Trifecta of Miami Music Veterans Buy Club Space With Plans to Reinvigorate the Venue

Imagine coming to Club Space on a Tuesday to catch a live act. The show ends around midnight, and if you're feeling frisky, you stop at Libertine for a well-crafted nightcap. You get home around 1 a.m. and wake up the next day to find your phone hasn't been stolen, your jaw doesn't ache, and you — shockingly — don't feel the urge to dive headfirst into a bag of McDonald's breakfast and take a 48-hour nap.

Excuse me, we can hear you saying, but that doesn't sound like the Space I know at all.

We know. It sounds ambitious to say the least. But the Space you know is soon to be a thing of the past. That's because Club Space, Miami's 16-year home-away-from-home for some of electronic music's most renowned artists, is under new ownership.

And though no one will demolish the Saturday-night-becomes-Sunday-morning house and techno staple everyone either adores or abhors, the new owners have some exciting ideas. And those new owners are none other than III Points' David Sinopoli, Link's Davide Denese, and Miami Rebels' Coloma Kaboomsky.

“I think the great thing about this club is that it gives us a lot of room for creativity,” Kaboomsky says. “Space — in the past — has been related to outer space, mostly, and this is something David brought up, but Space is also room. It's also creativity. It's also dimensions, endless possibilities. I think we're going to redefine what Space really means with how excited and motivated we are.”

The club was purchased from Miami nightlife veterans Roman Jones and Justine Levine. But Miami music lovers should be well acquainted with Space's new masters, whether they know it or not. Sinopoli spent the past seven years booking some of the best acts in indie dance, rock, and hip-hop at Bardot and as the cofounder of Miami's III Points Music Festival. Likewise, Link and Miami Rebels have been leaders in the underground house and techno scenes, with years of successful parties at Treehouse, Story, and Trade under their collective belt.

The three have respected one another for years and began to work more closely together in the past 12 months. Link and Miami Rebels hosted a stage at this year's III Points, and their experience of succeeding under the added pressure of Hurricane Matthew cemented the group's bond.

“We just enjoyed working with each other," Kaboomsky says. "It's good to have the ability to disagree with someone and still reach an agreement through civil, rational conversations.”
Shortly after III Points, the new team decided it was time to take the relationship to the next level. When Space went up for sale, floundering under antiquated leadership and intense neighborhood competition from E11even and Heart, it was an opportunity that registered beyond the best-case scenario for the trio.

“We have a hunger, an energy, and a stamina that I don't think any other ownership group that's coming into this place would ever have,” Sinopoli says. “We are on the cutting edge and in the trenches of a lot of what needs to be done here, so the heavy lifting, the long hours, the investment of our energy is a lot of it right now. We have a lot of ideas for what Miami needs as far as voids. We want Space not to just be the after-hours spot. We want Space to come in and plug some holes that have been lost in the development of Miami.”

That development is something Sinopoli is familiar with, having watched his III Points home base of Wynwood skyrocket into a neighborhood few locals can afford anymore. Even near Space, downtown high-rises grow like weeds at the expense of Miami's live music venues. The scene still reels from the loss of Grand Central and other midsize clubs — as if the 305 needs another high-end mall or half-filled condo.

Sinopoli says he's talked with many acts that would gladly route their tours to Miami for the first time if there was only a place that could host them — something larger than Bardot but smaller than the Fillmore. The Space Invaders, as they jokingly refer to themselves, have plans to redesign and re-envision Space's downstairs into a 500-to-600-capacity live music venue. A stage will go where the back bar now sits, rendering the floor capable of hosting touring bands and live electronic acts alike.

The purchase of Space also came with the adjacent Libertine, a 150-to-200-capacity cocktail bar where the Invaders see opportunity for events as varied as afterparties and book signings. Add to that Space's sacred Terrace and dark-room club area, and you've got some serious potential bursting at the seams.

Such variety paired with the area's 24-hour liquor license creates the capacity for four very different rooms and vibes, which in turn opens each to different types of events all week long. Where the old Space was at times predictable, the new Space aims to host a dizzying array of genres with events as unique as yoga and meditation.

Menus will be updated to include high-end cocktails, craft beers, and diverse nonalcoholic options. The Invaders plan to redecorate Space's Terrace with natural and organic elements, such as plants and crystal motifs. They are mindful of the storied institution they have acquired and promise to honor the music and reputation that have drawn generations of partiers to Space's dance floors well into the early-morning hours. That facet will remain the same, the new owners say. It'll simply be “perfected.”

“We need to get people from Miami to understand again that Space can be a place that is laid-back,” Denese says. “Take away all the intensity of the afterhours — you can come and get good drinks at the bar and good service from somebody who is relaxed. We want to bring good security and good management. It's what we've been doing in separate venues over the years — just blow it up to this dimension.”
As far as the fate of Saturday night's sacred Terrace, Space's main attraction (if you haven't seen the sun rise from there, it's tough to call yourself a real Miamian), the new owners see it transforming into a series of events, drawing one crowd at 2 a.m., another at 9 a.m., and another at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

There was recently a dry run at the club, and you might have been there. The three officially held their first Space event all on their own Saturday, December 3, during Art Basel. Plans are set for a big party with Jamie Jones on New Year's Eve, and Winter Music Conference/Miami Music Week shows are being planned for every night of the week.

“The first thing we did after signing the lease was to call a couple agents that are good friends to tell them what happened, and bookings haven't been a problem,” Denese says. “Everyone is extremely excited about working together in this.”

All three owners live by the creed “You're only as good as your last party,” and they walk into the new Space knowing full well it's their reputations that brought them to this table, and those same reputations are at stake if things flop.

Just as they respect the collaboration that made Space happen in the first place, the new owners also plan to look outside their trio for more collaborative opportunities. It's their ultimate hope that Space becomes a home for everyone in the city with good ideas, as long as good music and uplifting culture are in the heart of their intentions.

“This is a big deal for us personally. It's a big deal for our companies, and it's great that we're coming together, but that's not the biggest deal,” Kaboomsky says. “The biggest deal is that it's for Miami. We are all people who consider Miami almost our country. We think it's a really good thing for Miami, and not just the connections in the U.S. but also worldwide. We're going to see a lot more people coming here to come to Space, and we're looking forward to that.”