad station, (the grand Union Station,) a famous theater, (The Paramount;) and luxury hotels such as the Hotel Kimball. The park and the statue were unveiled on Thanksgiving, 1887. Then, however, as now, the area was Springfield's bawdy Club Quarter, and thus by December 1888, the landscaped environment and the viewing enclave's intent had been destroyed. By 1899 the Deacon Chapin figure had been moved into Merrick Park located just outside the Quadrangle. The other accouterments created for Stearns Square were placed in storage. Unfortunately, no trace remained of the architect and sculptor's landscaped arena and their socializing intent.
Heart of the Club Quarter
For over 100 years, this area of Springfield, surrounding Stearns Square and Springfield Union Station have been home to the city's most prominent clubs, restaurants, bars, music venues, movies houses, and coffee houses - just as it is in 2011. Currently, there are over 75 restaurants, nightclubs, and bars in Springfield's Club Quarter, making it the largest entertainment district between New York City and Montreal, Canada. The Club Quarter is a primary reason why Springfield was recently ranked among America's Top Ten Best Cities for Singles by Yahoo and Sperling's Best Places.
75 eclectic venues surrounding Stearns Square
The clubs surrounding Stearns Square are too numerous to mention; however, this article will attempt to make known many of the Stearns Square's most prominent clubs. Theodore's Blues Club - in operation for nearly 30 years - has been named the best blues club in the United States. The Mardi Gras is another Springfield institution - it is the largest and most elaborate gentleman's club north of New York City and south on Montreal, (including Boston.) With over 300 Gras girls on monthly rotation and its own magazine, the Mardi Gras is not the average strip club - generally, even people who tend to loathe such environments marvel at the Mardi Gras' whimsical decor, fun atmosphere, and all-in-good-fun vibe. Oz is an LGBT bar and disco that generally attracts a younger crowd, although downstairs there is an adult scene. Sinners & Saints is a 6,000 sq. ft. multi-functional venue located in the heart of the Club Quarter. With 3 large bars, a dance-floor, performance stage, 9 TVs, live music every Thursday night, and DJs on the weekend, Sinners and Saints is a non-stop party. Shakago's is a martini and piano bar for a more laid-back, sophisticated crowd. Alumni is geared toward live rock music and DJs; however, one can also play games there, like Keno. Naismith's is a popular college bar that often features live rock music and caters to hipsters. Fat Cat Bar & Grille is a dive bar that attracts a younger crowd and usually plays punk and industrial music. The Shadow Lounge is a NYC style dance club across from Stearns Square, which often attracts top-name DJs. Mars Lounge has a swank atmosphere and is more of a lounge than a dance club - a place to take a date. The Pub Lounge was very recently an LGBT bar; however, now it appears to have shifted its focus to sports. Adolfo's is an Italian restaurant serving fine cuisine made by a former Mafia Don's son. Sitar is Springfield's best Indian restaurant. Skyplex on Stearns Square itself features three clubs-in-one, all of which feature different atmospheres - so as your mood or desire for a different atmosphere varies throughout the night, so can your surroundings.
Growing LGBT nightlife
Springfield's LGBT nightlife has grown exponentially since the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2004. In 2011, the City of Springfield celebrated its first gay pride week, with rainbow flags adorning nearly every flag post in Metro Center, Springfield, Massachusetts. In 2010, The Advocate named Springfield one of its Top 15 new gay cities. According to the 2010 Census, Springfield, more than any other major Massachusetts city, has been greatly affected by the recent influx of LGBT residents. Boston, Cambridge, Northampton, and Provincetown were long-considered gay-friendly destinations before the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling; however, Springfield was not. At the time when gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, Springfield's real estate was extraordinarily attractive, featuring low prices, famously attractive architecture, and (at that time just) a budding bohemian arts and entertainment scene. This combination attracted many LGBT residents who stayed in Springfield and have made its gay nightlife surrounding Stearns Square one of the most worthwhile between New York and Montreal. Currently, Springfield features five full-time gay bars and clubs, and numerous other bars and clubs hosting gay nights. As of 2011, Springfield is widely considered a highly "gay friendly city," with two openly gay city councilman. Recently, the New England gay publication The Rainbow Times declared Springfield, "suddenly and unexpectedly gay."
Stearns Square Bike Night & Concert Series
Each Thursday night in Springfield, Stearns Square hosts New England's largest "Bike Night."  Each Thursday thousands of motorcyclists travel to Stearns Square in Springfield - the city where the motorcycle was invented - to celebrate motorcycle culture and listen to free outdoor music at the Stearns Square Concert Series during the summer, held from 7:30pm–10:00pm. The Stearns Square Concert Series often features nationally-known musicians and bands.
American BBQ, Italian, Indian, Puerto Rican, and numerous other varieties of food are available in and around Stearns Square. On bike and concert night, the Square's restaurants are open for business before, during, and after the show. Generally speaking, the Stearns Square Concert Series' crowd carries on at nearby bars, restaurants, and clubs that often feature their own live music after the concerts end.
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