Like a lot of people around Boston, Kathy Keegan of Somerville can't imagine her funky, young city of Somerville without Davis Square, and can't imagine Davis Square without Johnny D's.
The 300-seat music club's welcomed a vast range of musicians and musical genres for 46 years. But now the owners say it's time for a break, and they said Monday they plan to close in mid-winter and launch a mixed-use redevelopment of their Holland Street location.
"You can see some really cool and interesting people in there," Keegan said in an interview Monday afternoon. "Sometimes it's either people on their way up or people on their way down."
Bob Mahoney's owned Rockin' Bob's Guitars right next door for 34 of Johnny D's 46 years. "I feel like it's an anchor. It's been an anchor for the square. People think of Davis Square, they think of entertainment, they think Johnny D's," Mahoney said.
It's been a tough stretch for Boston live music lovers, as T. T. The Bear's Club, a couple of miles away in Central Square, Cambridge, is closing after a farewell blowout Sunday.
Whether the redevelopment plan could include a successor Johnny D's, or at least another live-music club, isn't clear yet.
"Johnny D's is a good club -- don't close it," said Floristal Evans of Somerville. He calls a night at Johnny D's good therapy to raise your mood. And with its supremely convenient location right across the street from the north headhouse of the MBTA Red Line's Davis station, he hopes it won't get redeveloped as offices or condos or stores but stay a hub for music. "Somebody is going to be happy to buy it."
Some of the people most upset about the possibility of Johnny D's closing are musicians, among whom the venue has a sterling reputation.
Dick Lourie of The Juke Joint Five first played blues saxophone twenty years ago at Johnny D's. "It's just been a really great place. It's been welcoming to musicians. It's a comfortable place to go and sit," Lourie said. "They've always welcomed blues bands and they started as a blues club, and that's a great genre of music that's now only honored in the breach."
John Cappucci, who just moved from New Hampshire to Somerville, is at, he hopes, the beginning of a music career, as a guitarist, and hopes there'll be a night for him at Johnny D's. "It has a lot of good music, and especially local music. A lot of local musicians are trying to look for gigs and whatnot, and that's hard, but this place is pretty rich in that aspect," Cappucci said.
Bob Mahoney of Rockin' Bob's hope whatever comes next next door includes some version of Johnny D's that keeps the music alive. "It's good for the neighborhood, good for Somerville, and good for music in general."