You've probably read a lot about the new Wynwood bar Gramps. It's a blend of old Florida, hipster aesthetics, and the area's signature warehouse grittiness. In other words, it's perfect.
"It originates with my grandfather, Irving Miller," says owner Adam Gersten about the venue's name and feel. "But it is also symbolic of a connection to the past; the past of our city, the arc of an interesting life."
Making its debut the week of Art Basel Miami Beach with a slew of high-profile bookings and events, the real test of the Gersten's business savvy and the bar's appeal will take place in the months that follow. But Gersten is no stranger to the nightlife business. He's been booking shows at venues like Churchill's Pub for years and founded his own music label, Needless Records.
"I think that Wynwood is easy to get to for a lot of people and has potential to be a place where people can get food, drinks and shop without strolling through a mall," Gersten says about the area. "On a personal satisfaction level, I think it is exciting to be part of the community of young business owners here like my neighbors at Elemental, Panther, Lester's, Wood Tavern, etc."
On a recent visit post-Basel, Crossfade found the bar getting into its groove. DJ Benton was spinning on a Friday night and generous $8 cocktails were flowing. We also found it better lit than during our first visit the night it opened Basel week and the outdoor space finally taking shape. In other words, it's a place we can find ourselves hanging out at.
But every venue needs something to keep people coming through its doors. For Wood Tavern, it could lay claim as Wynwood's first straight-forward bar. (Unlike Electric Pickle or Cafeina, which operate as nightclubs.) So what's Gramps' angle?
"Wow, that's the question. I think trying to find our niche in a tough business is what it's about, but I have been booking stuff for a while and have a strong sense of my personal style and what really moves me. And I'm weird, but a simple guy that likes Budweiser, [the] Super Bowl, and rock 'n' roll music, [and] also electronic stuff and Glenn Branca. [In] the end, that mix, that spectrum, might keep different types of people interested in what we are presenting night to night."
Gersten adds that patrons can expect more than just bands and DJs at Gramps. He hopes to include comedy shows and lectures into the mix to add to the dynamic neighborhood.
"It is something that a lot of bars are already doing in Miami and other big cities, and something this town could use more of."
For now, Gersten says Gramps is operating in soft-opening mode, adding the are still fine tuning everything "from lighting, to sound, to menu, to pricing, to how we keep doors propped open." Miami can expect an official grand opening party in the new year, and with it will come regular weekly and monthly events, as well as general bookings.
Gramps is located at 176 NW 24th St., Miami. 786-752-6693; grampsbar.com.