Traditionally a cover for illicit activities, this former 1930’s pawn shop’s original facade now offers the perfect from for Miami’s first boutique nightclub. Intimate yet charged with nocturnal energy, Pawn Shop offers a creative playpen through an inspired “liquid” decor concept and location in downtown Miami.
Nightlife veteran Kurt VanNostrand conceived Pawn Shop, whose barbed wire and red letters screaming “We buy diamonds” face the new Performing Arts Center, as a cutting edge catalyst in the revival of downtown Miami.
While retaining the spirit of its former incarnation, Pawn Shop’s interior holds a theatrical paradise of secondhand items transformed into living art. These ever-changing vignettes may include an Airstream Trailer, a school bus, and the fuselage of a jet airplane. This evolutionary atmosphere combines a Warholian elevation of the everyday into art with a postmodern blend of new and vintage, creating a fresh collage for Miami nightlife.
Upon entering past a cover booth window with iron bars, guests are treated to a bar area dipped in white and accented with original primary-colored vaults re-purposed into a coat check and wine cellar. Eye candy includes a dramatic projection of video art and sleed poured white resin bar displaying pawn shop items illumined by fiber optic light. A further touch of surreality is added by acid-colored dentist chairs along the front foyer wall.
A full-size yellow school bus divides the purgatorial foyer from the “cabaret” area which dominated by three transportation-themed set pieces. Bathed in projection by international video artists, the bus offers an irreverent spin on the concept of a VIP area and the 60’s era psychedelic bus. Arrangements of upholstered bus seats in front offer additional accommodation, Across the room an original 727 jet fuselage anchors a sleek silver vintage Airstream trailer from the 50s, complete with a pinball machine inside. Original Dade County pine trusses above reference an artist’s loft.
“Every feature of Pawn Shop evokes a strong sense and feeling of authentic energy and history. I wanted to create a successful, interesting and thriving business to the downtown area, while contributing to the development of the neighborhood as a whole,” said Managing Partner VanNostrand, who has also worked for top hoteliers Ian Schrager (Morgan’s Bar and Skybar in Mondrian) and Andre Balazs (Mercer Kitchen).
Through its artistic concept, imaginative execution and ongoing evolution, the Pawn Shop hopes to act as a modern-day speak easy for a sophisticated clientele. Rarer still is its aspiration for both cultural viability and a high place in the pantheon of legendary nightspots.