Northeastern alumni hold final sendoff for Punter’s


Nick Hirano

Punter’s Pub will give its final last call this month, as the Huntington Avenue dive bar is set to close its doors two years after Northeastern purchased the property. Campus-planning documents suggest that the property could be used as part of a student housing expansion.

On Saturday night, Northeastern athletes of years past descended on Punter’s to send off longtime owner Steve Newman, who earned $5.3 million in the sale of the property.

Chuck Lavrentios, who graduated in 1983, remembered the bar’s strong ties to Northeastern athletics.

“They were very welcoming to the sports teams here,” said Lavrentios, who played offensive line on the school’s now-defunct football team. “After the games, it was sort of a place to come and hang out — talk about that day’s game, have some camaraderie with your teammates and across sports too.”

Lavrentios, like many others at the event, enjoyed the nostalgia of the evening.

“I haven’t been here for 20 years, but it hasn’t changed at all,” he said. “It’s fun to see the old faces. A lot of the old teammates are here.”

For Dave Bartone, a 1985 graduate who played football with Lavrentios, the closing of Punter’s represents the end of an era.

“It’s sad. We grew up here in a lot of respects,” Bartone said. “We worked here, grew up here, we know the owner and all the folks who work here still. So it’s sad to see it go.”

Saturday’s gathering brought back fond memories for Brian Crowley, who coached women’s track from 1989 to 2000 and began frequenting the bar years before.

“Tonight is like a normal weekend night back in the ‘80s,” Crowley said. “I just went to the men’s room and when I came back, I met one of my athletes that I coached here. She was sitting on the pool table.”

Crowley smiled and took a sip of beer as he gazed at the rows of faded team photos above the bar.

“Everybody came here,” he said. “My picture’s up there three times.”

University House of Pizza was also included in the purchase but will remain open for at least one more year. The restaurant has been part of the Northeastern community for 24 years, and its owner, Parthena Savvidis, is happy with how the university has treated them during this period and would like to continue the relationship.

In a Nov. 28 email to The News, Northeastern’s Vice President of Communications Renata Nyul said that “the university is evaluating options for what to do next with the property.”

However, documents filed with the Boston Planning and Development Agency in 2013 propose a renovation to replace the existing Burstein and Rubenstein residence halls with a 20 to 25-story building that could house more than 400 students and provide space for academic and commercial uses.

The Punter’s property, outlined in red, could be used as part of a proposed renovation of the Burstein and Rubenstein residences halls on Huntington Avenue. / Photo courtesy Boston Planning and Development Agency

The Punter’s property, which sits adjacent to the residence halls, could be incorporated as part of the proposed expansion.

Bartone expressed optimism about the university’s purchase.

“It stays in the family,” Bartone said. “This is like a Northeastern institution. That is a good thing. It would’ve been nice if it stayed open as a tavern, but five million bucks is better than a little tavern.”

Nick Swindell contributed to this story