It's tough to say what the greatest show at Bardot has been over the past five years, but that time Dwayne Wade rented out the Wynwood lounge in 2012 for Gabrielle Union's 40th-birthday pajama jam was one for the books.
"Doug E. Fresh played," recalls David Sinopoli, the guy responsible for booking all of Bardot's shows. "He's like, 'Yo, I've got a friend in the crowd, and he's gonna come spit a couple bars.' It was fuckin' Will Smith. He surprised Gabrielle Union. He had a mask on, took the mask off, and we're like, 'Wait, what?'"
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Bardot earned its rank but not with flash or over-the-top earnestness. Looking back on the cusp of its five-year anniversary, the low-key vibe is not only intentional; it's clutch to the club's success. Where else can you see Erykah Badu, James Murphy, George Clinton, Action Bronson, Nicolas Jaar, and Edward Sharpe play face-to-face to 200 people?
Only twice has there been a stage erected because the band demanded it, once for Digitalism and once for Miami Horror, and both times the artists and Bardot learned to regret it. It's the intimacy of the carpet that makes the signature feel. After five years of proving their point, the agencies and artists not only "get it," they want to play.
"Washed Out was just here," Sinopoli says, "He was like, 'I've been wanting to play this room for two years. A lot of my friends in the industry have played here and told me about it.'"
That's a great feeling for owner Amir Ben-Zion, who says the inspiration for Bardot goes back to his days as a child staying up late to watch episodes of Hugh Hefner's After Dark variety show. It was writers and comedians, singers and models, beautiful people of repute from all angles of life, gathering and talking and smoking, and he never forgot the desire to bring such a room together.
"It was taken from there, but it was also if Mick Jagger was going to have a living room and wanted to have friends play, what is that living room going to look like?" he says. "A place that's a bit more free, where you can smoke whatever you want, you can say whatever you want, you can be whoever you want, and it's interesting. We have all these kinds of people here."
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