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Inn-Square Men's Bar Is Shut Down

10-Year-Old Club Closes After Loss of Liquor License


The popular Inn-Square Men's Bar in Inman Square became the latest casualty in Cambridge's on-going liquor licensing war when it closed its doors Sunday night for the last time.

The Cambridge Liquor Licensing Board effectively put an end to the ten-year-old establishment by rejecting a request for the transfer of the pub's license to a new location.

When the bar's lease expired last week, the owner of the pub, Marshall Simpkins; was prepared to move into a new location across the street. However, the Cambridge Board denied his request for a license transfer after it held an open hearing earlier this month.

A liquor license cannot be automatically transferred, the chairman of the licensing board, Mary E. Calnan, said yesterday adding, "It's almost like getting a new license."

Fierce Opposition

Calnan said the main ground for the license denial was the fierce opposition among area residents, who feared that the bar's new location would increase noise in the neighborhood and require extra parking.

After a public auction of the bar's equipment, the last night in the club's existence was a complete sellout. A standing-room-only crowd forced many loyal fans to wait outside until late in the night, while those regulars lucky enough to squeeze in drowned their sorrow in alcohol at the bar.

Over the years, the club made its reputation as a different kind of Cambridge bar by booking local and independent bands while providing a friendly atmosphere for neighborhood patrons.


"It's a Cambridge bar rather than a Boston music place," said James M. Barber '85, musical director at WHRB. "They had practically no cover, a lot of good bands, and a nice atmosphere," said Elizabeth M. Losh '87.

Fans say that much of the bar's success can be attributed to Simpkins, who hand-picked the bands that played at his pub. "I think he would only play bands he though were good, regardless of how much money they would bring," said Barber. "He did a good job of bringing a lot of bands you wouldn't normally near around town."

Simpkins was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Drinkers and musicians alike said yesterday they would miss the bar's special ambience. "As far as the atmosphere is concerned, it can't be replaced," said Skip Welch, a roadie for The Neats, a Cambridge band that appeared regularly at the club. Drummer Perry Hanley added that he was confident Simpkins would start a new bar in the area. "I have a lot of faith in the guy," he said.

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