What’s New: Cantab Lounge For Sale, Somerville Phase 3 on Pause and More

Tony Watt at the Cantab Lounge, 2018 Photo by Evan Sayles.

It’s a drizzly, grey, New England morning and we are happy for the brief respite from the heat and humidity. The dog days of summer seem extra slobbery this year, especially without our usual haunts and their glorious central air. Any other summer we’d at the movie theater or camping on a bar stool until the sun comes down, so forgive us for sweating so much as we share the latest news from Cambridge and Somerville.

Cantab Lounge for Sale: Wow, this is a tough one. Local dive bar legend, The Cantab Lounge in Cambridge is up for sale. A pillar of the Central Square music community, Cantab and it’s downstairs room Club Bohemia have been the homebase for Boston’s bluegrass and poetry scenes for what feels like generations. 

Cantab Lounge is the rare dive where magic hangs in the air and wonderful things happen. Cantab is a connection to the radical history of Cambridge, a connection to the folk music and revolutionary politics that earned Cambridge its 20th Century reputation as home of vibrant art. It’s a place where romance has blossomed and friendships have been forged. 

Hopefully new ownership will maintain the scruffy spirit of the Cantab but that seems…unlikely. Places like the Cantab were in danger of extinction before the pandemic, now it seems all but imminent. Is there some sort of historic overlay for dive bars? Will live music even survive?

Somerville Pushes Back Phase 3: Here we (don’t) go again. The City of Somerville is pushing back Phase 3 reopening until August 3 “at the earliest” as the press release says. NBC10 is reporting that be.In Union Yoga is considering a lawsuit against the city. We understand the frustration that business owners have. It’s rough out there.

Flat Top Johnny’s to Close: We swear this column isn’t going to turn into a venue obituary page, but let us take a moment of silence for Flattop Johnnies, the great Kendall Square pool hall, a key part of the neighborhood’s Clinton-era revival. Scout had a lot of good times in that joint. It will be missed. They are serving takeout and outdoor dining until August 14.

West Branch Library is Looking Good: Somerville Historic Society shared photos from the WEst Branch Library renovation project and it is giving us hope. If you recall, the West Branch Library had a creepy steampunk vibe. We loved it but the renovation is going to be great. It looks like they are preserving the best parts and modernizing the scary parts. Good stuff.

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