Late night piano and cabaret bar Sonata has announced that it is closing for good after 18 months, citing the “near impossible challenges” facing venues across the hospitality sector in the “current climate”.
In a post on social media, Sonata shared an image of the bar’s white piano sitting silent at the heart of the basement bar. The closure post said they had “done absolutely everything [they] could to keep going but, in the end, ran out of road”.
The bar was launched by Dale Bassett – a former theatrical and musical entertainer – to bring a new style of musical bar venue to Manchester city centre. The stylish venue first opened on St Ann’s Alley in June 2022.
Inspired by the style of New York and Berlin cabaret clubs of the past, the late night venue went on to play host to an eclectic mix of international and award-winning artists – including West End stars and pop sensations. It also hosted popular open-mic cabaret nights too, getting jazz and blues fans involved.
In true New York piano bar style, guests at Sonata could enjoy full table service, with plenty of delicious drinks on offer and the addition of cheese and charcuterie to nibble on, too. Revamping the venue into a speakeasy-style bar, guests enter through a hidden door down the alleyway, which leads them to a set of stairs that descends into a classic-yet-contemporary prohibition-inspired bar.
Posting on Instagram, the owners wrote: “With a very heavy heart, we’re sorry to announce that Sonata has had to close its doors for the last time. Venues are facing near-impossible challenges in the current climate. We’ve done absolutely everything we could to keep going but, in the end, we ran out of road.”
It ended by saying: “Thank you to our loyal supporters, our fantastic artists and our incredible team for being part of the wonderful community we’ve built together over the past 18 months.”
The post added that all customers with bookings would be contacted “in due course” regarding deposits.
Fans of the bar and stars who performed there shared their heartbreak at the news announced on Friday night. Swing singer Alexandra Stewart wrote: “So sad, what terrible news! Wonderful venue gone too soon – and a real shame for Dale and the team who ran a superb music venue for the city! You will be very missed.”
Soul artist Amber Prothero added: “Absolutely heartbreaking. Thank you for providing the best platform and community for Manchester artists.”
It’s clear that this Manchester creative hub will be sorely missed on its closing, and unfortunately Sonata joins a long list of recent closures in the city.