16 January 2012

Van Dyke Café, Lincoln Road, South Beach - Live Music: Jazz, Blues, Rock, R&B, Salsa

Van Dyke Café, Lincoln Road, South Beach, Miami-Dade, live music, jazz, blues, funk, rock, R&B, salsa
Van Dyke Café, South Beach
During the day the Van Dyke Café, on Lincoln Road, South Beach, seems like just another touristy bar-restaurant, although a really nice-looking one, in a tall building covered with ivy.

But at night there's a surprising range of live music, including jazz, blues, rock, funk, soul, R&B and salsa.

Imported Beers & Sam Adams
The Van Dyke Café has a modest selection imported beers such as Löwenbräu, Erdinger Weissbräu, Grolsch, Moretti, Peroni and Newcastle Brown Ale, plus the American Samuel Adams, which is almost a microbrew, although purist beer-drinkers would consider it a craft beer.

Drinks prices are reasonable considering the prime location, although I rarely drink there, preferring Zeke's, just along Lincoln Road which has a huge selection of beers, all for $4.

Music Seven Nights a Week
There is music seven nights a week at the Van Dyke Café till 1 am, with a cover charge of $5, or $7 at weekends. I'd rather pay a modest cover than inflated prices for drinks.

A leaflet listing the groups performing says that the upstairs music lounge opens at 7.30 pm, but that's too early to arrive. About 9 pm would be a reasonable time, or 15 minutes earlier if you want a good seat.

Don't Arrive Too Late
The room isn't very big and sometimes fills up quickly, leaving a line of people waiting for seats, so you need to strike a balance between arriving too early and having to wait for the music to start, and being too late and not getting in.

Music on TV in Downstairs Bar
If there's no room upstairs the groups are shown on a television in the downstairs bar.

Live Streaming in the Internet
Performances are also streamed live in the Internet, which is a good way to get a taste of the variety of bands appearing at the Van Dyke Café.

Video archives show a variety of groups which have performed at the Van Dyke, although the quality is erratic. If one link doesn't play, try another.

I don't like their website, which is confusing and full of those irritating animations which slow down loading – yet another site produced by designers try to show off how much they know, rather than making it easy and quick to access – but it's worth persisting for the content.

Groups Appearing at Van Dyke
Here are a few of the groups, bands and singers appearing at Van Dyke in just one month:
  • Iko-Ikoblues and acoustic funk
  • The Jeannette Romeu Jazz Trio
  • Diane Wardrock vocalist and songwriter
  • Sammy Figeroa and the Latin Jazz Explosion
  • Ever So Kleverrockabilly, ska, jazz
  • OrienteAfro-Cuban fusion
  • Rose Max and RamatisBrazilian samba
  • Bobby StringerMotown and R&B

Music Aficionados
So although the Van Dyke Café may be one of Lincoln Road's many tourist traps during the day, its upstairs lounge is the haunt of music aficionados at night.

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