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Bien’s Mombasa Road club, The Manhattan, closed due to rent dispute

Sauti Sol singer Bien Aime Baraza and other co-directors of The Manhattan, a bar and grill nightclub, have taken the landlord to court over its closure.

The venue, located on the first floor of Imaara Mall on Mombasa Road in Nairobi, had been in operation for a year and eight months before closing its doors two weeks ago. They have branded themselves as the cultural capital of Nairobi.

The directors of the club, including Bien, say they were forced to close after unresolved differences with the landlord.

“Regrettably, The Manhattan has been closed for the past two weeks due to circumstances beyond our control, which we believe amount to breach of contract, intimidation and harassment by our landlord, Tuffsteel Limited,” the directors said in a statement released on April 5.

They say their efforts to find an amicable solution with the landlord have remained a wild goose chase.

“Although we have tried to resolve the issue amicably through our directors, emissaries and repeated requests for mediation, there has been no positive resolution to date. We have therefore sought legal redress to protect the interests of our business and the welfare of our employees, suppliers and business partners. It’s our sincere hope that justice will prevail through the legal system,” the statement continued.

The directors say they hope to reopen soon, describing the situation to their customers as ‘just an interlude’.

The nightclub opened in July 2022 to much celebrity hype and buzz, with Bien explaining that the reason he decided to invest in the business was because he wanted a place of his own where he could mingle with his fans.

“I also wanted an environment where I could have fun. I realised that I don’t go out much anymore, I get paid every time I go out and that made my relationships with the clubs more transactional and that’s when I vowed to build my own place where I can feel good and people can have fun with me”. Bien said in an earlier interview when the venue opened.

The closure of Manhattan, albeit temporary, comes just two months after another famous nightclub Whiskey Rivers on Kiambu Road closed after six years of operation.

No reason was given for the closure.

1824, another popular nightclub in Langata, was also temporarily closed in December 2023 after an alleged dispute between the landlord and the owner.

It was later reopened, but demolished by the government just two months after reopening.