Radio Pop-Up Bar: Free Pool, Cocktails, and a Real Radio Tower

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All photos by Laine Doss
Radio's specialty drinks ($10) are rotated weekly.
Show of hands, please: Who here knows that there's a giant radio tower in SoFi?

There is, and it's the reason why partners Paulo Cardoso, Philippe "Flip" Falca, and Tatanka Guerrero named their pop-up bar Radio.

Radio, which opened softly in December on South Beach (814 First Street), came about when the three friends, all veteran club promoters, decided they wanted to launch a place that was more casual and laid-back. A place where friends could have a few drinks and listen to music without velvet ropes, cover charges, or a maxed-out credit card.

Cardoso and Falca, who live in SoFi, knew about the space and made a deal for a six-month lease. All three partners then went about finding eclectic furnishings for the bar, including a mural depicting a bar scene painted on a series of skateboard decks, and a collection of antique radios.

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Radio partners (l-r) Tatanka Guerrero, Paula Cardoso, and Flip Falca roll the dice on a pop-up bar.
The result is a warm space that looks like you're in a best friend's game room -- complete with free pool table (because a friend would never charge you to play pool), antique books, a giant Jenga set, and plenty of chairs and couches to lounge on. On the weekends, a live DJ spins tunes starting at 10 p.m. and there's never a cover charge.

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Look up - that's a radio tower.
And yes, there's a giant radio tower built into the back part of the bar, with a wooden picnic table set up so you can enjoy a drink while looking up at about 600' of metal hulking over you. It's not something you can do at any other venue in South Beach, and it makes for an interesting, and slightly dizzying, view.

Mixologist Josh Holliday rotates specialty drinks weekly, which cost an attractive $10 each. The cocktails all feature classic libations with a twist. Last week's roster included a spicy Margarita with Thai chili and pineapple; a bourbon old fashioned; a lemon fizz, and a negroni with orange bitters.

Though Holliday takes pride in his cocktails, he's quick to tell us that he's just as happy serving up a beer and a shot of Jameson.

What happens when the lease expires? Cardoso told Short Order that Radio will live on, "whether it's here or somewhere else. We're not only partners, we're lifetime friends. We're here for the people."

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View of radio tower from back entrance.
Radio is open nightly from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Though the main entrance is on First Street, it's requested that you use the back entrance, which can be accessed by walking through the well-lit lot to the east of the bar, so as not to disturb the residential neighbors.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

Follow Short Order on Facebook , on Twitter @Short_Order, and Instagram @ShortOrder.

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