Miami’s Old Speakeasy

August 11, 2011 by

Eating & Restaurants, Local Recommendations

The legendary Tobacco Road (or “The Road” if you want to blend in with the locals) has existed in downtown Miami since 1912. With finger-lickin’ specials and prices that are suspiciously reasonable, it’s hard to imagine the long history the bar and music venue has had this past century.

Tobacco Road - Photo courtesy of Menu Pages

First called Chicken Roost, then Chanticleer Restaurant, then Shandiclere, the establishment didn’t get its current name until the 1970’s. It has survived hurricanes, gangsters, police raids, and the most dangerous threat of all: prohibition (supposedly a secret room upstairs was once a speakeasy). The military banned its servicemen from frequenting the bar after the 1940’s saw the place gain a reputation as a gay-friendly establishment (the ban was lifted twenty-five years ago). Rumor has it Al Capone used to gamble there, too.

If you’re feeling munchy, you can’t really go wrong with Mozzarella Sticks, Smoked Thai Buffalo Wings, Chili Con Carne, or a Cowboy Burger. Whatever you eat, you mustn’t miss out on the infamous BBQ sauce, perfected over decades and soon to be sold in stores. If you need something to listen to while you clean your plate(s), you’re in luck; the Road has live music on a regular basis from a wide variety of local and established musicians.

Every Wednesday (from 9:30pm to 2:30am) is Ladies’ Night, when femme fatales get to drink wine, drafts, and martinis for only a buck each. Even better, that buck goes straight to the Miami Community Partnership for Homeless – a network of assistance centers that provide healthcare, daycare, job training, and case management to help Miami’s homeless transition off the streets.

If you’re around Miami on August 6th, check out the Summer Super Kegger Beer Bash Food Truck Rally (whew) from 6pm to midnight, with games, prizes, and way too much beer on tap. Listen to DJ Oski, DJ Care Bear, and live music by Elastic Bond – cover free.

Take advantage of their oldest-liquor-license-in-the-county; Tobacco Road is one of the only bars in the area allowed to sell booze like a regular liquor store. Drink up!

- Natalie Grant

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