The creak of a door opening in a new venue in Miami is like a drop of blood in a shark-infested ocean: All of the city’s night crawlers can hear the sound a mile away. But the noise is even louder when the new spot occupies the former space of one of Miami’s most beloved venues. In July 2017, the owners of Bardot claimed the live-music hot spot was closing for renovations and would reopen before III Points that year, but it never reappeared. Boombox, the newest nightlife concept from the cofounders of Beaker & Gray and Mason Eatery, opened less than two weeks ago in the former Bardot space, bringing Miami “old-school ’90s vibes with new-school twists.”
“[The public’s response to Boombox] has been pretty interesting,” bar director and co-owner Ben Potts says.
“Obviously, Boombox being in the former Bardot space, a lot of people were very interested to see what Bardot turned into… I would say the response has been very positive so far. It’s a big difference from what Bardot used to be.”
But opening a new bar/lounge wasn’t originally part of the plan, Potts says. His partners were interested in the former Gigi space, which is now Mason Eatery, partly because of its proximity to Beaker & Gray. When inquiring about the Gigi location, they learned the neighboring Bardot space was also available. “With my background being in bars like Blackbird Ordinary, Purdy Lounge, Broken Shaker, [my partners] asked, ‘Do you think you can turn the Bardot space into a successful bar again?'” Potts says. “I’m like, ‘I think there’s a pretty good chance. Let’s give it a whirl.'”
The inspiration behind Boombox’s nostalgic vibe comes from Potts’ experience of growing up in the ’90s. “I think we sort of got to the point where we’re actually ready — the ’90s weren’t that long ago, but the beginning of the ’90s were almost 30 years ago,” Potts laughs. “While Boombox isn’t so overtly thematically ’90s, there are definitely some ’90s elements that I kind of wanted to bring back.”
Boombox’s mural, created by Wynwood artists Nicole Salgar and Chuck Berrett.
Photo by 52Chefs Photography
The decor isn’t kitschy like that of some other bars with themes of past eras. Instead, the dark and urban-chic 3,400-square-foot space incorporates ’90s elements such as a New York club-style black subway-tiled entryway. The bar also includes leather- and velvet-upholstered furniture, distressed concrete walls and floors, antique metal light fixtures, and a mural by Wynwood artists Nicole Salgar and Chuck Berrett.
Boombox, open nightly until 3 a.m., offers rotating music themes throughout the week. “If you’re gonna call yourself ‘Boombox,’ you should probably be somewhat on point,” Potts jokes. He also thought Boombox needed to uphold its predecessor’s reputation of presenting a strong roster of local bands and DJs: Mondays include local bands and solo acts, Tuesdays feature “House in Motion” with Patrick Walsh, Wednesdays are the Latin night “La Boom,” Thursdays present A-Train throwing down old-school hip-hop and Miami freestyle, Fridays and Saturdays are open format, and Sundays are industry night with DJ Icue.
For locals who want to blow off steam after work, the bar offers happy hour Monday through Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. Boombox’s throwback cocktail menu was designed for speed and “pays tribute to the terribly wonderful drinks from the ’80s and ’90s,” created by bar manager Rani Cassuola and Potts. Asked for his recommendation from Boombox’s cocktail list, Potts says, “You should probably try the Longest Island Iced Tea.” Guests can also order food from Mason Eatery next door.
“I think a lot of places in general kind of take themselves too seriously…,” Potts says. “Midtown/Wynwood needed another fun bar or place where people could hang out and listen to really good music, get a good drink, and have a blast.”
Boombox. 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-814-4548; boomboxmiami.com.