Recent Court Decision Will Evict Well-Known Cambridge Jazz Bar

Cambridge's nationally renowned 1369 Jazz Club will vacate its Inman Square location later this month, bringing an end to a five year dispute with its current landlord.

Managers of the bar, which features live jazz music for over 45 hours each week, said that they had been negotiating lease agreements with their landlady, Mary Burns, since they took over the location in 1983, and that a court decision handed down last month will evict them from 1369 Cambridge Street on August 15.

"We would have liked to have stayed," said Jay Hoffman, one of the owners of the club which features performances by well-known Jazz artists." But sometimes things work out for a reason. Now we can go and look for a permanent building." He added that the club had already begun negotiations for another space near its present location.

"Our landlady's been trying to throw us out since 1984. I don't think she really has any new plans for the space. I just think she objects to the music," Hoffman said.

Burns refused to comment yesterday when reached at the Cambridge funeral home which she owns.


The club's owner said that the bar was willing to pay a higher rent to keep its location, but said that Burns wanted to lease the space to a new tenant.

"It's not a matter of rent," said Hoffman." At one point she said she could get a certain rent figure for the space and we offered to match it. But she never took us up on it. Rent wasn't the issue. I just don't think she wants a club here."

While Hoffman said that he hoped the club would reopen by the middle of November, he said that it was getting more difficult for local music clubs to move around Cambridge because of zoning restrictions.

"Moving with a major liquor license is difficult," he said. "The zoning in Cambridge is really strict. You have to make sure you stay in an area where old licenses are still valid. I don't think we'll have any trouble changing locations, but the laws are making it difficult for places of culture and liquor, like jazz bars, to stay open."

Richard Scali, the executive officer of Cambridge's Licensing Commission, said that a 1985 ruling mandated seven "capped areas" in the city in which no new liquor licenses would be granted. The old licenses retain their validity and may be passed down by locations, or if the club moves it can retain its license. But according to the regulation a new bar may not open in a space which was not formerly licensed to sell liquor.

"Complaints from neighbors about noise and traffic congestion prompted the ruling," Scali said. "The new policy is one of capped areas, where the sale of liquor is restricted, like in Central Square, Harvard Square, Inman Square, Porter Square and along Mass. Ave."

Scali said he did not think the 1369 Jazz Club would have any problems arranging to transfer its license