Maybe Anthony Bourdain loved Mac’s Club Deuce because it was like him: unapologetically itself. Or maybe he just loved the 8am to 7pm happy hour. It’s probable that both had a bit to do with it. Either way, Bourdain made one thing very, very clear during his time in Miami: he loved that bar.
“One of the last true dive bars in South Beach,” he said during an episode of the Layover. “This place never seems to change and it’s a glorious refuge for distinguished guests from all walks of life.” It was apparently the first bar he’d ever been to in Miami and he kept coming back every time since. “I hope it stays always exactly as it is now,” he said in that episode.
Bourdain came back to Miami to film an episode for season five of his most recent series, Parts Unknown and—surprise, surprise—he returned to the Deuce once again.
“There’s one place I keep coming back to,” he narrated over B-roll of the Deuce’s snake-shaped pink bar. “It’s a place where, if you look deep enough, ask the right questions, you can get a whole history of Miami from one man, Mac Klein.”
In a previous professional life, at a previous publication, I was lucky enough to interview the great Mac Klein, owner of Mac’s Club Deuce and then a stunning 100-years-old. We talked about life at his beloved bar and, on more than one occasion, he spoke so fondly of Bourdain. He was immensely grateful for the attention and effort the host took to understand this city in all its odd complexity.
So many shared that gratitude. Bourdain did for Miami what he did for cities around the world—he smashed stereotypes and preconceptions and, in the process, made us all feel a little closer to one another. His curiosity was infectious and caused us to rush our laptops, credit cards in hand, and look up flight prices.
He will be missed so much. And if you’re the type to raise a glass at an occasion like this, well, Mac’s seems like as good a place to do that today as any.
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