It can be argued success is as much about timing and luck as it is hard work and talent. And in the notoriously cutthroat nightlife industry, in the exceptionally fickle city of Miami, the odds of achieving both longevity and integrity can feel doubly stacked against you.
That hasn't stopped Jason Odio and Raul Sanchez. The hospitality veterans are pushing forward with their converted warehouse space on the eastern edge of Little Havana that they first opened as Sidebar in 2014. After a brief closure and a handful of rebrands and design overhauls, the venue officially debuted last week as Insideout, boasting a sexy new look and one of Miami Music Week's hardest-hitting lineups.
In the vein of popular Brickell watering holes such as Blackbird Ordinary and the now-defunct Tobacco Road, the old Sidebar instantly drew impressive crowds of young Miami hipsters from alternative scenes via rotating DJs and parties specializing in hip-hop and dance music. But as neighborhoods shifted and parties migrated elsewhere, Sidebar eventually struggled to fill its sprawling indoor/outdoor space each week and closed its doors in 2018.
Late last year, however, New Times introduced readers to Kindred, billed as Sidebar 2.0 — an "elevated concept across the board" that Odio said would bring in national touring artists supported by local, independent talent. The team came out strong with a packed Art Basel program and aspirations of filling a void as a new midsize music venue for the city. But mere months later, Kindred was no more.
"We decided to make it a pop-up that served its purpose for Basel," Odio says of the whirlwind changes after rushing to get Kindred ready for Thanksgiving and Miami Art Week. "We had a really good turnout and great programming, and I think it set the tone for
Rather than give up, Odio (known for Baby Jane, Ariete) and Sanchez (Peachfuzz, Bar) doubled down on their vision and regrouped, joining forces with one of the city's longest-standing institutions for
Helmed by Aramis Lorie, Jake Jefferson, and LP Steele, Poplife has hit past downtown home runs such as Grand Central (shuttered at the hands of developers) and current bangers like El Perreo, the jam-packed reggaeton dance parties at 1306. "To celebrate bringing on these guys, we decided to completely rebrand," Odio says. "We updated the space and updated the concept as far as direction and music programming."
Inspired partly by Netflix's 2018 Studio 54 documentary tracing the iconic New York discotheque's rise and fall in the late '70s, the team revamped the space to create a "nostalgic, fun environment conducive to dancing," Odio says.
In addition to a centerpiece of clustered disco balls and hanging tropical foliage anchoring the main room, greenery was incorporated inside to divide the large space and create a more intimate feel. Further playing off the name "Insideout," the patio oozes a cozy living-room vibe with plush sofas and a pool table.
Looking forward to Insideout's future among pockets of transforming neighborhoods such as downtown and Little Havana, Odio and the team are still hedging their bets on the venue and its potential to fill a void in the Miami music scene, especially as Wynwood becomes increasingly developed. "For people who don’t want to necessarily deal with that chaos," he says, "we can serve as an alternative."
Insideout. 337 SW Eighth St., Miami; 786-703-6973; facebook.com/itsinsideoutmiami. Thursday through Saturday 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. Happy hour Thursday and Friday 5 to 7 p.m.
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