Railroad Blues Opening in Downtown Miami: "There's Not Gonna Be Any Shit Music"
Every serious music lover dreams of opening a live-music bar.
The chance to program and design your own venue, every week, six days out of seven, is the life. Sure, it can be tough, but fellow fans will recognize the quality and appreciate your vision.
That's what Steam Miami owner Russ Bruce is betting on with Railroad Blues, a new NE 14th Street speakeasy-style venue and drinking spot, celebrating its no-charge soft opening this weekend.
C'mon, the first one is always free.
Bruce has spent his entire life chasing the best music across the country. In the 6th grade, he fell in love to Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band's Night Moves. He cock-rocked with the best of them as a teen. And he lived in Seattle during the '90s. As he aged, he found himself drawn to the blues, seeking out jukes and dive on his many travels.
"I've always looked up where's the blues bar, because that seems to be the place to find the best music," Bruce says. "But Miami doesn't have one. If we're gonna be a real city, I think Miami needs a good blues bar."
Railroad Blues will take up residence at 30 NE 14th Street, the space formerly occupied by PS14, OHWOW's Bar, and ex-Vagabond owner Carmel Ophir's Barfly. It is also in the same building as Steam, which inhabits The Vagabond's old location.
To program the music, Bruce has enlisted the help of talent buyer Eric Garcia, a man with tons of booking experience at beloved venues like The Stage and Tobacco Road.
"The one thing Russ is insistent upon is that anything we have up there will be high quality, there's not gonna be any shit music on the stage," Garcia says, though he admits it can't be all blues all the time.
"He wants live music six nights out of the week. Even if we wanted to, there's not enough traditional blues bands to go around."
So there will also be rock 'n' roll, R&B, rockabilly -- anything as long as it's founded in the blues tradition and meets the "not shit" standard.