Considered Miami's oldest bar, Tobacco Road was once a speakeasy, a gambling den, a gay bar, a strip joint, and blues bar.
It has survived Al Capone, Prohibition, the Great Depression, deadly hurricanes, the Mariel boatlift, race riots, cocaine cowboys. And next Friday, Tobacco Road celebrates its 99th anniversary with a huge blowout party featuring 15 food trucks and bands.
Hosted by Mark Weiser and DJ Oski, the party feature hip-hop crew ¡Mayday!, Latin reggae roots band Araka, dub-hoppers Sounduo, and rapper Garcia -- not to mention Tobacco Road's own Justincredible.
So why celebrate 99 years and not wait until 100?
"The property across the south and east of Tobacco Road has been sold and a huge mall will be built," says Oski. "So nothing is safe to say Tobacco Road will be here next year. All we know is on 11/11/11 we will have an epic event."
If Oski's offhand comment about the possibility of the Road shutting down seems far-fetched, just consider the fact that another Brickell live music staple, Transit Lounge, which was only two blocks away from Tobacco Road, closed suddenly two weeks ago.
For many people, Tobacco Road holds a special significance. And Oski's no different. He had his first gig there in 1999. He's been booking the joint for years. And now he's helping run the show for its 99th birthday.
"I, like many of the folks in South Florida, love Tobacco Road," says Oski. "I would daydream about performing there. I would go and study bands when I was forming mine. It is so very cool that I am part of a team that runs the Road.
"I remember my first gig there on 9/9/99. [So it's] funny that the 99th anniversary is on 11/11/11."
If its 99th birthday is so special, what's in store if Tobacco Road survives till next year?
"Top Secret!" says Oski.
Tobacco Road's 99th Anniversary Party with ¡Mayday!, Araka, Sounduo, Garcia, Justincredible, and others. Tobacco Road, 626 S. Miami Ave., Miami. The party starts with a 99-cent, 99-minute Happy Hour at 6 p.m. and tickets cost $10 at Tobacco Road. Call 305-374-1198 or visit tobacco-road.com.
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