Studio 52 is a community artist space located in the heart of Allston, and is proud to support the Boston music scene and local artist community.
Earlier this week we got our first look inside Sonia, the new Cambridge rock club owned and operated by Joseph and Nabil Sater of the Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub. The place looks great, and we hear it could open for business as early as next month.
As the opening draws near, other details on the club are starting to leak out, including the room’s initial rental fee of $1,500 per show. Asked if that was on the higher end for the 320-person capacity room, venue manager Ned Wellbery says there’s a reason — and it has to do with the venue’s ongoing pursuit of a liquor license.
“The room cost is $1,500 right now because we have the liquor license pending and can’t serve alcohol,” Wellbery tells Vanyaland Friday afternoon. “But the room is 320 sellable capacity and we are doing all ages shows so its a pretty fair price in comparison to other all ages rooms and events. Once we have the liquor license, the room cost will go down on all 18-plus and 21-plus events.”
For comparison, renting the 575-person capacity Middle East Downstairs, which does have a full liquor license, costs $2,000. Its Upstairs room rental, at a capacity of 190 and with full liquor licensing, starts at $500 with escalating percentages based on ticket sales.
The new Sonia club stands at 10 Brookline St. in Central Square, the site of shuttered rock club T.T. The Bear’s Place. T.T.’s closed in July 2015 after the Saters issued a monthly rent hike of roughly $3,000; eight months earlier, they purchased the entire building at Massachusetts Avenue and Brookline Street (housing the Middle East rooms, ZuZu, T.T.’s and Central Convenience) for $7.1 million.
In the nearly two years that have followed, a sale of the T.T.’s liquor license to the Middle East has not been successful, and last month, the Cambridge Licensing Board gave owner Bonney Bouley a three-month extension to find a buyer before it would be cancelled. Wellbery said the Sonia license will not be the one transferred through sale from T.T.’s, and are waiting on the city of Cambridge to grant one for the club.
Sonia is named after the Saters’ sister, Sonia, and in their message earlier this week revealed the room would be used for live music, DJ and dance nights, community events, private functions, weddings and other gatherings. “The room carries on the visual motif of the other rooms in the entertainment complex with arches complimenting the high ceilings and beautiful new stage,” they wrote. “A full-sized artist-friendly green room will be available for headliners.”
Among the new amenities are a fully designed and equipped stage area (see below), situated opposite where the old T.T.’s stage once rested, music-themed murals around the room, Middle Eastern decor around the separate bar area to the left of the front entranceway, and a box office facing Brookline Street.