Mac Klein, Owner of Mac's Club Deuce, Dies at 101 Years Old

UPDATE: New Times reached out to Mac Klein's wife, Mary Klein, who vowed to maintain Club Deuce in Mac's honor, saying, ""I'm not going to change that bar. The only competition I ever had for Mac's affections was that bar, and I'm not changing a hair on that beautiful woman's head."

Mac Klein, owner of the beloved South Beach dive bar Mac's Club Deuce, died today at 101 years old.

A bartender named Kenny confirmed the news today. "He died this morning," Kenny said. Asked how he died, the response was, "He was 101 years old." Kenny confirmed the bar would be open normal hours. 

A message from the Klein family was posted on Facebook today. It reads:

To all our friends and family... This post is to inform you of the passing of my father Mac Klein. He left yesterday comfortably and surrounded by people he loved. He wanted celebration, not mourning, because his life was one of great love, friendship and success. He lived every moment. My father was a charitable man. He did so in a way to always maintain a person's dignity and help them realize their own value by giving them the tools to do the work. He was greatly respected by all who knew him. My dad got his true joy at the end of the day when he returned to the beautiful home he shared with his soulmate Mary and sitting outside surrounded by his animals. He was a simple man with great ambition. There will be no service. If you would like to do something in honor of him, you can donate to Heifer international. A charity that helps people help themselves, just like my dad. My family has asked all to post memories or messages on Facebook. We are sensitive to and respect everyone's need to show their love and respect for this amazing man, but we also need some time to deal with our loss. We will read ever single post and know we are very appreciative of them. — Thank you (Zina)

On February 3, 1964, Klein bought a little South Beach dive bar called Club Deuce. And since then, for the past 51 years, it's been known as Mac's Club Deuce, Miami Beach's greatest dive bar. At this time, it's unclear how he passed away. 

Klein was a legend around Miami. He achieved national fame after Anthony Bourdain visited Club Deuce in 2006 for an episode of No Reservations. He called the bar one of his "favorite places on Earth," and he'd go on to feature it two more times on his show.

Klein was a proud veteran and served in World War II. He returned to the States after being shot and, under doctor's orders, relocated to Miami, where he became a regular at the Deuce.

We profiled Klein and his bar in a cover story last September. Klein was kind and generous with his time and spoke to New Times for hours in his tiny wooden office located in the back of the bar. Even at 101 years old, Klein went to work seven days a week. His wife, Mary, drove him there.

He lived simply in his final years. He loved his dogs, his wife, and his bar, as well as all who worked at the bar and drank there.

"The truth is, coming to work is what keeps me who I am," Klein told us back in September. "I work seven days a week. It's nice to be able to get up in the morning, have coffee with your wife, she drives you to work, and after leaving the woman you love, you meet the people you love. I've reached a point in life where I don't care whether I make money or lose money. It doesn't mean anything. How much can you spend? And I ain't got enough time to spend all of it. I have nothing negative to say — nothing at all. How can I say anything negative when, at the age of 100, I'm here in front of you, and you're gonna put me on the front page? I can only say thank you."
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Ryan Pfeffer is a contributor and former Miami New Times music editor. After earning a BS from Florida State University, Ryan joined the New Times staff in November 2013 as a web editor.
Contact: Ryan Pfeffer