Las Rosas is celebrating its first anniversary. Kind of.
"What gave us the name," the Allapattah bar's owner, Cesar Morales, says, "was there was a Central American bar at the same location called Las Rosas. It was a true dive bar. It was really worn-down. But the sign was there, and something about it worked."
Morales, who also owns Wood Tavern, wanted to create a spot that was a few blocks from the hard sell that Wynwood has become. "This has a different pace than Wynwood," he says. "There's very little around it. It seems like a hole in the wall that is a bit of fresh air. It's no-frills and for locals, but it took a while to become that." When Las Rosas opened, Morales sensed something was off. "The main bar was too large and less cozy," he says. So he redesigned the space. "We changed it into two smaller rooms plus a live-music room. We have three rooms now, with a stage and great lighting. Before, if there were only ten or 15 people in the bar, it felt empty; now it feels really good."
This more intimate iteration of Las Rosas will celebrate its first anniversary this Friday, June 8, with a blowout lineup including Plastic Pinks, Mo'Booty, Antifaces, and six other bands. Like most nights at Las Rosas, there will be no cover charge, and as an added benefit, Las Rosas is located in one of the few spots in Miami that offers plentiful free parking.
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"The venue stands out because of the fun crowd and the great sound there," says Oscar Sardinia, whose band Jaialai has played Las Rosas twice and has two more scheduled shows there, including Friday's celebration and a June 13 opening for a New York rock band coincidentally named Las Rosas. "Las Rosas is a great hang because of the people, the music, and the multiple rooms. The outdoor space allows you to wander a bit — that’s my favorite element of it. I’ve enjoyed both our performances there. We played once in the older version of Las Rosas where the pool table is and once on the new stage. The crowd and the sound make the place special."
There's been some hardship over the past year, though. Hurricane Irma forced Las Rosas to close for a couple of days, and road construction on NW Seventh Avenue left the bar without a sidewalk for weeks. But patrons kept coming. "We've had some great nights," Morales says. "The Jacuzzi Boys shows were really satisfying to see all the people come together."
He's excited to continue to bring in national acts, book local acts, and give up-and-comers their chance onstage with Wednesday night's Words & Wine Open Mic. The only thing Morales plans to change before the second anniversary is to add a kitchen serving hot food. That project is planned to begin in the next couple months. "I'm big on not changing gears," he says. "Las Rosas is what it is. I can see us many years down the road being exactly the same."
Las Rosas' First Anniversary. With Plastic Pinks, Mo'Booty, and others. 5 p.m. Friday, June 8, at Las Rosas, 2898 NW Seventh Ave., Miami; 786-780-2700; lasrosasbar.com. Admission is free.