The Cantab Lounge, a Central Square bar and music venue, is up for sale

The longtime venue was a bluegrass haven and home to Boston Poetry Slam.

The Cantab Lounge
An open mic night and Boston Poetry Slam at the Cantab Lounge in 2013. Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff

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“It has been a spring and summer of many griefs, and to this I am sad to officially add the loss of our historical home, the stage that has housed the Boston Poetry Slam since October 16, 1992,” Simone Beaubien, Boston Poetry Slam’s slam curator, wrote in a July 19 newsletter.

Beaubien was referring to the announcement that The Cantab Lounge, a Cambridge stalwart, was up for sale. Mickey Bliss, owner of Club Bohemia at the Cantab, confirmed the news on Monday.

“We want to thank everyone for all the support over the years, we wish you well, and we will keep the Bohemia website open,” Bliss shared in a statement. “Please send us your ideas as how we can continue to keep promoting artists during this COVID-19. And we’ll see what happens.”


In addition to being a neighborhood watering hole that opened its doors at 8 a.m. on most days, the Cantab hosted countless musical acts, both on the upstairs stage and at Club Bohemia, located downstairs. Longtime residents The Chicken Slacks played soul and funk at The Cantab every Thursday, while guests who stopped by on Tuesdays were treated to a talented lineup of bluegrass musicians. Boston Poetry Slam met downstairs every Wednesday; the group, now without a home, is on hiatus.

“Our bar is closed, and closing, but our community remains whole,” Beaubien wrote. “So, of course, the Boston Poetry Slam is not the Cantab Lounge: and yet, you know it also always will be. The bar hosted the weekly show longer than most of our current regulars have walked this earth, and the name is nationally synonymous with the scene, community, and sound that have come from the stage over the years.”


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