A bar can die but once: all bars owe God a death. Especially the Abbey.
Wednesday night, the famed Abbey Lounge will close its doors after a local rock show for the last time. One of the finest dive bars in the Cambridge/Somerville area (in fact, exactly on the Cambridge/Somerville line) will soon close those doors for good - 75 years after they opened.
I didn't get in on the Abbey action until I moved to Boston in 2000. They were 67 years into their groove (rut?) at that point, yet I'm guessing my first impression caught me up pretty quickly. It was still a two-sided bar then - the bar was set in the middle of the building and served two separate rooms. You could pay for the show and go back and forth between both rooms, or you could go into the no-cover bar area and, if you angled for the right spot, see the bands between the opening in the bar where the bartenders served both rooms. Acoustics were not an issue - it was loud and non-exclusive. Friends of mine lived across the street and had semi-residency status. They gave me my first taste of the Abbey one night when we hit the non-cover side to hang with the locals. The memory of that first night at the Abbey would have been completely nondescript, were it not for a minor detail of my exit: as I left the Abbey, I had to jump over two separate sets of barf in order to get out of the bar. There was barf, then there was a small non-barf landing pad, then there was more barf. The options were: a) step in barf (twice); b) remain in the bar until physically thrown over the barfs (gamble on a few levels); c) execute the double-drunk-leap over the barf splatches. I dislike barf, so I choose c. My aim was true and I made it out. But it set the bar(f) on the Abbey Experience for the next eight years - anything short of barf-hopping was a sub-Abbey Abbey night. Since that night, I've seen many raucous bands there, been surprised by the lack of toilet paper in the bathroom on at least one occasion, and one time helped drink a twelve pack at the bar with a friend (who brought the twelve pack (as in, my friend brought a twelve pack to the bar, put it on the bar, and we sat at the bar and drank the twelve pack (while hanging out with the bartender (friends of VTK and said-friend will not find this abnormal)))).
So, yeah, the Abbey. Rock and Roll. Here's some rare footage of The Kinks playing the Abbey back in the 60's:
Oh no, wait, that's the Konks, a local band. I love the part in the video where you just see liquid (read: cheap beer) splashing up across the singer. The Konks will be one of the nine bands there Wednesday night for the "last blast" show.
Parting is such stale beer sorrow