Ball & Chain

1513 SW 8th St.
Miami, FL 33135
305-643-7820
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  • Mon - Wed: 12:00 pm - 12:00 am Thu - Sat: 12:00 pm - 3:00 am Sun: 2:00 pm - 10:00 pm
The neon sign for the "World Famous Ball & Chain Bar and Lounge" sits above a green-and-white striped awning, illuminating SW Eighth Street, much like it did nearly 80 years ago. Originally opened in 1935, the Calle Ocho bar had several owners during its 22-year run. But the most notorious of them all were Henry Schechtman and Ray Miller. Schechtman, a business man and owner of the nearby Tower Hotel, was arrested twice in the span of two months, once for B&E at a Lincoln Road bar, and the second time for attempting to break into the trunk of a jeweler's car. Miller, Schechtman's business partner, was a Teamsters Local 320 union organizer who was tied to multiple counts of vandalism, including the slashing of 70 car tires. The two took ownership of Ball & Chain in the early '50s, only to be shut down several years later in 1957 after being slammed with a $5,000 lawsuit from Count Basie. The bandleader accused the shady owners of only paying him $5,000 of the $13,000 that he was promised. Although much has changed since the days of the ol' Ball & Chain, current owners Bill Fuller and Zack and Ben Bush have kept its history alive. In fact, the high-beamed Dade County pine ceiling is the same structure that's supported the building since the mid '30s.

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