What’s Old is New Again: Iconic and World Famous Ball & Chain Reopens in Miami after 50 Years
The retro jazz bar on Calle Ocho has just been reborn as a live music venue with an authentic Cuban flare and meticulously redecorated in iconic 1950s Miami style by new ownership Ben Bush, Zack Bush and Bill Fuller. Before the area became a harbor for Cuban refugees, the bar “On the Trail” (Tamiami Trail) from the mid-1930s to late 1950s was a popular late-night stomping ground for many of the world’s most famous jazz musicians including Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, and Chet Baker.
The three Miami natives and entrepreneurs have completely revived the entertainment venue while preserving its cultural elements to reclaim its reputation as a power player in Miami’s nightlife scene with a 3,000 square-foot interior and a 3,500 square-foot patio both outfitted for live music. “The music scene at Ball & Chain will infuse contemporary sounds with old school Cuban jazz and salsa,” says co-owner Zack Bush. The venue will feature live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday and holidays. “We love to support local artists but plan to book big names as well,” says Bush.
The bar features a full top shelf and premium liquor bar, signature specialty cocktail list created by world-renowned mixologist Julio Cabrera and Danny Valdez as well as a Cuban inspired tapas menu. Drawing from his Cuban roots, Cabrera designed a cocktail list as playful as it is tropical featuring drinks such as the Cañita and the Pastelito Daiquiri. The tapas menu features traditional Cuban cuisine including Roast Pork Spring Rolls, Chicharrones (house-made pork rinds), Congri Fritters and Queso Frito.
“The goal was to bring it back as if it never closed,” says co-owner Bill Fuller. The venue features the original roof made from authentic Dade County Pine dating back to 1930s construction. The hand-picked artwork and 1940s vintage wallpaper on the walls transport you back to the 1950s jazz era with original concert ads featuring Chet Baker and Count Basie. The unique Cuban inspired cold-press concrete tile floors keep the Latin influence flowing throughout the bar, while the newly constructed island-style bar allows for an improved social experience.
Ball & Chain is open from 12PM to 8PM from Monday through Wednesday, 12PM to 3AM Thursday, Friday, Saturday and closed on Sundays. Happy Hour is Monday through Saturday starting at 4PM to 7PM featuring two for one specialty cocktails daily.