If you're driving west on NW 29th Street from North Miami Avenue, the street murals, galleries, and design shops of Wynwood abruptly give way to the body shops, warehouses, and pawnshops of Allapattah. There isn't much difference between the two neighborhoods: both have rows of low-slung buildings, long blocks, and writing on the walls, though Allapattah's old-school adverts aren't as coveted at the street art that's made Wynwood famous.
With the addition of Las Rosas, the adjacent neighborhoods have found another commonality: a bar owned by Cesar Morales, the proprietor of Wood Tavern. But aside from a simple red-and-white sign outside, Las Rosas would be almost unrecognizable as a club, which might be the point. Since opening its doors, Las Rosas has gained enough traction for Morales to introduce another concept next door.
"The demographic at Wood has gotten younger over the years, and I have to cater to the clientele that's there," Morales says. "So it's a breath of fresh air to start clean in Allapattah." And with cheap rent, less fuss, and a more local crowd, he adds, "It gives me creative freedom to do things the way I like to do them. It's very new. I'd rather be the creator of something new than a follower."
The entrepreneur figures he's about two years ahead of the curve on the corner of NW 29th Street and NW Seventh Avenue blowing up, but he likes it that way. His newest concept, B-Side, is a deliberate step away from the crowds and hipster hunger of Wynwood. And perhaps because of his partner, Nicky Bowe, formerly of Churchill's Pub, Las Rosas has taken on a loose, dive-like vibe.
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"I'm a little bit older," Morales says, "and the new rap, mumble rap, and trap, I'm not particularly the biggest fan of." So the 39-year-old is sticking to what he knows and loves: old-school house and hip-hop. B-Side will serve as not only a kid sister to Las Rosas but also the scene of a throwback-Thursday-style party every Friday and Saturday. The small space — maximum capacity is 175 people — has a modest stage, a long bar to the side, and bleacher-like seating near the back for live shows. Local acts, open mikes, and other performers will soon get the green light to book shows there during the week. Libations are fairly inexpensive - just your standard mixed drinks and beers, costing between $5 and $7.
If you're just looking to escape the crowd, this place is the sort of back-to-basics you might crave. "Just good music, good-priced drinks, and dance," Morales says. "Simple. Basic. Have a good time."
B-Side Grand Opening
With Special Ed. 10 p.m. Friday, June 16, at 2898-B NW Seventh Ave., Miami; 786-780-2750; bsidemiami.com. Admission is free.