Royal Albert owner changes management, temporarily pulling plug on live music

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Less than six months after its triumphant return, the Royal Albert Arms has once again shut its doors — albeit with a plan to open again in a few weeks.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/10/2019 (1197 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Less than six months after its triumphant return, the Royal Albert Arms has once again shut its doors — albeit with a plan to open again in a few weeks.

A Facebook post Wednesday from Mat Perlman, the live music venue’s booker, said venue and restaurant staff were “not given prior warning” and locked out Tuesday. 

He added he is now working to find alternative locations for shows that were booked throughout November. 

Mike Koop of The Bonaduces performing at the soft opening for The Royal Albert on Friday May 24, 2019. (Mike Sudoma / Winnipeg Free Press files)

“All of it happened with no notice to me or any of our staff — bar, sound— whatever, none of us knew. We just walked up and found it locked up,” Perlman told the Free Press, adding he was able to get in touch with the building’s owner, Neil Soorsma, who let him inside. 

The lease-holder of the space is Colleen Swifte, the owner of the Royal Albert Bar and Grill (previously Alycia’s), who reopened the venue in June. Soorsma cancelled her lease; he declined to tell the Free Press why, apart from saying he’s “not in the business of shutting things down unless there’s really good reasons to do it.”

Swifte has not responded to several requests for comment.

“I can’t speak on what was happening with Neil, not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t know,” Perlman said. “Whatever happened, it merited him locking her out which, in turn, meant locking the venue out because we were using her (liquor) licence.”

Because of that, the venue must remain closed until new management obtains another licence which, Perlman was told, likely won’t be until sometime in December.

Soorsma confirmed David McKeigan, manager and booker at the Pyramid Cabaret, will be managing the venue.

“I have no doubt Dave from the Pyramid will put money into it and spruce it up a bit, but the timing was rough,” said Perlman.

“It just put me in a really sh–ty spot for bands, you know; I’m here to help them. One show is (Thursday) and I’m getting 48 hours notice ahead of time it’s gotta move. Dave is trying to accommodate as many as he can at the Pyramid but there’s still plenty that can’t be helped right now.

“I’m going all over right now to make sure that anyone who has a show booked doesn’t have to sweat it too hard.” – Mat Perlman, Royal Albert Arms’ live music booker

“I’m going all over right now to make sure that anyone who has a show booked doesn’t have to sweat it too hard.”

Soorsma did not provide a reopening date to the Free Press.

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @NireRabel

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Manager of audience engagement for news

Erin Lebar spends her time thinking of, and implementing, ways to improve the interaction and connection between the Free Press newsroom and its readership.

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