Life just got “simpler” again for gay bar patrons looking for a familiar alternative to the “other” hot spots on South Beach.
The Simple Life, the long-running party that made Buck15 a must-do on Thursday nights, is back at the bar’s new location at 437 Lincoln Lane. Miss Yip Chinese Cafe, which owns Buck15, has reopened on the other side at 437 Lincoln Road.
Owner Carlos Yip, 32, said the restaurant and bar lounge changed locations because rent at the previous site (three blocks west on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Lincoln Lane) was getting too expensive.
“The landlord wanted to hike the rent like 80 percent. It would be impossible to survive at that point,” said Yip, who has run the successful restaurant/bar lounge combo for the last 4-plus years. “It was a very tough decision, but we had to pack up and leave.”
Luckily for Yip, good friends and partners in the industry learned about his situation and helped him find a comparable location nearby.
The business venture has always proven profitable for Yip, who said the restaurant coupled with Buck15’s events have brought in “nice traffic and revenue.” The Simple Life, a weekly event started in 2005 by promoter Edison Farrow, 48, has played a large part in attracting that traffic and raking in the dough.
Farrow has been on the South Florida gay scene for 11 years - promoting long-running events such as Thursday’s Simple Life; Hype Fridays at Bar 721, which he launched nearly two years ago; and Martini Tuesdays, which ran for 10 years at various locations.
When Miss Yip and Buck15 decided to move, Farrow was left with two events he was promoting: Hype Fridays, which changed hands at the end of May and was renamed Heaven Fridays; and Jump Sundays at Lux on Española Way and Washington Avenue.
But then Lux shut down in April — the same week Buck15 closed to relocate — leaving Farrow almost promotion-less.
“Basically, I showed up one day and found the place [at Lux] locked up with a Sherriff’s notice on the door,” Farrow said. “I thought to myself, ‘I guess my parties are canceled.’ Buck at this point was also rebuilding at another location, so I decided to take advantage of the down time and regroup because it’s been 11 years I’ve been doing promotions. I kind of needed a break.”
During the nearly 5-month hiatus, Farrow visited his old stomping grounds in New York City. He restarted The Simple Life Thursdays at Buck15 with DJ Daisy on Aug. 25. He and Yip were happy with the turnout.
“We reopened two Thursdays ago at 10 p.m. At 11:15 p.m., we were at capacity (130) with a line at the door extending as far to Five Napkins,’ Farrow said. “So we reopened strong. Last week was a lighter turnout, but you know what? The place is still a work in progress.”
The new 1,500 square-foot space has an upstairs balcony, which has yet to open and will include a bar. Farrow said when the balcony opens and they add more decorations, it will feel like the old Buck15 again.
“Give it time,” he said.
There is never a cover charge to get in and drink prices are $5 for beers, $8 well, $9 premium and $10 specialty. Yip said the drink specials likely will return next Thursday with $5 Svedka vodka drinks from 10 p.m. to midnight. Svedka vodka bottles will be available for purchase from $120 to $165 apiece.
Other nights of the week to stop by? Open format Fridays with DJ Diaga and Fox Rock’s 80s Saturdays with DJ Jennie Fox.
Meanwhile, over at Miss Yip, the restaurant has downsized from its former 4,500 square feet space to 1,500 square feet indoors and a brand new terrace with outdoor seating. The capacity remains at its original 106 seats.
“Basically, we have the same number of seats as we did before at the old location,” Yip said. “It’s just now our customers have a choice to eat inside or out.”