New Music Venue and Restaurant Sonia’s Will Replace T.T. the Bear’s Place

It will be run by Middle East owners Joseph and Nabil Sater, but former T.T. the Bear's owner Bonnie Bouley still holds the liquor license tied to the address.

After more than 40 years of hosting shows and championing local talent, iconic Central Square institution T.T. the Bear’s Place bid farewell over the summer, shuttering its doors after a series of goodbye bashes featuring homecomings by The Pixies and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

Earlier this week, Joseph and Nabil Sater, co-owners of the nearby Middle East, gained permission from the Cambridge License Commission to transform the space into a new club that will host shows of multiple genres, according to a report from Cambridge Day.

The Sater brothers purchased 10 Brookline St., the building that housed T.T. the Bear’s, back in December, and their plan to raise rent impacted longtime owner Bonnie Bouley’s decision to close the iconic nightclub.

The Saters’ new venue, called Sonia’s, will offer the same Lebanese cuisine as Middle East, and the former T.T. the Bear’s space will be renovated to increase capacity. The Saters plan to remove the pool tables and cut the centerpiece bar in half. There are no plans to physically connect Sonia’s to Middle East.

Sonia’s is expected to open in early 2016, but will not serve alcohol—at least in its early days—as Bouley still owns the liquor license from T.T. the Bear’s. Her “pocket license,” tied to the address, cannot be used until she either uses it at a different address or sells it.

Former T.T. the Bear’s assistant manager Kevin Patey told the License Commission that Bouley was looking into her options—including possible new partnerships—and the commission voted unanimously to render the license inactive for six months, with the possibility of an extension for another six months.

[h/t Vanyaland]