New owners plan Plough & Stars rebirth

By Steve Morse, Globe Staff  |  November 11, 2005

Cambridge's Plough & Stars, which has been closed for the last several months, has a new team of owners who plan to make it an active live music club again. They hope to reopen it on New Year's Eve. ''The idea is to make it what it was before -- and then some," says Brendan Curtis, a former chef at Matt Murphy's Pub who is a new managing partner with Jennifer Lockwood (also his fiancée) and Tim Carey, a former bartender at J.J. Foley's.

They hope to erase memories of a rough year in which the Plough was cited for a noise complaint (which led to a benefit concert to raise $5,000 for soundproofing) but then closed when main owner George Crawley decided to get out of the business.

The new owners are still getting their lease and licenses in order, but they've signed a purchase agreement for an undisclosed sum and expect to close on the sale Nov. 29. They're buying out Crawley, who presided over the last years of the Plough, while the O'Malley brothers (Peter and Poirig) will remain as minority owners, with Peter's son, Gabriel, representing their interests, Curtis says.

Lockwood, an interior designer and the niece of the late David Nyhan, a former Boston Globe columnist, says they hope to make a documentary on the Plough and restore its legacy of music, art, and literature. In the past year, the Plough favored a folk/bluegrass booking policy, but she says that rock, blues, jazz, folk, and bluegrass will all be part of the mix when the room reopens.

''I'd also like to do a kind of floating cultural afternoon on Sundays where we might bring in painters and start a salon, and do poetry and book signings," she says.

Curtis, who used to play in the local band Nisi Period, will be the music coordinator and chef. He's planning to serve lunch and dinner there. He also hopes to start musical residencies again, including a rockabilly night on Mondays and previous regulars the Bad Art Ensemble on Wednesdays.

''We want to revitalize the scene and add the Plough back on the list of cool places to go," he says.

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