A sports bar located on the edge of Cambridge’s Porter Square is about to undergo a transition and will reopen after Christmas with some new folks running it. Shine Square Pub (2046 Massachusetts Ave.) will evolve out of McCabe’s Bar & Grille, also known as McCabe’s on Mass, with a few upgrades to the tech and the menu as the new team works to carry on the tradition of the space as a community bar.
“Back in the day it was called Spirit Bar,” said Dave Wells, who met one of his Shine Square partners there. “We really enjoyed the community aspect of it. It was a place filled with regulars, and if you went in and you didn’t know the regulars, it wasn’t as if you were an outcast — you were now the new person and everybody started meeting each other.”
Wells, together with Ron McNeill and chef Mike Almond, aim to bring back the friendly Spirit Bar vibe with Shine Square Pub. The name is a tribute to the original owners, the Shine family, who operated the Porter House Cafe on the same site, he said.
“It was the place everyone met, so we’re really trying to bring back that element of the bar,” Wells said.
He and his team will upgrade the technology in the bar, replacing projectors with new televisions and adding additional ones. They’re also putting in a foosball table, a jukebox, and a pinball machine to go with an existing game.
For food, Shine Square will stick with some of the McCabe’s staples, including wings. The restaurant will offer 14 sauces and 11 dry rubs for wings, along with sandwiches and snacks, and will add salads, a dessert, and entrees like steak tips, chicken and waffles, and vegetable pasta.
On the drinks side, Shine Square will have 17 beers on tap with rotating selections, and there will be wine on tap, a cocktail on tap, and a shot on tap — something new the team decided to explore. It’ll be a house-made sambuca.
Shine Square Pub will be a collaborative venture in more ways than one: A friend of the team, Matt Pelrine, has made custom tap handles for the shot, wine, and cocktail, and another friend, Danny DeLeon, will make tables for the space, while another, Drew Juliano, is making a new sign.
“It’s been really nice to work with old friends and have a mark on the bar,” Wells said. “For Ron and I, it really all comes back to that.”
The team will hold a send-off for McCabe’s on Sunday, December 23, at 6 p.m. It will then close for final updates, before reemerging as Shine Square Pub on December 30 at 11:30 a.m. Wells said the team plans to hold a grand opening party shortly after. Keep an eye on social media for further updates. The bar will be open for lunch and dinner, operating from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Note: This story has been updated to reflect a change of the opening date for Shine Square Pub from December 29 to December 30.