Restaurants

The People’s Republik gets a second life with New Republik

"We’re trying to be the next generation of The People’s Republik."

The People's Republik
The People's Republik Robert Blair

When The People’s Republik owner Robert Blair announced in early February that he was closing his Cambridge pub and retiring, it was a seismic loss for the regulars who had sat at the bar during its 23-year run.

“It’s hard to let it go now,” Blair told the Boston Globe at the time.

This fall, the People’s Republik is coming back — sort of. The bar’s former manager, Patrick Gallivan, has teamed up with People’s Republik co-worker Maxwell Greene to open New Republik in a space formerly occupied by The Rising.

“We’re trying to be the next generation of the People’s Republik,” said Gallivan, who worked at the bar for over 20 years. “It’ll have a lot of the same feel — mostly the same staff, a lot of the same artwork, but we’re in a nicer building with nicer bathrooms. Everything’s just going to be a little bit nicer.”

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Gallivan said that while they didn’t completely gut The Rising, they made a lot of “heavy cosmetic” changes, including creating more of an open kitchen, removing the wallpaper to replaster and repaint the walls, and redoing the floors and bar top. Fans of the People’s Republik, a Soviet-themed bar, will recognize a lot of the same decor and artwork from the old establishment. Ryan McFee, a New Bedford-based artist who’s pieces were featured at People’s Republik, will be brought in to create artwork for New Republik.

The menu at New Republik will closely mirror its predecessor, albeit with a few more healthy options. The burger will remain, but this time they’ll have a veggie burger as well. Diners will still be able to order burritos and quesadillas, along with salads and pizza. An expanded beer menu will feature 20 beers on tap, plus six additional taps for draft cocktails and nitro coffee. Just don’t expect live music.

“We don’t want one thing to dominate the room, like a live band every night,” Gallivan said. “We want people to come in and feel comfortable and not be put out by whatever is going on on the other side of the room. You should be able to come in and have a beer and conversation.”

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Gallivan shared that Blair has helped the new owners here and there throughout the process, though “he’s mostly retired and we don’t want to bother him.”

“He has given us his complete blessing,” Gallivan said. “If we need anything we can call him and ask him a question, and he’s there supporting us. We’ve all worked for him for decades.”

It’s those decades of camaraderie that prompted Gallivan and Greene to reopen the bar in its new form.

“Some of our friends have been working with us for eight, 10, maybe even more years,” Gallivan said. “We’re always together, whether we’re working or going on vacations or whatever. It’s been our core group, working hard and playing together for a long time. It only sort of makes sense to try and keep it together.”

New Republik is scheduled to debut at 1172 Cambridge St. in mid-November, with the idea that it’ll open around noon and close around 1 a.m. or 2 a.m., depending on the day.

“I get asked about it every day,” Gallivan said about the project. “I can’t walk down the street without somebody asking: ‘Is it ready yet?'”

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To stay updated on an opening date, follow the New Republik on Instagram at @newrepublikbar.

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