Call it the curse of 1439 Washington Avenue. When it comes to South Beach nightclubs, this address is deadly.
Like Suite, Apple, Liquid, and a half dozen other clubs to occupy the same space across from Española Way over the years, LUX nightclub is no more. Earlier this month, a Miami-Dade judge issued a final judgment of eviction against the club's owners for falling over $150,000 behind on the rent. The now defunct nightclub is also facing a lawsuit by a waitress claiming she was stiffed out of thousands of dollars in tips.
On April 1, a Miami-Dade judge awarded possession of both LUX (1439 Washington Ave.) and its recently closed, controversy-ridden downstairs sister club Shock (1437 Washington Ave.) to the landlord, McCrory Associates, LTD.
Court documents show LUX had failed to comply with a court order to pay at least $156,916.30 in outstanding rent. The Miami-Dade Sheriff's office arrived the next day to padlock the popular club before it could open for a Saturday night party.
Co-owner Bob Jeffrey says the club's closing is "tragic."
"A combination of things made it impossible to sustain the rent," Jeffrey says. Chief among them: self-proclaimed French nightclub impresario Julien Manival's disastrous attempt to open Shock nightclub below LUX.
"Frankly, that's one of my problems," Jeffreys says of Shock. "There is possible litigation there. I took some heavy losses with Julien not honoring his agreements with me."
But LUX was facing more problems than Manival's debts and unpaid rent. In a lawsuit filed March 21, a former LUX bottle service waitress claims that the club stiffed her out of thousands of dollars in tips. LUX didn't even bother to pay her an hourly minimum wage, the lawsuit claims.
"They took more than 50 percent of our tips," says the waitress, who asked for anonymity since she is still working in the nightclub industry. "I had disagreements with them over everything: scheduling, pay, everything. So they just gradually took me off the schedule. It was unfair."
No word yet from McCrory Associates as to whether they will try to re-open the club or pass the star-crossed location off to another entrepreneur.
LUX's sudden closing is just the tip of the shady South Beach club iceberg, however. As we reported last month, Shock secretly re-opened for business even though Manival hadn't paid dozens of vendors for their work to refurbish the club.
Then, of course, there was last week's revelation that a handful of SoBe clubs were actually fronts used by Eastern European mafia to lure wealthy tourists and steal their money.
We're sure there's more shadiness out there. Send any Miami nightclub tips to: email@example.com