One of the most ‘Cambridge’ bars in Cambridge, The People’s Republik, has closed

By Amy Saltzman, published on Wicked Local on Feb. 8, 2021

Karl Baden's “People’s Republik in Snowstorm,” one of the five winning artworks of the Vacant Storefront Creative Contest in Cambridge in 2019.

The People’s Republik is the latest Cambridge institution to permanently close its doors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

After temporarily closing Dec. 4, owner Robert Blair confirmed to the Boston Globehe’s shuttering the Soviet-themed bar for good after 23 years of business.

A rite of passage for transient university students and a staple for longtime locals, People’s Republik served as a simultaneous reminder of Cambridge’s universality and singularity. 

With an unmistakably bold red and yellow exterior, the bar’s closure will leave a hole in the city’s mosaic.

“Locally owned businesses are so central to our sense of self. Their closure, I think, has threatened our sense of cultural identity,” said Theo Skeadas, executive director of Cambridge Local First. “We really are afraid to see what the city will look like, what the streetscapes will look like, when the pandemic is over. A lot of our businesses have closed and are not coming back.”

“We’re working with a ton of business on the verge of closing, but when one of those lights blinks out there’s no coming back from that,” she added. 

People’s Republik joins a growing list of other Central Square favorites, like The Field and Cuchi Cuchi, that have closed under the strain of lockdowns, reduced capacities and pandemic fears. The Cantab Lounge and Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub also remain closed with questionable futures.

People’s Republik’s phone number has been disconnected and there have been no other updates on social media. 

Amy Saltzman is senior editor of the Cambridge Chronicle. Email her at or follow her on Twitter @amy_saltzman.

Cambridge Local First