On Wednesday, October 20, Ball & Chain announced on social media that it would be reopening its Little Havana.
An accompanying statement from the owners made clear what had brought on the hiatus:
“After a year-long closure brought on by the City of Miami’s unlawful conduct aimed at destroying our landmark establishment, Mad Room Hospitality is pleased to announce that it expects to re-open Ball & Chain in the very near future. We look forward to full vindication in our lawsuit against the City, to prove and permanently remedy its egregious and intentional violations of our constitutionally protected rights.”
— Ball & Chain (@BallAndChainBar) October 20, 2021
The announcement comes nearly a month after Mad Room Hospitality, the company that owns Ball & Chain and Taquerias el Mexicano, filed a federal lawsuit against the city, alleging that city officials repeatedly harassed the group’s establishments and instituted ordinances aimed at undermining its businesses. The suit seeks $27.9 million.
The 66-page complaint, filed September 30, 2021, in U.S. federal court, details the group’s grievances against city administrators and commissioners, from raid-style inspections of their businesses and intentionally withholding permits for months to passing laws aimed at targeting specific businesses on Calle Ocho.
“We have been wronged by the City of Miami and those who are supposed to lead, promote, and protect us,” a Mad Room Hospitality spokesperson tells New Times. “We firmly believe in standing up for what’s right and have confidence that the courts and jury will see very clearly what has transpired. In the meantime, we’re excited to continue the revival of Calle Ocho’s nightlife when we reopen the world-famous Ball & Chain.”
New Times reached out to the City of Miami for comment about the lawsuit and will update this story with any reply.
Like all Florida hospitality businesses, Ball & Chain closed in March 2020 as the pandemic hit. The establishment reopened in early October, when restrictions lifted for nightlife venues — just weeks before the City of Miami shut it down on October 22, 2020. The order came after legislation, co-sponsored by Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo, made it easier for the city to revoke a business’ certificate of use.
Ball & Chain has remained closed since that time, a full year after city administrators said they identified more than 40 deficiencies after the club’s summer renovation, including fire-safety issues and noncompliance with requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“The city’s closure of Ball & Chain was never justified,” the Mad Room Hospitality spokesperson says. “The city decided to issue the Certificate of Use not simply because the law required it, but only because our lawsuit exposed the city’s misconduct. Either way, Ball & Chain looks forward to establishing the city’s wrongdoing and vindicating its rights in court.”
Last week, Mad Room Hospitality received word it could reopen under a temporary certificate of use and business license.
For now, Mad Room Hospitality is working to hire, train, and retrain its team for reopening. The team expects to open its doors soon, with an official announcement on social media.
When it does, expect the return of the midnight conga line, world-famous mojito, and a new signature cocktail along with “great food, incredible cocktails, and our walls to be filled with music and entertainment from open to close,” the team promises.
“Ball & Chain is so much more than a bar, restaurant, and live music venue,” the spokesperson says. “Ball & Chain is about our people, our community, and certainly its rich history. We can’t wait to salsa again on Calle Ocho.”