"I started the club on a wing and a prayer with no bar experience at all," Rob Stannard says of the beginnings of now-legendary Fort Lauderdale rockabilly watering hole Monterey Club. Though it shuttered its doors on New Year's Eve in 2011, its spirit powers on, and by the end of the month, the music and party will too with the Return of the Monterey Club.
The place is "back from the dead" with a grand reopening on January 18 in its old spot. "It was a labor of love for me," Stannard says, "and the friends I made in the three years I owned the MC made it all worth it." But, he adds, "As a new club owner, I made many mistakes."
Though those missteps led the place to close, Stannard continued to promote and put on shows in Fort Lauderdale. He still wanted a place to showcase local and national acts, playing original rockabilly, psychobilly, punk, metal, roots, bluegrass, emo, just about everything. He was working with Mickey's in Pompano until it shut down four months ago, leaving a gap in venues for local acts to perform.
But now, with the support of friends and a stroke of luck, Monterey Club will offer a stage for live music. "While all of this was going on, I would always get messages from different friends telling how much they missed the Monterey Club. Call it fate, call it coincidence, call it whatever. I was looking around for a venue to host shows, and my friend Jackson Valiente and I ran into each other. Jack owns Kreepy Tiki Tattoos and the room that used to be the MC. He had tried a few things, and he wasn't happy with the results. We spoke for a few days, and I agreed to reopen the MC, a decision I am very happy about."
With that settled, a variety of preshows has already been announced, but the official opening party will include Surfer Pig, Jolly Badfellow, Vice City Rockers, and Knife Fight. When asked why he chose these bands to bring the place back from the grave, Stannard says, "The answer is friendship, really. The guys in those bands were always at the MC. They all supported it from the beginning. I respect that, and I respect them."
Return of the Monterey Club. With Surfer Pig, Jolly Badfellow, Vice City Rockers, and Knife Fight. 9 p.m. Saturday, January 18, at the Monterey Club, 2608 S. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Entrance is $5. Visit myspace.com/montereyclub.