The Middle East, a Cambridge institution that’s home to multiple bars, stages, and restaurants, will begin to reopen Friday for the first time since the pandemic shuttered the complex in March 2020, only two months after it was reportedly put up for sale.
News of The Middle East’s reopening came via Facebook on Thursday, where a post announced that restaurants Zuzu and The Corner would be the first to reopen. These will be followed “slowly,” the post said, by the four other rooms in the Central Square complex: Downstairs at The Middle East, Upstairs at The Middle East, the Middle East Restaurant, and Sonia, which was formerly T.T. the Bear’s Place, a club that closed in 2015 and reopened under the Middle East umbrella in 2017.
“We bring back the ideology of what the Middle East has always aimed to be: a place for people of all walks of life to gather, and a hub for the arts in the city of Cambridge and Boston Metro,” the post read. “All our welcome and we love you all. We are so happy to be here for you and we cannot wait to see you!”
The Middle East’s website lists shows coming to the myriad stages, with the first one, “Run The ZuZu ft: Flowttiglio & more” scheduled for Friday June 25 at 9 p.m. at Zuzu. The first show on the Upstairs stage is slated for July 11, on the Downstairs stage for Aug. 12, and on the Sonia stage on Aug. 14. Shows are scheduled through September 2022.
The Middle East — a beloved centerpiece of the Boston music scene since it transformed from a Lebanese restaurant opened in 1974 to an expanded indie rock-and-roll joint in the 1980s — was reported to be up for sale last January.
Cambridge Day reported that Nabil Sater said a sale was “far off or unlikely,” and expressed intentions to keep the club running. In a January 2020 Facebook post, ownership indicated that they were “looking to develop the property,” which owners Joseph and Nabil Sater bought for $7.1 million in 2014. The asking price in 2020 was reportedly $40 million.
The property is still listed on broker Hunneman’s website as for sale. A Middle East employee said that Nabil Sater was unavailable to talk when a reporter called the restaurant on Friday.