You will recognize the new Cantab in its form and its spirit; The Saturday party picked up where the bar left off

The crowds are starting to fill up for Saturday’s private party at a reopening Cantab Lounge in Central Square. (Photo: Marc Lévy)

Cantab Lounge opened on Saturday for a party with friends and family that provided a glimpse of how new owners Tim and Maureen Dibble refreshed a decades-old bar that has been closed since March 2020: perfectly.

The Cantab looks like it was the last few years before it closed, but shiny and even fresh – a shock to anyone who remembers the bar’s recurring sewer problem. The music is just as you’ll remember, with classic funk upstairs and more daring bands in the Club Bohemia space downstairs. And the same mix of people is evident in the guest list, including city dwellers and passing passengers, young and old, and the diversity of races and body types that most clubs couldn’t dream of. .

Cantab owner Tim Dibble on Saturday with Jeanmarie Martin, manager of opening group Richie Rich and 24 Karat Funk. (Photo: Marc Lévy)

Cantab owner Maureen Dibble descended on Saturday during an opening with friends and family. (Photo: Marc Lévy)

The guest list purposely included regulars from before closing time, said Tim Dibble, calling the crowd “old friends and new friends” and explaining why it was important that Cantab be preserved: although not the stage from the Dibbles’ first date, this was where numbers 2-10 took place.

The biggest visible change in Cantab is the presence of sparkling toilets of all kinds, now accessible to people in wheelchairs.

As a perfect closing of the evening, it was revealed that even the Boston Poetry Slam is returning: Simone Beaubien handed over the direction of the popular event, which has been held at Cantab since October 16, 1992, to the poet Cassandra de Alba, and the slam is scheduled to host its first event on Jan. 19, said Andrea Ballotta, who works on Cantab promotions.

On Saturday, Cantab’s bouncers had to turn away visitors to Central Square who didn’t realize they were trying to derail a private party. The public’s first chance to enter is Wednesday at 5 p.m., Thursday starting a new residency for The Chicken Slacks. The now six-piece group specializing in revue-style soul and funk held a popular residency on Thursday evening before the decades-old club closed and sold.

Not everyone was on the guest list. (Photo: Marc Lévy)

Cantab director Mike Cronin welcomes guests on Saturday. (Photo: Marc Lévy)

The music downstairs started on the first Saturday, with a first solo act named Miilo. For the record: the first song played at the new Cantab was “Heart of Glass” by Blondie. Al Rosa followed.

The main booking for the reopening of Club Bohemia (followed by DJs Hava and Final Rose, which closed the evening) was the feminist folk punk group from Somerville. Sidebody, only a few live shows despite being together for the duration of the pandemic – but lucky enough to be spotted by Cantab booker Mickey Bliss in an underground storefront and invited to play. “It’s important because I’ve been here and I know how many people have been here,” said Cara Giaimo, Sidebody member and science writer, before taking the stage with Martha Schnee, Lena Warnke and Hava Horowitz. “I am honored.”

Miilo plays the first song on the new Cantab – “Heart of Glass” by Blondie – in Club Bohemia downstairs. (Photo: Marc Lévy)

Longtime Cantab music booker Mickey Bliss in a storage area on Saturday. (Photo: Marc Lévy)

Upstairs there was a musical act with a serious Cantab story: Richard “Richie Rich” McCreary and 24 Karat Funk.

McCreary, best dressed at the casual bar in dazzling black and red, said he was honored to perform as well. “Probably by the grace of God I had this event,” he said before taking the stage. “When I first formed this group 30 years ago, it was because of Little Joe Cook.”

Richard “Richie Rich” McCreary steps into Cantab’s new dance floor on Saturday before performing. (Photo: Marc Lévy)

Cook, famous for his 1957 hit “Peanuts,” also had a residency at Cantab until his death in 2014. (The Chicken Slacks followed.) In the 1990s, McCreary came to sing with Cook’s band – and when he had Like McCreary did not have one, Cook urged him to form one. Since October 3, 1992, Richie Rich and 24 Karat Funk have performed around the world, McCreary said, but it was Cantab and former owner Richard “Fitzy” Fitzgerald who kept them alive during the periods. of lean cows, while other clubs did not book. them.

“It wouldn’t have happened without Cantab,” McCreary said. “I dedicate this evening to the new owners and the spirit of Little Joe Cook.”

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