Beloved Cambridge dive bar Newtowne Grill closes after 56 years in business

Newtowne Grille in Porter Square was best known for its $15 beer and pitcher deal. An Asian eatery will reportedly take over the space.

Newtowne Grille has been a staple in Porter Square for more than 50 years. Courtesy / Newtowne Grille

Newtowne Grille, a Cambridge dive bar well-known for its cheap pub fare, $15 pizza-and-pitcher special, keno, and trivia nights, closed its doors for good Saturday after 56 years in business. 

The bar, which opened in 1966 on Massachusetts Avenue in Porter Square, struggled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report by Cambridge Day.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Newtowne Grille owners, the Toulopoulos family, confirmed the closing, saying, “We are proud to have been a part of the community for 56 years and have always strived to be an affordable, fun restaurant and bar option for the neighborhood families, students and everyone who visits this city.”


The family said the business took a huge financial hit due to the pandemic’s shutdowns, restrictions, and mandates. The post also said the business had a “lack of government support” that caused it to fall too far behind to continue its operations.

“Newtowne has always been a place to gather, a place to debate politics and economics, a place for first dates, a place for last dates, and of course a place to share a pitcher of beer and a pizza with an old friend or new friend,” the family said.

While the bar gets a decent 4.3-star rating on Google Reviews, some post-pandemic customer feedback reflected its struggle.

“The reopening of Newtowne Grille has been a disappointment. The pizza was a 2 out of 10. The restaurant is understaffed and it shows in the service. I’ll give it another chance, but if things don’t improve I fear the Grille’s future is uncertain,” wrote one patron in the fall. 

As for the future of Newtowne Grill’s space at 1945 Massachusetts Ave., building owner Eric Boyter told the Cambridge Day that an Asian eatery run by the operators of the nearby Sugar & Spice Thai restaurant will take over. 


“I wish everything stayed the same. It’s hard to find a dive bar anymore, and my tenants are like my family,” Boyer told the publication.

Dozens of the bar’s fans shared their disappointment on Facebook, saying they’ll miss the cheap eats and friendly environment.

“​​Best bar jukebox I’ve ever encountered. Loved the early bird specials, particularly burgers, wings, and pizza. You WILL be missed!” wrote Larry Bole on the bar’s Facebook post. Another former patron, Patrick Hildreth, hailed Newtowne Grill as having “literally the best bar pizza in Boston.”

“We’ve had so many great memories there and we met so many amazing people! All of our first friends in Boston were from Newtowne! So sad!” Hildreth wrote.


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