See also "Rokbar Closes After Seven Years."
When iconic South Beach party spot Rokbar closed in 2011, the time was right.
It had enjoyed a seven-year run -- an eternity by SoBe nightclub standards -- with plenty of noteworthy moments.
So perhaps that's why news of the Rokbar's reopening came as a surprise to us.
In its original incarnation, celebrity sighting were common -- Josh Hartnett, Courtney Love, Mickey Rourke, and Lil Jon, just to name a few -- but the velvet rope wasn't always a hassle.
The lounge brought together a motley crew (pun intended) of A-listers, tourists, hipsters, and everyone in between. And the place had an intimate atmosphere that blurred the line between VIPs and the common clubgoer.
Rokbar 2.0 is only two months old and it doesn't look much different than the last remodel, which brought a bit Daft Punk style (black leather, gold trims, and futuristic screens) to the space.
The only major difference is those 10-foot tall images of models behind the bar are gone, replaced with shelving for premium liquor. Also, the ledge behind the sofas where many an inebriated party girl liked to dance has been widened and given a different backdrop -- a spectacular LED-framed guitar that's reflected ad inifinitum thanks to some well-placed mirrors.
"We don't want to pay celebrities to come to our place," says managing partner and owner Hershey Jakob. "We want to bring Rokbar back like when it first opened."
Jakob says Gym Class Heroes' Travie McCoy stopped by to celebrate his birthday earlier this month. And as soon as the high season kicks in, he expects more celebrity clients.
But why not start from scratch and bring in a new concept to the space? "If I was going to do something different, I would have just gone somewhere else."
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Still, equalling Rokbar's epic past will be a difficult task. Acts like MSTRKRFT, Neon Indian, LA Riots, Cut Copy, and the Misshapes all contributed to the lounge's distinctive edge in the early days. And it was that edge that always made that club a welcome anomaly on Collins Avenue.
However, with South Beach currently locked in the low season, Rokbar is only open on Fridays and Saturdays. So it would be unfair for us to heap any hasty criticism on it. Especially since this place, even with its cheesy Tommy Lee past, holds a special place in Crossfade's collective (and blurry) nightlife memory.
Here's hoping the new owners honor the glory days of Rokbar.