Before Second Saturday Art Walk became a thing, before Wynwood was named one of "America's Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods" by Forbes, before the neighborhood became a walking ground for music royalty, there was the Electric Pickle.
From the moment its neon green sign lit up for the first time in 2009, the Pickle has seen the area evolve from a "ghetto-tastic wonderland" to one of the most culturally enriching localities in the 305.
Sure, it hasn't been smooth sailing for Wynwood's first club (the hotspot went on a hiatus last year due to some code compliance issues and minor renovations), but the Pickle surpassed the test of time, going five years strong.
Celebrating its birthday, co-owner Tomas Ceddia and the rest of the Pickle crew will be throwing a two-day mega bash this weekend at 2826 North Miami Avenue with "high wire acts, pony rides, and some top secret surprises," and music from DJ trio Pillowtalk, Theo Parrish (the Detroit producer's first ever Miami club appearance), and the Pickle's own residents.
In honor of its half-decade existence, Crossfade chatted with Ceddia via e-mail about his most memorable moments at the emerald Wynwood gem.
Envisioning A Club in Wynwood
"I had actually been a patron of the three previous bars in that location," Ceddia said in response to what inspired him to open a club in the 'Wood.
"Over the years, Will [Renuart] and I had both thrown parties and DJ'd there on occasion, so there was some emotional connection to the place. It was a stone's throw from my apartment in Midtown (I hate commuting). When it became available, is just seemed to make sense."
That was back in 2009, right around the peak of the economic crisis, at a time when Wynwood was still somewhat of a shady neighborhood.
"Believe it or not, things were much easier in our 'not-so-safe/risky neighborhood and time'," he explained.
"It was a bit like the Wild West, and I suppose there was a sense of danger walking to your car alone at 4 a.m., but because no one really cared what happened in the area," he recalled.
"Rents were reasonable and getting things pushed through with the city and local politics were not as complicated. I think everyone was just happy to see something happening in the area. This, of course, has all changed in the name of progress."
Naming the Electric Pickle, the Electric Pickle
Prior to becoming synonymous with the name Wynwood, the Electric Pickle's moniker was laughed upon in the very beginning.
That, Ceddia claimed to be his first memory of the club.
"Probably when I announced to Will, Sarah (our manager at the time) and a few random others who were around during the build out, 'I have this crazy idea for the name and it's so ridiculous that it has to work.'"
"Everyone told me it was retarded. Gradually over the next few days, they all came around."
And are we (and the rest of Miami) glad they did.
Opening Night & the Pickle's First WMC
You can tell a lot about a club from its first night of business. And having no recollection of it is usually a good sign.
"Honestly, I have almost no memory of opening night, so it must have been good," joked Ceddia.
But as for the Pickle's first WMC with Strictly B, Will Renuart, Schmoov!, Lovebirds, Vincenzo, Shahrokh, and other local and international deep house masters just a few weeks after its grand opening, all Ceddia could say is that it was "insane."
DJs Dixon, Harvey, and Osunlade Taking Over the Pickle
Out of all the DJs who've taken one of the best concert venues in the entire country for a spin, it was difficult for Ceddia to narrow them down to only three faves ... He, nonetheless, accepted the challenge.
"There have been so many it's really hard to say," he fessed. "I guess, if you are asking for my personal top three, I'd say Dixon, Harvey, and Osunlade. This is based on my personal/ selfish musical tastes and the particular crowd those nights."
Little Dragon and A Little Visit from the Fire Department
The Pickle has seen its fair share of wild nights, but nothing has topped Little Dragon's performance.
"Little Dragon playing live outside in the parking lot and 2000 people showing up," he went on.
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"Just as the last song ended, the Fire Department arrived to provide some much needed crowd control, wondering why there was a line around the block, where our permit was to put on a concert in said parking lot, and very nicely telling everyone the show was over ... It's time to go home."
Sounds like the Pickle we all know and love. May the next five years bring us even more wild nights of great music and hazy memories.
The Electric Pickle Five Years Strong. With Pillowtalk, William Renuart, Andrew Ward, and Tomas of Aquabooty on Friday, February 21, and a four-hour DJ set with Theo Parrish and Will Renuart on Saturday, February 22. Both shows start at 11 p.m. The Electric Pickle, 2826 North Miami Ave., Miami. Tickets for Pillowtalk cost $20-$25 plus fees via residentadvisor.net. Tickets for Theo Parrish cost $20 plus fees via residentadvisor.net. Call 305-456-5613, or visit electricpicklemiami.com.