A Little Havana institution is reopening its doors after shuttering with little fanfare back in June.
On August 19, the Miami Herald announced the closure of Hoy Como Ayer — the storied music club located at 2212 SW Eighth St. in the heart of Calle Ocho’s tourist district — more than a month after the venue closed. According to the Herald, the club’s owner, Fabio Díaz Vilela, was unable to secure an agreement to keep the establishment open once its 20-year lease agreement expired over the summer. The event was seen as a harbinger of closures to come in the neighborhood, with rent prices increasing for business owners as outside developers salivate to saturate the historic area with tourist attractions.
At the time, Díaz Vilela suggested he aimed to close the venue while it was still in its prime. But he also made a passing remark suggesting there “maybe” was a chance “for a new Hoy Como Ayer with another essence and particularity.”
In a statement released Tuesday, Hoy Como Ayer announced it will open its doors again at noon Sunday, October 6, after hosting a cocktail reception open to media Friday, October 4. The music club will open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon “until dawn,” according to the statement.
Yani Gil, who is tasked with administrative duties at the revamped Hoy Como Ayer, says reopening the club for a new generation was always the plan, with the club’s new owners purchasing the naming rights from Díaz Vilela. Gil says the club has been renovated with new audio, light systems, and stage; a new menu; memorabilia from the old club; and photo opp stations for guests.
The update, Gil says, is meant to better fit Hoy Como Ayer with the “vibe in the style of what’s happening in Little Havana between Tenth and 17th [avenues].” A notable competitor along that stretch is the historic Ball & Chain, which hosts live music daily indoors and outside on its famed Pineapple Stage, often for no cover. Both clubs cater to locals and tourists wanting to relive Old Havana’s pre-revolution golden age, though Hoy Como Ayer’s events have typically been pricey ticketed events.
Gil says the music club will continue to transport guests to the era of Benny Moré under new leadership, with additional tributes paid to the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz.
“Celia Cruz gave life to this music,” Gil says, lamenting that the Cuban singer doesn’t have a permanent monument dedicated to her in Miami other than her star on the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame. Hoy Como Ayer aims to change that with the installation of one of Cruz’s dresses, which is marked with the singer’s lipstick.
Hoy Como Ayer will also host its own walk of fame, which will be rolled out periodically beginning late October. The club’s “El Conuco” project will pay tribute to Cuban street art, incorporating poetry and what Gil calls “rustic Cuban sounds.”
Gil says she’s been attending shows at Hoy Como Ayer since she was around 17 years old, naming Spam Allstars among her favorite acts to see at the venue. She says her work with the revamped Hoy Como Ayer will allow her “to make an example of how one should pass along to new generations their connection to [their] roots.”
Asked how regulars of the old club should expect to feel walking through the club’s revamped space, Gil is optimistic. “For many, it’s going to be a dream realized,” she says, adding that the club took into account input from longtime patrons, including requests for a bigger dance floor. “They’re going to feel so at home that the change is going to be instant.”
Hoy Como Ayer. 2212 SW Eighth St., Miami; 786-343-2822.