The Cut to cut the ribbon on Main Street's nightlife

Ethan Forman, Gloucester Daily Times


November 20, 2023

The storefront at 177 Main St. has been transformed over the past several months into an entertainment venue called The Cut which hopes to be a cut above when it comes to transforming the downtown.

A group of investors have invested $10 million and spent the past several months building out the “glam industrial” space with a modern gastropub, multipurpose entertainment space featuring an existing recording studio in the basement.

The Cut fills a retail space on Main Street that has been dormant since 2021 when the CVS Pharmacy there closed. It’s hoped that it will fill the nightlife downtown, especially during Gloucester’s offseason.

The group of investors, musicians, hospitality and entertainment professionals, along with Mayor Greg Verga plan to cut the ribbon on the 22,000-square foot The Cut this Monday, Nov. 20, at 4 p.m., followed by the opening of the 180-seat restaurant at 5 p.m.

The event will include the reveal of its marquee as The Cut has announced its first acts: The Brother Brothers with Jax Hollow on Jan. 16, Vapors of Morphine on Jan. 27, Sunny War and Chris Pierce on Feb. 22, and Shemekia Copeland on March 16. Tickets, ranging from $22 to $5, are available at

The space will feature live music, comedy, movies, and can host private functions. There’s a 165-seat restaurant with “gastropub” fare and large-screen TVs.

The event space at the back can accommodate 500 people general admission and 300 people seated. The space on the first floor will have the bathroom core and green rooms for acts. It also has an existing tenant with rehearsal space and a recording studio on the first floor, Tony Goddess’s Bang-A-Song Studios, which has been at this location for nearly 20 years.

The Cut takes its name from the The Cut Bridge, officially the Blynman Bridge, that short, somewhat mechanically-challenged state drawbridge carrying Western Avenue over the Blynman Canal.

The Cut is already getting a thumbs up from Mayor Greg Verga, a musician who plays guitar and bass.

“The Cut is a fantastic addition to our downtown and I look forward to seeing local and national artists perform at this new Main Street venue,” Verga said in an email. “Gloucester’s music scene is full of so many talented local artists and this venue is another opportunity for them to share their art,” he said.

“It is going to be another draw to our community and will bring residents and visitors alike to our downtown who will eat at our local restaurants and stop at our shops,” he said.

Tom Clark, the concert and event manager who has overseen the construction of the House of Blues clubs and Motown Cafes, said in a press release: “Our goal was simple — built by musicians, for the community. The building provided a great canvas, where we have added modern elements that complement the exposed brick, wood, and tin ceilings that the existing building left behind for us to reuse. We believe there has been a demand for The Cut for quite a while.”

The cavernous bar and restaurant appeared almost finished as a worker set up some foosball tables. The restaurant will officially open immediately after Monday’s ribbon cutting under the leadership of Executive Chef Justin Plumadore (Eastern Point Yacht Club, Allie’s Beach Street Cafe) and Director of Hospitality Lisa Clark (House of Blues). The Cut will serve dinner daily from 4:30 to 10 p.m.

The music venue, which will feature a signature bar at the back and doors leading out to an 8-foot deck, was a work in progress and in need of flooring. The large open space is scheduled to open in the middle of January.

“For Gloucester, we wanted a place where people can get up and dance,” said Director of Operations Travis Siewers, whose wife’s family has lived in Gloucester for generations.

Siewers says he explains to people that The Cut is an “event venue.” The plan is to host two national acts a week, but also provide a space for local musicians. The flexible event space can also be used for comedy acts, or as an extension of the bar for things such as game nights.

But where to park?

Parking has been a concern of some on social media.

The city’s director of communications and constituent services, Pam Tobey, said in an email the city is analyzing the findings of a parking study and considering next steps.

Siewers expects people to plug into ride-sharing apps to get to The Cut. The downtown venue is also not far from the commuter rail. The Cut is talking with different businesses about using their lots for valet parking.

Siewers said about 175 to 200 cars are expected per show, not 500. “Who goes to the show by themselves?” he said.

Gloucester Merchants Association Director and former City Councilor Joe Ciolino, owner of The Weathervane Gift Shop at 153 Main St., which sells Gloucester T-shirts and other Gloucester gifts a block from The Cut, said: “We are very excited.”

Ciolino said one reason why The Cut will work is because most of its acts will be in the evening when Main Street is quiet. It will also provide an in-season attraction for visitors.

“One of the best things that happened to downtown was the Edward Hopper exhibit,” Ciolino said of the popular exhibit at the Cape Ann Museum. The show this summer and fall broke the museum’s attendance records, attracting more than 36,500 people who had timed tickets to see the paintings.

“Those people came in by appointment,” Ciolino said, “And those people came downtown before their appointment or after their appointment. We had a very busy summer. and as soon as that exhibit closed, it just died. It got quiet.”

He said he is looking forward to The Cut bringing people downtown “and we are all going to benefit.” He credited The Cut for participating with others in the Gloucester Merchants Association as a sponsor for events this holiday season.

“First of all, I think we are really excited to have The Cut join our business community,” said Greater Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce CEO Steve Buckley. He said the venue will add to the nightlife and vibrancy of the downtown for residents and visitors.

“Just bringing these really talented acts and groups to the area is obviously going to bring a lot of culture and life downtown,” Buckley said.

Written by Ethan Forman who is a Staff Writer for Gloucester Daily Times.