The concept of DJ-meets-Food
In 2013, the concept was novel. Never before had I danced so heavily under the same roof offering a sit-down breakfast.
The setting was highly unlikely as I was approaching the end of a 36-hour dance marathon on the Groove Cruise. And despite the great tunes of the Cocodrills that sunrise morning, I desperately needed food. Perhaps the genius unfolded when I saw someone else lead the way. But I was so fortunate to grab my waffles, bacon, and syrup with a glass of orange juice and come right back outside, to happily dance in my seat and shake my head, while not having to leave what my ears wanted to listen to.
I was having a readily available meal still in the range of great sound. And I’m not talking hunched over by a rope or a pole, on the other side of the venue, scarfing down a hamburger or falafel. It was a proper sit-down meal with silverware and dining table, adjacent to the dance floor. I had always had to sacrifice sounds for something delicious, but this wasn’t the case. I listened, and I tasted. I relaxed. It was sensory overload I had never experienced before.
No wonder the concept’s taken off.
In Miami, 1-800-Lucky is the truest form of this ambiance as you can have a sit-down meal next to a proper dance floor where neither sound or accessibility is compromised. You can pop-in or you can pop-out.
It took over five years for this concept to manifest locally from that fateful morning on deck when the Under the Radar parties began at 1-800-Lucky last April. And despite the party being less than a year old now, it would be hard to identify Miami’s dance culture without Lucky operating each and every weekend. It’s become a rite of passage, a safe-haven, a go-to, to anyone hungry, for music or for food.
We have warmly welcomed, and perhaps may even be migrating towards this dynamic of food-meets-listening pleasure. But what does that mean for our club culture?
Well, if it wasn’t cut-throat before, competition is certainly fierce now. A club charges money upfront, usually without re-entry, whereas an eating establishment removes that initial barrier of cost. It allows patrons to flow freely in and out, giving patrons autonomy over the time and money they dedicate to a given place.
Clubs are modern-day monogamy.
They are an investment. And like monogamy, clubs offer an intimacy that is hard to find elsewhere. It’s attraction of like-meets-like. Both attendees have offered up their autonomy, their freedom, to conduct themselves in the confines of said-establishment. It’s a community of the devoted. To the DJ, to the club, to each other. There is no room to threesome with food or other less passionate patrons.
But what is also happening with our club culture? The novelty of a club used to be that an outsider had no idea what was going on inside. The curiosity was almost painful. What is going on in there? Well, social media has changed the game. On any Sunday morning, you can check the Location stories of various venues and see if what you missed on was all that special. So you may convince yourself to save a dollar or a hundred and just watch clips the morning after.
I recently spent a Sunday afternoon with Ivano Bellini, and he remarked how the two things you used to go to a club for, music and to hook-up, you can now do from the privacy from your bedroom. (Thanks to the Smartphone.)
So what is drawing people out? Well, we all still have to eat, we all still need human-to-human interaction, and we all still love music. So a winning combination seems to provide an element of each of these. Thus, we see the burgeoning of venues, be it lounges, restaurants, or food courts, hosting top-notch DJs alongside delectable food.
What are some of the venues I’m speaking of? Well, just featured in my latest interview with Patrick M is Chotto Matte, a restaurant/lounge off Lincoln Road owned by UK underground DJ William Noble, where music is an important component of the experience. STK, Komodo, and Villa Azur are other party locations known to provide food as well as DJs, but without a proper dance floor. (And sometimes stick with Top 40 music, bleck.)
It seems like rooftop lounges in Wynwood have the setup with space to dance, such as No. 3 Social and the newer Astra, but a dance phenomena has yet to ensue in these locations. It seems the only place to really get you sweating to the beats is 1-800-Lucky. And I believe it won’t be long before another establishment tries to compete.
Do I think clubs will go away altogether? No, like I said, there’s a special bond made in the club-going experience. That alone will keep clubs in business. People will pay to be united with their kind, to share in something that’s not-to-be-repeated.
Clubs also pay homage most significantly to the music (ok, not all clubs do this.) It is important having a space where music is the single most important aspect. Not the light show spectacle or the taste of the foie gras. So a club can achieve this. Sometimes all it takes is a dark room and a good soundsystem to make a night “the-best-night-ever. “
That being said, what could be improved upon? I would love to see a venue open up at 7am and take the Space crowd to a type of 1-800-Lucky establishment, but serving breakfast (tying in with my first experience of DJ-meets-food), and having the party continue in a cleaner, more modern establishment. That would be magnificent, to watch the sunrise in that capacity. Maybe incorporate a water element? A misting area? I may be getting crazy here, but there’s so much opportunity in how we can incorporate music and food in our 24/7-Miami-lifestyle culture. It’s our responsibility to push the limits with our music scene. So what will we create next? Can you help create something new? If not, how will you support (with your pocketbook) the venues you want to see thrive?
That being said, 1-800-Lucky doesn’t miss a beat. Sunday night they will host Patrick M for the first time. Let’s keep showing our support. And if you missed it, check my interview with Patrick M, and get to know a little bit of our home-grown talent! (Well, home-grown, enough 😉 ) See you on the dance floor!