North Beach is a wildly underrated neighborhood filled with wonderful little “secrets” — from fantabulous restaurants, to quirky bars, and one of the city’s best beaches. What few people outside the ‘hood’s residents know is that The North Beach Bandshell is an entertainment gem in an area that most people disregard as a largely residential — not so much cultural — enclave.
Along with O Cinema, The Bandshell has brought a taste of arts and entertainment to North Beach. Styled in a retro, MiMo design (the bandshell was built in 1961), the venue is part of the North Shore Historic District, a region which has begun to feel pretty darn vital in recent months.
The Bandshell plays host to live entertainment during the neighborhood’s weekly food truck events, and second Thursday’s have morphed into “Dance Band Night.”
In a throwback to its history as a venue for Big Band dance parties in the 1960s, the bandshell now books samba, zydeco and other dance bands year-round on the second Thursday of the month.
Adjacent to the Bandshell lies Bandshell Park, which overlooks the sprawling promenade and beach, and where pop-up volleyball games break out on the weekends and art installations fill the space during Art Basel.
In 2014, Rhythm Foundation, a Miami Beach-based non-profit took over management of the bandshell, and I’ve gotta say, the difference has been noticeable. Most obviously, a glowing sign announces weekly and monthly events, and the line-up of entertainment has grown dependably robust.