Written by Josue Santiago Thursday, 03 June 2010 00:00
It's very rare in today's world of instant pleasures and “what's new” attitude to see anything last too long or be as impactful as it used to be in the “good old days.” Technologies, movies, cars and even careers and relationships aren't seeing too much longevity these days. Nightlife is no exception and for owners and managers in the industry, they always face the challenge of how to keep things fresh and exciting while maintaining their original vision or concept. Twist on South Beach is a shining example of that. Soon, they will be celebrating 17 years of providing quality nightlife in South Florida and that is quite a feat! They also remain ever dedicated to the Latino community with Bar Five, a space that offers a rich Latin experience seven days a week.
Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Joel Stedman, Marco Perez and Aquiles Oraa of Twist to discuss some of their past, present and future.
Twist is one of the oldest gay establishments in South Beach and probably helped set the precedent for gay multi-room entertainment in South Florida. To what do you attribute its longevity?
Joel: Well for one who likes to bar hop, whenever Richard and I had a chance to add more space or create different environments within existing space, we jumped at it. I never like to stay in one bar for too long so Twist's design makes it easy to feel like you have been in several different bars all within the same space. We always wanted to create a friendly bar with a lot of variety. I think over the years people have enjoyed a sense of comfort at Twist and that this has really been the driving force in keeping us successful. Oh, and never having a cover sure helps! Today the crowd loves a wide variety of dance music and we have tried hard to cover all the bases.
How many bars or rooms does Twist have in total?
J: We have seven different bars with three dance floors, all playing different music with different entertainment options in each room. Our largest dance room features world class DJs spinning house music on weekends and pop during the week. Other bars feature male dancers, both English and Spanish language karaoke, current video hits and of course our very popular Latin room, Bar 5. This room has really become a big part of Twist and thanks to Adora, Marco and Aquiles, this place is packed several nights a week. So, the parties and good times are endless at Twist.
Bar Five is Twist's exclusive Latino room seven days a week. This is very uncommon for many venues. How did it get started?
Aquiles: It all started a little over two years ago with the intension of pleasing our Latin community and so we launched one night a week called Sabroso. Eventually that grew and Bar Five was transformed into the Latin room seven nights a week. With a lot of effort, good PR and consistency, it became what it is today. We plan for that to continue for years to come by bringing new ideas to the table and keep on spicing it up!
Why is it important for Twist to have a room that exclusively serves the Latino community seven days a week?
A: Twist is very well known for having different rooms to please different music tastes and cultures. All we were missing was a Latin room to be able to please our considerably large Latin community, especially after they have been so supportive of this establishment.
What type of music and entertainment can we expect in Bar Five?
A: Be prepared to hear your favorite Latin beats from classics to the latest's tunes, amazing performances by our most popular and talented performers and guests, and last but not least, Latin karaoke hosted by Marco Perez and friendly and sexy bartenders behind the bar serving your favorite cocktails.
Mondays are especially fun at Bar Five with Spanish Karaoke. How did that concept come about and has Twist been witness to the next "Idol"?
Marco: We started Latin Karaoke because we know we have a lot of talent in South Florida. On Mondays, we have Latin music playing all night. Around midnight, people start singing and the fun continues until 5am. We have drink specials all night and offer a VIP bottle for the best talent of the night. I don't know if we have found the next idol, but it is very impressive how so many of our regulars really can sing. Many do it for fun, but a great number take it quite serious and truly entertain the crowds. Eventually, we would like to have an annual contest where we take the winners from the past year and find the overall best voice, truly bringing the Latin karaoke full circle.
What is your weekly lineup?
M: Well, obviously on Monday we have Arrasando Latin Karaoke, Tuesdays is the Amateur Strip Contest with Pussila, Wednesdays is the Sean Brady Show with more karaoke and entertainment, Thursdays is Sabroso with Adora, all seven bars are absolutely packed on Fridays and Saturdays, and finally on Sundays, we have the Retro Ball.
What are some of the charitable organizations that Twist has supported?
J: We have been involved in virtually every White Party and Care Resource event since the late 80's, handed out water and participated in every AIDS Walk, and now are looking forward to helping make Miami Beach Pride continue to be the tremendous success it has become in just two short years. Our staff, including Nathan Smith, has been behind many Twist sponsored relief efforts for Katrina, the tsunami and the recent disaster in Haiti.
Looking back, what are some memorable moments for Twist?
J: Well to see this little doctor's office space born in the era of mega clubs become a big part of South Beach nightlife itself has been really quite a journey. The celebrities have been fun over the years but it really is about all the new friends that have been made, hearing the great experiences that tourists write back to us about and creating an environment day in and day out that gay people like to call home. I think that really is the greatest reward.
Moving forward, what's next for Twist?
J: Our next big event is Twist's 17th Anniversary coming up Wednesday, June 30th. As we do every year, we will celebrate with complimentary cocktails from 7pm to 9pm for our loyal patrons. Twist will be completely freshened up with some new surprises presented at the anniversary party. Adora, Aquiles and Marco make a great team and Bar Five will continue it's very successful Latin format, playing the classics of salsa and meringue, all the way to the very latest in Latin music. And always remember, never a cover, always a groove!