Mode, a new nightclub and music venue, injects new life into downtown Miami’s nightlife. Nightlife veteran Richard Barrenechea spoke to the Miami New Times about launching the popular new spot.

Located inside a former fallout shelter erected during the Cold War, Mode occupies one of the only basement spaces in the city. The building was home to a jazz bar called Le Chat Noir, which Mode regularly pays tribute to by hosting a weekly jazz night. The ground level features a relaxed bar with music played low enough to enjoy conversation. By contrast, the lower level features a large dance floor with local and international DJs playing house and techno until closing time at 5 a.m.

“We said, ‘You know what? There feels like an opportunity here. Why don’t we do a venue?’ So we made calls and got partners and tastemakers who have always been at the forefront in Miami,” said Barrenechea, the venue’s marketing director. He refers to The ” We ” group of prominent tastemakers in Miami, including DJ and COO of Momento Hospitality Group Anthony Mejia and founder of Club Space Louis Puig. “I’ve known Louis for over 20 years, going back to Mad Jacks in Miami Lakes,” Barrenechea recalled. “We already had a relationship. He guided us on what this project will take. He’s a big mentor who trusts us and knows we care about the music scene.”

The music is Mode’s primary focus. Barrenechea feels the venue is starting a movement by booking local artists, bands, and DJs. We believe we can operate this venue without bringing in $20,000 talent,” he said. “We can do it with people who can just play good music and give everyone a chance.” 

adqj K1mz9JBYgEtsJWOMWjFLuU5Eo0N1lWEZikzGChUqpEXIoFyLlTqCZpAeoeUTqwPqLU65R f7GiR2Awapi7CcA0zp32KsX639xipIcjfcvy88 7j3TdLkKSi0NY67k54Nng8D4izZGTahD6II8Y

This ethos extends to preserving Le Chat Noir’s legacy. “Le Chat Noir felt like a movement back then,” said Barrenechea. Mode’s weekly jazz night helps keep the jazz movement in Miami alive while bringing in a different crowd on Tuesday nights. “We’ve had four weeks of jazz nights already, and Jennifer Torna from WDNA has been helping us book jazz talent in her spare time and has been killing it,” praised Barrenechea. “The music is beautiful, and the room and its acoustics resonate so well. This week, we’re bringing it downstairs to give it a real feel.”

Hosting live music nights is essential to Mode’s success. The venue is unique for having live music in Miami, where DJs rule the club scene. “We want to bring music so far ahead that it is opening the minds of what music is and building trust with the people who can say, ‘I don’t know this act, but I know these guys will blow my mind,'” Barrenechea commented. In addition to the weekly jazz nights, the team is also considering booking acoustic rock and punk nights.

Venues like Le Chat Noir, Churchill’s Pub, and Tobacco Road that are no longer standing inspired the team at Mode to resurrect the live venue in Miami. Barrenechea said, “There are jazz nights at other venues, but no one is really saying, ‘We are a live music venue.’ So we definitely want to start leaning that way and bring more live nights to Miami.”