There is a section of Harvard Square that feels European. Heading east on Brattle Street, past the mansions behind garden gates, the road narrows. Sidewalk traffic gets heavier: a dapper professor with a cane and elbow patches; a wild-haired woman balancing three dogs and espresso. People acknowledge one another with civilized nods. Moving on, noise builds and lights shine. There’s something around the bend.
Veering to the right, beneath the Brattle Theatre on the fringes of the Square, was once the Casablanca. The restaurant and bar was on the fringes of society, too, a bohemian purgatory between the Brattle estates and the pulse of Harvard University.