Monday, April 15, 2013

Miami Beach glitzy night out for two for $20 - 1950s

Recent photo of Fountainebleau and
Eden Roc

By Jane Feehan 

Miami Beach reigned as one of the most glamorous winter playground resort cities in the U.S. during the 1950s and 60s. Big-name entertainers headlined shows at the Fountainebleau, Americana, Deauville hotels and many others on the tourist-packed barrier island.

In 1956, tourists paid up to $40 a day for a room – a lot of money then for many.  And there were entertainment expenses. The Miami News reported that such expenses were not out of reach; a night on the town for two that year could be enjoyed for $20. A “Jackson” or “double saw-buck” could cover any nightclub show, including taxes, tips and car valet – and a not-so-fancy-but-satisfactory-dinner.

The Latin Quarter on Palm Island, run by Lou Walters (Barbara Walters’ father), charged $6.50 per person, during weekdays - a dollar more on weekends -  for a drink and meal. That included a two-hour show. Taxes would run about $1.40; a tip would tally up to 20 percent. Set aside 75 cents or a dollar for the valet and violĂ  a night out on the town (dancing, too) for about $20. Other places were cheaper.

The Godfrey Lounge at the Vagabonds Club, where Woody Woodbury headlined before his Fort Lauderdale days, charged $5.75 for a drink and dinner for one. For those not interested in dinner, the Fountainebleau charged a $7.00 or two-drink minimum per person. The Sans Souci asked for a $2.50 or $3.50 drink minimum.  

And, there were many clubs and other venues that required no minimum to see a top-notch show. A long roster of entertainers included Milton Berle, Donald O’Connor, Myron Cohen, Joe E. Brown and Cyd Charisse. Those were the days ... that ended.

Miami News, Jan. 22, 1956


Tags: Miami Beach during the 1950s, Miami Beach history, Florida film researcher,  historical researcher

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