I had a thing for dive bars right after college, but there was something about the Cambridgeport Saloon that didn’t really grab me. Maybe the bright lights and the fact that it frequented by many of the same skinhead girls from the Pit in Harvard Square who wanted to beat me up in high school (good times).
The place wasn’t one of those ironic dive bars (Think Model Cafe in Brighton circa 1994). No, this was the real deal. Stabbings, shootings, and brawls were pretty common, according to this lovingly maintained Myspace page. But a glance of Yelp reviews shows that the place had somewhat of a revival in its twilight years, and was a regular hang out for local skinheads, MIT students, and neighborhood folks.
As the creator of the Cambridgeport Saloon’s Facebook Fan page writes:
“A truly dirty den of evil and villainy populated by some of the most “interesting” people you’re likely to ever meet outside of the county lockup. Was the pool table truly level? How many degrees does the MIT grad student behind the bar have? Is that crazy old man in the corner fingering a knife handle and talking to himself?
Nothing will ever beat the Gay.com sign on the roof. There are too many martini bars catering to those with no credit limits on their platinum cards and not enough for those who feel that over $3 for a beer is highway robbery.”
No matter why, the Cambridgeport Saloon closed down years ago and shows no signs of rebirth or renewal.
So what’s happening there? Some reports say the property is owned by MIT, which is the process of evalualting all of its empty properties. A neighbor disagrees, saying the property’s situation is complicated.
Dive bar or not, the saloon’s absence leaves a hole in the Avenue. From descriptions of the scene there, it seemed to bring a wide variety of very different classes and types of people together into one room to share their love of beer and music, and where else are you going to find that on this stretch of Mass Ave (or anywhere in Cambridge)?