Cantab Lounge

The Cantab Lounge

The Cantab Lounge Photo by Liza

The Cantab Lounge is a neighborhood bar and grille located in the heart of Central Square. For over three decades it has prided itself on offering an environment where people of all ages and ethnicities come to listen to live music and the spoken word. It has been recognized by the Boston Globe and the Boston Phoenix for its outstanding slam poetry and bluegrass scenes, respectively.

With two floors, the Cantab Lounge is able to host a variety of entertainment. The downstairs, also known as the Cantab Underground, is available to be rented out for private parties.

Mondays at the Cantab Lounge are folk and acoustic music

Mondays are dedicated to folk and acoustic music, with an open mike followed by the featured band. On Tuesdays, bluegrass rules, both upstairs and down. Every Thursday sees performances upstairs by the funk band in residency, The Chicken Slacks, while the downstairs is transformed into Club Bohemia to start the weekend off early. Fridays and Saturdays host a dance band upstairs and Club Bohemia downstairs. Sundays feature local blues band, Hot Sauce.

Wednesdays at the Cantab Lounge: blues, jazz, rock & poetry slams

Wednesdays have a different focus at the Cantab Lounge. Upstairs hosts a blues, jazz, and rock jam by local bands. But downstairs, the Cantab Underground is home to weekly shows by the Boston Poetry Slam. At 8:00 the open mike begins for anyone looking to perform poetry to the 100 person capacity room. After a short break around 10:00, the featured poet or event takes the stage. If the feature is a single poet, he or she usually performs for half an hour. On nights when the event is a themed, invite-only slam, the event lasts over an hour. After a second break around 11:00, the Cantab Underground begins its open poetry slam, known as an 8 x 8.

The Cantab Lounge Poetry Slams!

Poetry Slam

Poetry reading Photo by Jan Albrecht

In their 8 x 8 slam, the Cantab Lounge opens a sign-up to the first eight volunteers, who then face off in pairs reading their original poetry. From each pair one winner is selected, and these four move onto the next round, facing off in pairs again. From this round, the final two are selected, and they battle in the last round for the prize of ten dollars.

But it doesn’t end there. The Cantab Lounge hosts a Champion of Champions slam after eight open slams. The winners of each slam are invited back to compete against each other, which is where the competition gets its name, 8 x 8.

The cover charge for the Boston Poetry Slam events is usually three dollars, or five dollars for special events, and admission is based on a first-come, first-served basis. Cover charges vary the rest of the week, with Thursday through Saturday ranging from seven to ten dollars, and Monday and Tuesday only asking for a pass-the-hat requested donation. The Cantab Lounge is 21+ for all events except the poetry slams, which are 18+.

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The Cantab Lounge
738 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA.