Live from Calle Ocho

Anika Burgess

Is Little Havana's Hoy Como Ayer the city's last great Latin music club?

Musically speaking, Miami is a bit of a paradox: Latin rhythms infuse so much of daily life, yet venues featuring live bands are woefully scarce. “For me,” says local branding executive and musician Bruce Turkel, “the best place to hear Latin music is when someone in my [Cuban] wife’s family gets married and they have a band.” With several storied spots closing in recent months—including The Vagabond, Van Dyke Café and the soon-to-be-shuttered Tobacco Road—the city’s last great Latin music club is Little Havana’s Hoy Como Ayer, on Calle Ocho (Eighth Street). The place made a cameo this year in Jon Favreau’s Miami-set film Chef, putting off a Buena Vista Social Club vibe that is harder to find than outsiders might expect. Its name—translating to “Today Like Yesterday”—defines the mix of tradition and experimentation you’ll hear inside.

On a recent Thursday, Andrew Yeomanson, aka DJ Le Spam, and the Spam AllStars, one of the joint’s regular acts, took the stage with a trademark combination of horns and salsa beats over an electronic backbone. Couples bumped and wove through small, candlelit tables to get to the dance floor, their spontaneity matching the band’s. It was well past midnight: As with Miami, it may feel like yesterday, but it’s already tomorrow. At 2212 SW Eighth St.; 305-541-2631; hoycomoayer.us.