If there's one thing Miami doesn't lack, it's flashy, expensive parties. So Eyal Agai, AKA Pirate Stereo, and his Slap & Tickle crew are taking a cue from the gritty underground.
"I used to go to a bodega in Boston that sold high-end sneakers out the back," Agai says. "This was the rattiest, cheapest bodega you can imagine, but if you pressed a certain combination on a vending machine, doors would open, and you'd find yourself in this beautiful display room of $500 sneakers."
That's exactly the kind of more-than-meets-the-eye style that Agai and his S&T partners, Santiago Caballero and Panic Bomber, want to bring to The Garret at Grand Central's upstairs party loft with Bodega, their first foray into weekly Saturday nights.
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"I've always had a love affair with The Garret. It's the coolest warehouse vibe in downtown," Agai admits. "And 'Bodega' is 'warehouse' in Spanish," he adds. "So when I hear 'Bodega,' I see graffiti, I see urban, I see sneakers, candy, cigarettes, condoms, lighters, all the good stuff. It goes with Slap & Tickle, and it all goes with that room."
S&T initially made a name for itself as a raucous Tuesday night bash. But what started at the Electric Pickle has moved beyond its original space, set to celebrate a two-year milestone at Bardot. Of course, Agai and crew love their new midweek home at that dark, swank hipster lounge, but they also realize it's impossible to bring the same go-hard, all-night energy as the old days at the Pickle. And that's where Bodega fits in.
"I think we're going back to that rowdy, crazy dance party thing," Agai says of the first couple of S&T Saturdays. "It felt like the old-school Slap. But I would never wish that upon the Tuesday," he laughs.
Of course, though, the Slap & Tickle guys want fans to understand that while the Saturday and Tuesday throwdowns are each unique, special, and distinct, they're also equally significant projects.
"It's two completely different things," Agai insists. "But we're not going to work harder on one than the other. If anything, we're going to work harder on both all the time. It's about trying to have two good nights. A lot of people can't go out on a Tuesday, and they should be able to experience some of the rowdiness we've been known for."
With Bodega, the S&T dudes also hope to push their own boundaries. They want to bring something fresh to the scene, and whenever possible, some fun surprises. Still, they refuse to overthink their approach.
"There's no master plan," Agai acknowledges. "There's a lot of things that you can do to make a party feel special, which I think we're trying to do. But there's no real formula. It's just, 'Here's a musical offering, will you accept it?'"
Slap & Tickle's Bodega Saturdays. Featuring Thomas Jack, Troy Kurtz, and Chalk. Hosted by Veronica Gessa. Saturday, November 30. The Garret at Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Admission is free. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.
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