Even if you've spent untold hours losing your mind (and your innocence) in the Electric Pickle's second-floor party room, you probably don't remember anything in particular about the place's physical characteristics. You were drunk. You were dancing. And it was darker than a black hole.
For the last couple of months, though, the Pickle's team of residents experts -- William Renuart and Tomas Ceddia -- and MAD Design Group's Mark Diaz have been turning that dance dungeon into an Old-Miami-speakeasy-slash-1940s-officer's-club, now called El Bolero Room.
See the cut for a five-photo preview and RSVP details for tonight's grand opening party.
The upstairs lounge is named after a forgotten Florida cocktail lounge once frequented by Renuart's parents during the late '40s and early '50s. "Will and I really haven't been able to find a photo record of it," says Ceddia. "But it's a memory thing. Something he remembers his parents talking about while he was growing up. So it's a tribute, not to the actual space but the idea."
In terms of design, El Bolero takes some of its look from the post-war era. "I had conversations with my grandfather about the places that he used to go to when he was in the war in both Berlin and the US," explains Mad Design's Diaz. "You can see the influence in a lot of the materials being used, like a lot of distressed wood and old Chicago brick. And the oxblood red comes from the paint colors they were using on the outside of the airplanes. Even the sofas -- the piping and the way the chairs were made -- are similar to the seats you'd see inside a cockpit."
Oddly enough, some of the reclaimed materials used in the El Bolero renovation were sourced straight from the room itself. "All the wood you see around the space was removed from the preexisting ceiling and then reused," says Diaz. Other materials, though, were taken from elsewhere. For example, the crafted glass windows and wooden foxes-in-hunting-coats chandelier were salvaged from the Wackenhut Security Mansion in Coral Gables.
As you can see, the Pickle's new DJ booth reads "Revolt." If you're really good at word games, you might be able to unscramble that mini-motto and determine the origin of this particular repurposed object. But for those with a weak grasp of the alphabet, we'll end the riddle right now ... It's an old Chevrolet tailgate that's been reworked by local gearhead and sculptor Rich Eagleston. And those cylindrical objects flanking the booth? Those are decommissioned bombs.
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But the most surpising thing about the Pickle's and Mad Design's El Bolero project aren't the inactive explosives. It's the fact that somehow Renuart, Ceddia, and Diaz did all their work under the cover of daylight while still hosting parties, DJ sets, and live shows every night. "The golden part is that we didn't even close down," Diaz says. "Three weeks before Basel we started demolition and we kind of left this under-construction vibe. So when people walked up here, they were like, 'Holy shit! Something happened!"
The El Bolero Room grand opening party with Viva La Vox, Maetrik, Leftside Wobble, My Cousin Roy -- plus Will Renuart, Tomas of Aquabooty, and Captain Ridiculous. Friday, January 21. The Electric Pickle,