Black Out or Get Out: Trade Miami

Other than the hand-written sign on Washington Avenue directing patrons to “use the back entrance,” you might never realize that Trade exists. For the guys who run the party (aka the notorious LINK and Miami Rebels), there’s no need for in-your-face marketing or giant light-up marquee boards. The locals know where to find the best beats on South Beach, and word-of-mouth has proven to be a very effective means of advertising for the club’s big weekly Thursday and Friday night parties.

First-time visitors who make it to the back entrance (a small nondescript door in an alleyway on Washington and EspaƱola Way), are usually surprised when they initially cross the threshold and fall down the rabbit hole into the dark wonderland that is Trade. A startling contrast to its somewhat shady exterior, Trade on the inside is 7,500 square feet of customizable space, with a top-of-the-line lighting system and what is arguably one of the best sound systems on the beach. The last time we visited, a black-and-white cartoon of Betty Boop and friends dancing played over and over again on ornately-framed screens, eerily in-time to the thumping bass. Bartenders mix drinks at lightening speed behind their gorgeous modern bar, while a giant disco ball turns lazily overhead.

The bass is always turned up and the lights are always kept low and they wash over the space in alternating shades of red, blue and green, while the warehouse feel of the venue encourages a laid-back no-fuss ambiance. The patrons at Trade come for one thing and one thing alone: the music. In the past, LINK and Miami Rebels have brought in the likes of Maceo Plex, Kolombo, Pan-Pot, tINI, Danny Daze, Martin Buttrich and Timo Maas, not to mention having served as a host for label parties by Octobus Recordings, Visionquest and petFood (to name a few).

Besides the music, perhaps the best part about partying a Trade is the crowd. You’ll find no judgement here; no sky-scraper heels and mini-dresses and certainly no pretense of false exclusivity. In a city where most of the nightlife is centered around a superficial uber-posh ideal, its hard to come by a party that could care less what color your credit card is. Trade is one of those unique places where everyone – whether Miami local or tourist – feels welcome. Its the kind of house-party you wish you could throw with your friends, and regardless of whether you’re a newcomer or a long-time return guest, it always feels like home.

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