The Latin-music craze on the way out? Dead? Buried? Finished? Don't tell Aurelio Rodriguez. He still earns a comfortable living from it. Rodriguez is not a singer but a former model, who inherited his family's 4000-square-foot truck stop known as La Covacha following the death of his father in 1989. He transformed the Northwest Miami-Dade venue into a roadhouse that soon gained a loyal clientele. They enjoyed its raucous rustic atmosphere, tasty barbecued food, and the varied styles of Latin music played there, including salsa, merengue, and vallenato. During the popular Sunday-night parties known as La Carcel (The Jail), rock en español also was a mainstay.
Literally becoming the hottest spot in town, La Covacha's thatched huts, sound system, bars, and tables burned to the ground in 1995, owing to the efforts of a not-very-canny arsonist, who we assume ended up in the carcel himself. Undeterred, the ambitious Rodriguez pitched a very large tent and set up shop quite successfully in the adjacent parking lot until the club rose from the ashes six months later.
Now the Latin night haunt reinvents itself once again via a million-dollar renovation featuring posher décor, a brand-new kitchen turning out gourmet food, an air-conditioned VIP lounge, and a back-yard stage fit for touring national acts. This Saturday Rodriguez throws a grand-opening bash starring Spanish music stars Hombres G (G Men). Wildly popular in Latin America, the rock en español pioneers formed by bassist/vocalist David Summers in the early Eighties are known for their waggish wit. Also on the bill: entertainment by local Latin acts Don Pepe, De-Facto, George Moreno, Fulano Extravagaria, and Octavo Dia.
A swanky makeover and lavish parties notwithstanding, Rodriguez assures that La Covacha patrons won't be disappointed. The club will still retain that comfy vibe it's always had. It continues to be laid back, he affirms. But just with more amenities, with more detail.
La Covacha. 10730 NW 25th St. Opens at 9:00 p.m. Saturday, August 5. Admission is $20. Call 305-406-1794.
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