Miami's New and Old Punk Havens Fight for Survival

Miami’s New and Old Punk Havens Fight for Survival

If you’re not from the Miami-Dade County It doesn’t appear to be an area with a bustling punk scene. One of the only references to Miami in punk tunes comes from the band Against Me!’s “Miami.” The song isn’t exactly a good one for the city’s tourist attractions with lines like “The city is dull and exaggerated, the food is turning, and the water is poisoned.” Maybe it’s because they call Gainesville, Florida-a North Florida city-their home and there’s a certain rivalry taking place. But, Miami isn’t all Pitbull, Heat basketball, and bottles-there’s an historic punk scene in the city that’s determined to overcome the challenges.

Churchill’s Pub in Little Haiti, is a legendary spot that has existed since 1979. It was home to Iggy Pop as well as Social Distortion as well as New Found Glory, Toxic Holocaust and New Found Glory. Churchill’s was at risk of being evicted, just like other music and bar venues during the pandemic. The risk didn’t have to be about the pub.

In August of 2020, punk regulars were astonished when a notice was posted at Churchill’s front door, requesting $92,838.03 in rent due. The owner Mallory Kauderer and Franklin Dale, the tenant in operations who were both engaged in a dispute regarding who owned the pub as well as the trademark. It turns out that Dale was in breach of the lease, owed rent, losing insurance, among other things. It caused Kauderer to remove Dale and his company so Churchill’s can remain open.

It was a messy situation that should have been kept secret, but eventually settled. Churchill’s Pub was forced to take on a lot of work to pay the debts left by Dale for more than a year, regain their liquor license, and fight Dale’s case. The bar continues to rock and is preparing for its 43rd birthday.

Some companies are able to stay afloat despite all the difficulties. Some businesses were not so fortunate, however punk rock has always found ways to be successful. This is the case with The Boombox, an underground punk scene that operates on a dime. Their Instagram is active but their business is listed as closed on Yelp. It was founded by Laszlo Kristaly and Miguel Cala. Kristaly’s cousin Ricardo “Mango”, Cano, started it at the time Kristaly was in high school.

They secured a spot in the year 2019 that they put a lot of effort into. The walls were all covered in graffiti, and they held events that included other genres of music which were also accepted. It was ill-timed for the group, since the outbreak forced them to stop and adjust. They got a special event permit for every event and will reveal the secret location when partygoers buy a ticket. The owners want to obtain a license for nightclubs to allow the business to operate regularly.

The Boombox owners are trying to revive a scene that started as a social gathering for suburban high school students , and has grown into a shady punk operation.

“The Boombox is a place where stars come to life. Many those who first started playing with us are currently playing Space regularly. It’s fantastic to see them reach the other side.

Two very different generations of punk can be found in Churchill’s Pub or The Boombox. One that has succeeded and endured , while the other is on the verge of paving its own way by any means necessary. It’s an indication of their dedication and their ability to build a sense of community. It reflects the genre in a manner: to persevere, regardless of the circumstances.

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