Venue Showcase: Sonia

By Aidan Menchaca

Boston has a new venue, Sonia, to replace the beloved TT The Bear’s Place. TT The Bear’s was bought by the Sater brothers, who own the neighboring venue Middle East. Sonia’s Booking Manager Aaron Roy told us, “The Saters decided to buy the property when the former owner was thinking of selling to a developer who wanted to turn the property into luxury apartments.” The venue, which takes its name from the sister of the Sater brothers, was completely redone to become Sonia. According to General Manager Ned Wellbery, the acquisition of the property came with extensive renovation.

“It was completely renovated and we opened the whole space up.  It’s much bigger now with increased sight lines to the stage.  We have a state of the art sound system and lights so you’re going to get a magical performance,” said Wellbery. “A great green room was added for artists to hang out in. Aesthetically its similar because it has the Middle East arches in the interior. We also have a mural painted entrance as well as church pews that line the walls.  The bar is made of antique oak doors that came from the Armory in Somerville.  It’s a beautiful room that everyone will love!”

As part of the Middle East club brand, Sonia will open up opportunity for midsize shows.“It is another room added onto the Middle East legacy,” said Wellbery. “We have the Upstairs, Downstairs, Zuzu, Corner, and now, Sonia.” Roy said, “Having the ability to build bands as they grow into bigger rooms at the same club is a unique advantage that not many other venues have.”

As far as the type of artists will perform at the venue, Sonia is striving for variety. “We are a multi-genre venue that welcomes all form of music,” added Wellbery. “We want musicians to feel like they are at home when they play.”

If any indications can come from the first few shows, Roy said they will feature local bands. “The first show is 3/31 featuring an all local rock band line up: Doom Lover, Creaturos, Bad Boys Club, and Auva. The second show is with local psychedelic rock band Wobblesauce.”

The opening of Sonia meant the closing of TT The Bear’s Place; a beloved Boston institution. “One of the nicest places we played at was TT The Bear’s,” said Soubhik Barari, a member of the Tufts band Castle Danger. It was this small but warm corner show venue in Central Square; we played on a quiet but lively Thursday night with a few other local indie bands. For us, it was a really incredible opportunity to share an artistic space with some giants of the past who’d performed there – The Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins, Arcade Fire, Smashing Pumpkins, the dream list goes on.”

“It was certainly saddening to hear of such a treasured musical space closing in our backyards; in some ways, it felt like the departure of a generation of amazing indie and punk bands circulating through Cambridge,” he continued. “It would be really great to see a new music space take its place and continue to usher in a new generation of talented artists. Perhaps, expanding it to performers of other genres or artists of different forms, and maybe even finding ways to integrate the community would be an exciting rebirth.”

Luckily for fans of the area like Barari, Welbery said that while he had no intention of recreating TT The Bear’s Place, Sonia would create something innovative for Boston.“TT The Bears was its own legacy so when they closed it ended there.  We have a lot of respect for what they did for the music scene. Sonia is something new that will open a new chapter for the Middle East and the community,” Welbery echoed.

“The fact that we have a brand new independent venue to see great shows in the city; it’s not a very easy thing to pull off nowadays,” he added. “It’s always been a dream of mine to manage one and this place has so much potential to be one of the best venues in Boston. I’m excited to see where we can take it!”

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