A part of Union Square that is home to several restaurants lost water for nearly three hours Friday afternoon, according to Thomas Champion, a spokesperson for the city of Somerville.
The water failure caused some top restaurants in the area to close for Friday night.
Champion said something called a "water gate" failed at about 3:15 p.m., cutting off water to the area around Union Square Plaza, which has a number of restaurants, including The Independent, Precinct, Journeyman and Casa B.
Workers from the Department of Public Works and the department's contractors fixed the problem by about 6 p.m., Champion said.
The water failure happened as restaurants were preparing for Friday-night business.
On Facebook, Journeyman Restaurant posted:
"We are very sad to announce that due to a burst water main in Union Square we have no water and cannot open tonight. We hope to be back as usual tomorrow. Backbar will open as soon as the water is turned back on - late tonight, we hope!"
Casa B had the same problem. On Facebook the restaurant wrote:
"Due to freezing temperatures, a main water line burst and there is no water in Union Square. Unfortunately Casa B will be closed for dinner service this evening. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope that you all stay warm!!!"
The Independent initially called off service for Friday night, but then decided it could open with a limited menu. On Facebook it posted this:
"Update! Thanks to some fast work we have water back and will be up and running by 7:30—we will have plenty of drinks and a short dinner menu for you this evening. Sorry for the confusion."
This article was posted at around 6:30 p.m., and the restaurants listed above may have changed their minds by the time you're reading this. Check with the restaurants to see if they're open Friday night.
Champion did not immediately know what caused the failure or what exactly a "water gate" is.
According to this website it's another word for a sluicegate: a "regulator consisting of a valve or gate that controls the rate of water flow through a sluice."
Thanks to former President Richard Nixon, a Google search for "water gate" does not yield useful results in this circumstance.
Search for "water gate plumbing" and you run into the same problem.