When the Miami Improv's Coconut Grove venue closed in 2013, the plan was to reopen in another location. It just took a bit longer than co-owner Joel Bachkoff expected.
Five years, to be exact.
The famed comedy club will finally celebrate its grand opening Friday in its new home at CityPlace Doral, now billed as Miami Improv Comedy Club & Dinner Theater.
Full House dad and raunchy comedian Bob Saget will do the honors as this weekend’s entertainment, but Wanda Sykes technically popped Miami Improv’s cherry when she performed there last weekend. Other recognizable names scheduled to take the stage in the coming months include Marlon Wayans, Steve-O, Craig Robinson, Jay Pharoah, and Margaret Cho.
As you’d expect, Miami Improv 2.0 is an upgrade from its previous incarnation. The 10,000-square-foot venue can seat over 400 guests and boasts a more upscale food and cocktail menu, with some items coming from newly opened neighboring restaurant Copper Blues Rock Pub & Kitchen. (Bachkoff co-owns the franchise restaurant as well.)
“We really are trying to stay away from the Miami Improv club and make it more of a theater experience,” said Bachkoff. “It’s an all-purpose room that caters to all performers. We’ll have standup, sketch comedy, podcasts, and theater — we’ll have Friends! The Musical [Parody] there. Guests can expect a more elevated experience. We’re working on the things people didn’t love. We’re constantly asking guests what we can do better.”
Bachkoff said the old Miami Improv closed after 20-plus years in Coconut Grove not because business was down, but because the Mayfair complex it called home was undergoing a transformation. Out went the bars and restaurants and in came the offices.
The newish CityDoral offers Miami Improv an entertainment district where it can feel right at home alongside over a dozen restaurants and a ritzy movie theater and bowling alley, making the wait, as long as it was, worth it.
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“I didn’t love the fact that Improv had to close, but we closed under those circumstances,” said Bachkoff. “It had nothing to do with what we were doing or underperforming. We’ve always done well. The city has always embraced us.”
Miami Improv — part of the national Improv franchise, which includes a West Palm Beach location — plans to embrace the city right back. Bachkoff pointed toward the decor as a sign of the venue’s Miami-ness. The venue will also regularly host Latino comedy nights. And the menu includes Cuban favorite pan con
“There’s a lot of Miami inside those four walls,”
Bob Saget. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, December 14; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, December 15; and 8 p.m. Sunday, December 16, at Miami Improv in CityPlace Doral, 8300 NW 36th St., Doral; 305-441-8200; miamiimprov.com. Tickets for the 21-and-over shows cost $32 and require a two-drink minimum.