A popular Cambridge bar known for its shocking red and yellow exterior and its Soviet-themed interior has closed. The People’s Republik, which opened in 1997, joins a growing list of Central Square watering holes — including the Cantab Lounge and the Field Pub — lost to the ravages of the pandemic.
Owner Robert Blair recently confirmed the closure with the Boston Globe.
“We had a good run,” said Blair. “I’m not happy that we’re closing, but I can look back at those 23 years with pride and a lot of love for the people.”
When the People’s Republik opened in 1997, it did so without a name. It’s not that Blair didn’t know what to call it — it was always supposed to be called the People’s Republik — but rather that Cambridge’s License Commission judged that the proposed name was offensive to veterans who fought any war against communism. Blair eventually got his way though, and the rest is history.
The best thing about the People’s Republik was that it was neither touristy nor a college bar, despite how easy it might have been to become both things. Instead it was just a bar. An excellent bar. A world-class bar even. But just a bar. Food and drinks writer Will Gordon, whose Twitter feed is basically an ongoing love letter to the People’s Republik, put it best:
“I’m dumb as shit but everyone knows one thing, and I know People’s Republik was the very best bar in Massachusetts.”
• Cantabrigians Are Mourning a Loss of Identity, Reporting Shutdown of People’s Republik Bar [CD]
• The People’s Republik Will Not Reopen [BG]