It's date night in Miami and you want nothing more than to put on your dancing shoes and little red dress. Only problem is, where do you take your moves? The Answer: El Tucan. Feel as if you've stepped into a different time and place, say Cuba circa 1950s, in this theatre-like venue that's both a cabaret club and restaurant. Brought to the heart of Brickell by the same guys behind South Beach hotspot Baoli, El Tucan might only put on a show Thursday-Saturday but boy does it make every minute of showtime count.
"El Tucan came from this mystical idea of Miami being this tropical Latin music, lights, action type paradise," says creative and brand director Emilia Menocal. "Yet there was no cabaret place with a big band era feel that is also Latin." That's where she came in. Everything from the Baz Luhrmann type set and design (think crystal chandeliers, gold-framed mirrors, velvet and palm tree curtains and accents) to elaborate costumes (that take dancers from grandma to flapper in a single song) to jaw-dropping and borderline unbelievable programming (which, depending on the night might range from a six foot seven clown covering Lorde to an Adele doppelganger) is the thinking and doing of Menocal.
As for the actual performances, they're brought to life under the musical direction of Grammy winning pianist, composer, and producer Marlow Rosado. In the short time that El Tucan has been open, Cucu Diamante, Albita, and the Tropicana dancers from Cuba (who rang in 2016 at El Tucan and hadn't performed in the states in 38 years) have all taken center stage. "The fact that they would let their most legendary troop leave the island and Americans approve so quickly is a true reflection of what's going on between two countries right now," states Menocal.