Tobacco Road bar closes its doors 102 years after opening

Miami's oldest bar to stop serving Oct. 25

By Carlos Suarez - Anchor/Reporter

MIAMI - It's a watering hole with history -- Miami's Tobacco Road Bar has been around for more than 100 years. But Wednesday night, the landmark bar announced it will be leaving its iconic location.

One doesn't have to walk to far in Brickell to see why it's closing -- the mega-project City Centre is going up across the street on South Miami Avenue in downtown Miami. The bar property was sold to another developer a few years ago and so Wednesday came word the inevitable was here.

Finding a new place won't be cheap, nor will saving parts of the bar. The neon sign alone will cost $5,000 to remove. The bar plans on having a party every week leading up to the final night in hopes of raising the money to move to a new location.

Little has changed since the bar opened back in 1912. The upstairs bar, once a speakeasy, is now home to a lounge that features a new twist on old-fashioned drinks. There's a bit of nostalgia here.

Early Wednesday, waiters and bartenders were told the day they long feared was finally here. Come Oct. 25, the city's oldest bar will close.

"The rumors have been circulating for years," said James Goll.

The owner had hoped to stay open until next April when the lease was up, but the reality of it all proved difficult.

"Everyone was sad," said Leo Holtsman. "No one had any idea that it was coming. We thought it might happen in the near future. We didn't know it would be this month. We're a family here. And it's been a really great experience."

The bar's longtime manager and a group of dedicated workers said they are hoping to raise enough money to keep the famed neon sign, bar tables and parts of the famed patio bar.

They've also got to secure a new location in Brickell or it'll be last call for good near the end of the month.

"We've got a lead on another space not to far from here that we plan on opening up again," Goll said.

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