"Some people turn 100, some don't," says Mac Klein, the man who's been running Mac's Club Deuce for the past 50 years. "What's the big deal?"
Today, Klein will get to blow 100 candles in celebration of his birthday, but to the bar owner, it's just another day.
"I'm lucky," he humbly admits. "I've got a wife who keeps me young and a business that keeps me young. There really isn't much else to say."
From living through the Great Depression to serving five years in the U.S. Army during World War II to experiencing the Cold War and Red Scare, the bar owner has witnessed some of the most fascinating moments in American history.
On a less dramatic, more local scale, however, Klein has also seen firsthand the evolution of South Beach. While the city has certainly changed over the years, the Club Deuce, which became Mac's the same day his daughter was born, has remained untouched.
"The bar hasn't changed, the city has," the centenarian explains. "When we first started, it was older Jewish people, then club people, then Cubans, now it's like a country within itself."
"The city was more vibrant back then," Klein continues. "There were different personalities, whether it was the Cocaine Cowboys, the Sinatras, you don't see that nowadays."
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Sure, the characters of Miami's past made history in the Magic City, but that's not to say that the 305 is still home to some of the most, say, interesting, people. Just ask anyone who's found themselves downing a few beers at Klein's bar at 4 a.m.
"I have lived my life practically the same since 1945. I've lived in the world of the Club Deuce. I only see the changes through the eyes of the Club Deuce and the people that come here."
But more than a local watering hole, the Club Deuce is, as Klein puts it, his "therapist."
"Here is where I come to get my therapy," he fesses. "The Club Deuce is a family. This is a wonderful organization where people like each other."
And a South Beach institution, to say the least.
"Having my daughter and meeting my wife [the two have been married 35 years] are my biggest accomplishments," he continues.
"But making a place where people are happy to go to, and keeping the Club Deuce the same it was since the beginning of times, I'm proud of that. When you meet a beautiful woman, don't change a hair on her head."
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A man who's done it all, including becoming a founding member of Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, an achievement he takes pride in, Klein has also learned how to deal with life's disappointments.
"Follow your dream and if you lose the first time, try again and again," Klein advises.
"I have no regrets for the simple reason that everything that happened to me led me to where I am: a very happy 100-year-old man," he admits.
As for his birthday, "I'm not really excited about anything to be honest. It's just another day."
"All I can say is that I'm very lucky that at the age of 100, here I am talking to you."
Happy Birthday, Mac! Here's to many more.
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