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Courtesy of Ball & Chain

Ball & Chain

Courtesy of Ball & Chain
Sitting above a green-and-white-striped awning, the neon sign for the "World Famous Ball & Chain Bar and Lounge" illuminates SW Eighth Street much as it did nearly 80 years ago. Founded in 1935, Ball & Chain was a jazz palace where the likes of Billie Holiday and Count Basie jammed until the sun came up. The original Ball & Chain closed in 1957, and the neighborhood changed around it. The bar space on Little Havana's Calle Ocho sat unloved for years until current owners Bill Fuller and Zack and Ben Bush brought it back to life. Today guests sip pastelito daiquiris (served with a side of the Cuban pastry) and old-fashioneds prepared with tobacco bitters. The bar pays homage to its roots with almost continuous jazz sets, including impromptu jam sessions by local musicians with dancing that spills onto the street.

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