Home Iconic bar An ode to Eddie’s Place, one of Miami’s oldest dive bars

An ode to Eddie’s Place, one of Miami’s oldest dive bars

0


Eddie’s Place isn’t your average Miami watering hole.

Located west of the Florida International University campus in Lord’s Plaza Mall on SW Eighth Street, Eddie’s shares a parking lot with a pharmacy, bakery, and dry cleaner. It doesn’t serve any food, have a fancy cocktail menu, or discount drink promotions to attract customers on weekdays.

Over the years, however, the small space has hosted several weddings and at least one funeral.

Like a magical town Cheers, patrons here are regulars in every sense of the word, returning several days a week to bask in a no-frills pub experience. As with any fancy dive bar, this is the kind of establishment where everyone knows your name – and your business too.

And this weekend, Nov. 13, the establishment will celebrate its 50th anniversary, according to owner-operator Eddie Sarussi, which would not be possible without his founding team: his parents.

In 1971, Wanda and Eddie Sarussi, Sr., founder of Sarussi Subs, opened their first partnership business. At the time, Eddie Sr. had just sold the sandwich shop and his wife was eager to open something for her.

“Everyone knows my last name these days – for a place that’s now more famous than my parents’ bar,” says Eddie Jr. New times. “But that was what they really wanted to do.”

The young couple chose an independent building in the far west of Miami-Dade. To this day, the bar continues to operate at the same location. Over the years, the Sarussi have seen the metropolitan area expand around them, including the mall where they reside.

Click to enlarge Eddie's Place Co-Founder Wanda Sarussi and Son Eddie Sarussi, Jr. - PHOTO COURTESY OF EDDIE'S PLACE

Eddie’s Place co-founder Wanda Sarussi and her son Eddie Sarussi, Jr.

Photo courtesy of Eddie’s Place

“Back then there was nothing here after the freeway – no commercial buildings, no businesses and certainly no bars,” recalls Eddie Jr., whose father died two years after the opening of the bar. “But it was my mother’s dream.”

Eddie, a 51-year-old day software developer, says he spent his childhood in one of his mother’s three Miami bars. While the others – Blue Moon and Coral Gate – are now closed, Eddie’s Place has stood the test of time.

Now, five years after Wanda’s death and almost two years after the pandemic began, Eddie is happy to see his parents’ bar remain a popular destination.

“I got involved out of necessity, and I guess I fell in love with it myself,” he says. “My mom did everything to keep this place alive for so long, I couldn’t let this legacy end. Now here we are, celebrating five decades in Miami.”

One of the few old-fashioned dive bars in the county, it’s also – no coincidence – still the place where regulars go for cheap drinks, throw darts, shoot pool and relax.

“This is always the place where everyone knows the bartender’s name, and the bartenders know their names. It’s just a great down-to-earth place where you come as you are,” says Eddie. “Nothing has changed about that, and that’s what keeps me going.”

Click to enlarge Guests shoot free pool on Sundays at Eddie's Place.  - PHOTO COURTESY OF EDDIE'S PLACE

Guests shoot free pool on Sundays at Eddie’s Place.

Photo courtesy of Eddie’s Place

He is right. Not much has changed about Eddie’s Place.

Not only does the establishment still not serve food, but a few dollars will still get you a vodka cocktail or a bottled beer. Eddie’s still sports the same U-shaped bar with a padded faux leather edge that invites you to rest your elbows for multiple laps. And, as it has been since the early 90s, it’s still open until 5 a.m. every day.

Some things, of course, have changed. Since COVID-19, the bar has officially gone non-smoking.

And the demographics are changing too. The daytime crowd has given way to a nocturnal clientele. While locals continue to be a big part of the business, people in the industry now stumble around 3 a.m. from the mall, downtown, and a nearby Flanigan.

“And there’s karaoke,” Eddie adds.

Indeed, weekly events include a rowdy late-night karaoke that starts at 10 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday evenings, during which alcohol-emboldened patrons keep guests entertained until the early hours of the morning.

There is also poker on Mondays, stand-up comedy on Wednesdays, beer pong on Thursdays, and free pool tables on Sundays.

That, and Eddie’s most popular pastime: good company chatting.

“These days, that’s what keeps me going,” Eddie days. “Eddie’s Place has always been, and still is, a really special place.”

Eddie’s place. 12606 SW Eighth St., Miami; 305-226-1421; facebook.com/eddiesplace1971. Open Monday to Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. and Thursday to Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 a.m.


LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here