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The Union Square Music Venue Scene Is Changing

Bull McCabe’s is in the midst of a lease dispute, while two new venues are eyeing the neighborhood

bull mccabe’s
Bull McCabe’s is a popular music venue
Bull McCabe’s/Facebook

The future looks uncertain for Somerville pub and music venue Bull McCabe’s (366 Somerville Ave., Union Square), with its owners sharing on Facebook last month that they’ve run into a lease dispute, and that if it’s not sorted out, June 30 could be their last day of operation. From the note:

Just over ten years ago, we bought what’s now Bull McCabe’s. We signed a ten year lease on the property with a five year option. We have always planned on executing the option. Late last year, however, our landlord told us that we needed to renegotiate terms on the lease.

There’s a discrepancy in the lease that he says means one thing when for ten years, my partners and I have believed the opposite. That may end up in lawyers’ hands. We think we’re right. He thinks he’s right. Hence, the lawyers.

The note continues to explain that the partners are currently trying to renegotiate the terms of the lease, but Bull McCabe’s landlord is asking almost double the market rate. “There’s not enough money left to be able to afford such an increase,” says the note.

Because the option is set to begin on July 1, June 30 could be the final night at Bull’s. “We’re REALLY hoping that isn’t so, and I’m trying everything I can to keep Bulls alive!” says the post.

Co-owner Brian Manning followed up with a new post last week with a bit more optimism, saying that he had a “positive chat” with the landlord’s lawyer and that the landlord is now “open to movement on his way-too-high number” (albeit “not enough yet”) — and that things are “moving in the right direction,” although “no promises” on a positive outcome.

Manning declined to elaborate on the situation for this story but noted that those interested can read any subsequent updates directly from the Bull’s team on Facebook.

In other Union Square music news, mysterious Twitter account @UNIONTAVERN3 claims to be a restaurant and entertainment venue that‘s “coming soon” to an undisclosed address in the neighborhood. (An earlier Twitter account for the forthcoming venue, since deleted, promised “live music and great food.”)

And another venue, this one called the Jungle, may be opening in the neighborhood as well, at 66 Union Square Plaza — a change from its original target of Davis Square. It applied for its liquor and food licenses back in April. Per an expired Craigslist post that Vanyaland quoted a year ago, the Jungle is supposed to be a venue where “people meet new friends and form a community in the concrete jungle” through activities like open mic nights and performances by cover bands in which the crowd is encouraged to ”play along on small percussive instruments.”

The Future of Bull McCabe’s in Somerville’s Union Square Is in Question [BRT]
Bull McCabe’s [FB]
Union Tavern [Twitter]
The Jungle Music Club Plans to Open in Somerville [BRT]
04-19-18 Somerville Licensing Commission Meeting [SomervilleMA.gov]
Could a New Live Music Venue Called the Jungle Be Coming to Somerville’s Davis Square? [VL]
Bull McCabe’s Coverage on Eater [EBOS]

Bull McCabe's

366 Somerville Avenue, , MA 02143 (617) 440-6045 Visit Website

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