Thursday, April 18, 2024

Club D’Elf performs Aug. 30, 2019, at the Lizard Lounge. (Photo: Internet Archive )

The Lizard Lounge nightclub opens today for the first time since Covid closed it in March 2020, running a weekend slate of club favorites: the Moroccan-dosed psychedelic dub jazz collective Club d’Elf for two Friday shows; MC Kabir & The Krush Faktory on Saturday; and Jeff Robinson’s Poetry Jam and Slam, returning Sunday.

“We wanted to have them be the first ones,” co-owner Charles Christopher said of the opening lineup.

For now, the 105-person-capacity club downstairs from the Cambridge Common restaurant will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, rather than the all-week schedule from before Covid. 

Similarly, his Toad nightclub remains open Wednesdays through Saturdays in Porter Square, down from a seven-day, pre-Covid schedule, while its connected restaurant, Christopher’s, has yet to reopen. 

The Lizard Lounge, seen in 2014, reopens this weekend after a long Covid-induced closing. (Photo: Lizard Lounge via Yelp)

The issue for all three sites is the same: staffing.

“It’s going to be a while before we have enough humans,” Christopher said. “We’ve had some hiring here and there, and some of our Cambridge Common bartenders want a night down in the Lizard Lounge. We’ve just kind of done some rearranging – it’s pretty tight.”

The Lounge was essentially decommissioned during Covid, with its sound system redeployed for open-air, patio dining and its glass washer returned to avoid paying a monthly rent; the space had to be replumbed and rewired to get it back into shape, Christopher said, and he only hopes the effort pays off.

But tickets for tonight’s Club D’Elf shows sold out in about 10 minutes when released last month, Christopher said. Toad’s reopening Feb. 3 revealed just as much pent-up interest in nightlife in general and these local favorites in particular – especially noticeable because Toad is small. “It’s a 62-seat place. We have someone at the door counting to make sure we don’t overcrowd, and we had like 500 people come by that first night,” Christopher said.

“It’ll feel much better when when Lizard Lounge is open than it does getting ready to be open, but we’re pretty excited about this,” Christopher said. “The idea, of course would be to open and be as Lizard Lounge-y as we were before and hopefully build the business in a way that makes it worth doing both to the musicians and to the house.”

But the Lizard Lounge has always been a “labor of love,” he said.