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Sonata MCR : A New York Style Cabaret Bar

In the back streets of Manchester lies Sonata on St.Annes Alley, a great location for a New York-style Cabaret Bar. Slinking down into the ground you will find a cosy haven of music and glamour, as the newly decked-out venue opens its doors to the Mancunian public.

Refreshing for the Northern scene, a focus on Cabaret as a genre we were optimistic about what the night had to hold. A true speakeasy, hidden away in the back street of central Manchester. Intimate and warm as the baby grand piano welcomes you on entering which glistens under the stage lights. A focal piece of the venue and pride of joy for the owner, Dale Bassett who was hungry-eyed and excited for the evening to unfold.

Settling into our seats, we enjoyed the night as it came, although it was a while to live music we worried we would be twiddling our thumbs. This was not the case, the service was friendly and attentive, with good Northern warmth and a team which were excited for the future of the venue. It ran smoothly, which can be difficult for a new bar and a new team. As the venue filled up and the drinks flowed, the crowd buzzing with excitement we looked to the stage as the lights dimmed.

On the night we went down it was an amazing lady named Charlie, who took a seat at the piano. Her voice, persona and musical talent silenced the audience (Positively) as we all looked on in awe, leaning in and enjoying the next couple of hours. They went by too quick. She ignited the stage as she played a variety of tunes with blues and jazz stylings, even though she said she was nervous you couldn’t tell, with the owner Dale Bassett stating “she is one of the best in the industry”. That we can agree on.

The venue is equipped with a bespoke system and music set-up, which gives clean and clear sounds, which is difficult to sculpt in such old buildings, so we were impressed by that as a whole.

In our opinion, Manchester has been in need of a real speakeasy with musical acts which still retain that northern charm, Sonata has encapsulated that feeling well and brought a new genre of music to the city. All in all, the evening was magical and we are looking forward to what Sonata brings to the table for the music scene in the future.

Our Recommendation:

Turn up later in the evening, this is when the real magic happens as the live music begins! Even though we were a group we would say it is preferable to be a couple as they get the best seats in the house (close to the baby grand piano). Nevertheless, it is an experience you must try if you want a unique, fun, intimate night, even if there are more than two of you. Be sure to book as the venue was fully packed on day 2!

You can find all their listings via their website, and keep up to date by following them on Instagram.

We also sat down with owner Dale Bassett and had a quick chat with him and his venue, be sure to listen to the interview below and make sure to follow us @acidrainuk.


Coco Varda Music Links
  • Soundcloud
  • Deezer
  • Bandcamp
  • Amazon
  • Apple Music
  • Spotify
  • Instagram
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