No. 1 is its mere existence. If it’s been a while since your last visit to South Miami Avenue, you may be surprised to find the Road bracketed by high-rise condos and bank towers. More ominous are the empty spaces, including one directly across the street where pile drivers prepare the foundation for something massive.
Behind the main door, however, it’s what you remember, in all its tattered, dark and deep-fried grandeur.
Dudes in knit caps mingle at midnight with office stiffs still stuck in white shirt and tie, as tattooed party girls flit from first floor to second.
The wood-plank, Capone-era walls are still covered in yellowing write-ups of John Lee Hooker and Mose Allison, as well as the years of crispy chicken grease.
The soundtrack is still B.S.-free, a recent night including the Allmans’ “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More,” Curtis Mayfield’s “Pusherman” and Beck’s “Where It’s At.”
And the outdoor deck, under a welcoming embrace of trees (more nostalgia), remains the definition of laid-back South Florida beer-drinking, urban edition.
All this is worth a toast on Saturday and would be tragic to lose to the Brickell-ization of this sliver of downtown Miami.
IF YOU GO
Tobacco Road, 626 S. Miami Ave, celebrates its 100th anniversary on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. Performers include Locos por Juana, Spam Allstars, Heavy Pets, Iko-Iko and Big Sam’s Funky Nation. Tickets: $10 ($75 VIP open bar) at BrownPaperTickets.com. More info: Tobacco-Road.com, 305-374-1198.