Ball & Chain – This Calle Ocho Club is the most vibrant spot for jazz, and also slings period-perfect cocktails. 

In 1957, Count Basie sued Ball & Chain for lack of payment, and the owner shut down the joint. Now a poster of the jazz star adorns the wall, paying homage to old days at the Calle Ocho club, which originally opened in 1935 and reopened last year with much of the historic Little Havana ambience intact. The Dade County pine ceiling and walls remain from 1935, and owners Zack Bush, Ben Bush, and Bill Fuller brought in handmade Cuban tiles for the floors. Cuban-inspired food such as fried queso with guayaba sauce and congri fritters, and drinks infused with coffee, tobacco, pineapples, and even pastelitos complement the look and feel of the venue. But it’s the music that keeps this place bumping. There’s live jazz every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday starting at 6 pm, and an out-of-control La Pachanga Party complete with feather-clad dancers and 10-piece salsa bands every Saturday night. “We felt as though we had a responsibility to the people of the neighborhood to reject the trend of tearing down old gems in the name of shiny, new concepts,” says Fuller. “If an original patron came to see us, the experience would bring back wonderful memories of the past and hopefully create some great new ones as well.”