After nearly 102 years, Tobacco Road is closing.
It's been seven months since longtime owner Patrick Gleber told Crossfade that Miami's oldest bar would soon be shuttering its doors. (The Road property was bought for $12.5 million by real estate developers in 2012.) And at the time, he said: "The landlord hasn't exactly been like, 'You're gone in one more year.'"
But now, finally, the end has come.
"It sucks," the Road's music booker Eric Garcia says. "The whole staff was broken up about it when Pat told us the news. And he was broken up about it too. Sure, we knew it was coming, but we didn't even make it to the big bash."
The Tobacco Road anniversary celebration would have gone down next month.
"So yeah, man," Garcia shrugs. "We're just gonna say goodbye with some good booze and good bands."
Tobacco Road's Last Call Closing Party
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Upstairs in the Cocktail Collection
9 p.m. The Hoovers
10 p.m. The Eclectics
11:30 p.m. The Hongs
1 a.m. The Oski Foundation
Special Guest Graham Wood Drout of Iko-Iko
Outside Parking-Lot Stage
8 p.m. Eric Vick
9 p.m. The Jay Blues Band
10 p.m. Pat De Leon, AKA Mr. Tobacco Road
11 p.m. JUke
12:30 a.m. Afrobeta
The sendoff is being planned by Garcia and promoter Oski Gonzalez. There will be hard liquor, cold beer, a gang of regulars handling the tunes, and Tobacco Road's last call, ever, at 5 a.m., just as the famous neon sign says.
To Oski, that final drink at the Road will be the absolute end of an era. "Miami is losing the last place that all kinds of people go to," he laments. "You have the state attorney hanging next to a metalhead hanging next to a blues guy hanging next to a rocker and a hippie hanging next to a stockbroker, and everyone's having a good time, and no one is judging no one. It's probably the only place in Miami that you can just be yourself and listen to some cool music for real good price. We will be losing history."
In the weeks leading up to closing time at the century-old boozing establishment and music landmark, there will be plenty of bands bidding farewell to the Road. But none of them is getting paid.
"Everybody," Garcia says, "is playing pro bono." And he's damned grateful for all the local legends and gigging musicians who've agreed to work for free.
"You know, Smurphio's a pillar of the local music scene, and he's played the Road so many times with so many bands over the years, from Suénalo to Beatmachines. So it's gonna be so good to have him and Afrobeta take us out.
"And then, like Smurphio, Pat De Leon's a Miami fixture. But he's from the old guard. He's known as Mr. Tobacco Road, and he's earned it."
Another essential figure is Mark Weiser, who will be serving as the evening's host. "He was the booker for 30 years," Oski explains. "And he, along with Graham Wood Drout and Iko Iko, made Tobacco Road famous."
As for finally coming to the end of the Road, Garcia says: "It's gonna be sad. And it's gonna be scary. But it's gonna be an awesome night."
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And Oski adds, "I will not personally leave until they kick me out."
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Tobacco Road's Last Call Closing Party. Saturday, October 25. Tobacco Road, 626 S. Miami Ave., Miami. The party starts at 8 p.m., and admission costs $10. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-374-1198, or visit tobacco-road.com.