Music venue movement

Rock and Relocation
By MICHAEL MAROTTA  |  August 31, 2011

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For Cambridge's All Asia Café, the afterlife will feel a bit like Valhalla.

Back in December, MIT unveiled a five-story University Park expansion project that would swallow up All Asia and other businesses along Mass Ave and replace it with a $100 million research center. At the time, All Asia owner Marc Shulman vowed to resurrect his 11-year-old restaurant and live-music venue elsewhere in Central Square.

Roughly eight months later, he's closing in on his new space. All Asia is currently in negotiations with the city of Cambridge to relocate to 675 Mass Ave and reopen as Valhalla in the former CCTV studio that fronts Prospect Street. "I feel we're about four to six months from opening," Shulman says by phone. "We have a lot of work to do, a lot of hurdles."

The live-music portion of Valhalla will cater to local and touring bands, but with more than 5000 square feet of space, will offer double the size of All Asia. The room will have a capacity of between 180 and 200 patrons, with an added patio area that could hold between 60 and 100.

By the time Valhalla opens, two other new live-music rooms could already be relatively established. Down in Quincy, Future Bar Music Lounge at 58 Ross Way is looking like a haven for punk and hardcore. Its September 17 and 18 grand-opening weekend features UK Oi! legends the Business, with local support by Welch Boys, For the Worse, Tommy & the Terrors, and others, and the venue has booked gigs with Slapshot (October 8), Death Threat (October 15), and Cro-Mags (October 28).

Rosebud bartenders Aimee McGrath and Josh Banville recently bought Club Choices on 379 Somerville Avenue in Union Square and will rename it Radio. Booking for the 200-person rock club will be handled by Boston Band Crush's Ashley Willard, and its October 7 grand-opening party features the Rationales, Organ Beats, and John Powhida International Airport. "We want bands to feel like this is a home for them," says Willard, "where they can have a part in building it from the ground up."

With the economy slowing down the MIT project, there's no expiration date for All Asia just yet. "All Asia will hopefully go on until the days right before Valhalla opens," says Shulman. "[MIT's] not going to break ground in the winter, and they have to give us notice, so we figure we have until the spring."

By then, the live music scene might look a bit different.

Related: The best of Boston's mobile cuisine, Will high-tech steal Central Square's gritty soul?, All Asia no more?, More more >
  Topics: This Just In , Cambridge, MIT, Valhalla,  More more >
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