We previously reported that one of Miami Beach’s biggest and most iconic nightclubs, STORY, may have to close due to a new neighborhood ordinance. Well, the party’s over. The 2 am liquor sale curfew went into effect in the South of Fifth neighborhood last weekend and, thus, STORY has closed its doors. Less than a month after Swedish House Mafia graced the decks of the club for an Ultra afterparty, the lights are out.
To recap, any businesses that had a license to serve alcohol until 5 am are now required to stop serving drinks at 2am, unless they have an occupancy of 100 or fewer people. Those venues can still serve until 5 am. This exception was a workaround restaurateur Myles Chefetz, who owns several South of Fifth businesses with 5 am licenses, helped create.
There are 11 other businesses in the neighborhood with 5 a.m. liquor licenses besides STORY. Nine have a capacity of more than 100 people, according to city records, and three establishments hold fewer than 100. STORY appears to be the only larger-capacity venue that listed operating hours past 2 am.
This was the first major piece of legislation restricting alcohol sales since 2021 when Miami Beach voters passed a referendum calling for the citywide 5 am last call to be rolled back. Commissioners admitted they wanted to damper South Beach’s nightlife scene, especially in residential areas.
In March, a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge ruled that the city of Miami Beach could impose the curfew but also granted STORY a 30-day extension, which allowed the club to stay in business temporarily.
STORY has challenged the circuit court ruling but the Third District Court of Appeal denied their request to delay the 2 am cutoff any longer. At a court hearing, the club’s attorneys provided data suggesting the club makes about 88% of its alcohol revenue between 2 and 5 am. “Story cannot live another day if this ordinance is put into effect,” attorney Sean Burstyn said.
The appeals court likely won’t rule on the challenge for another several months. In the meantime, STORY is “temporarily” closed and “exploring options,” according to their spokesman. They’re also attempting to relocate the club’s employees to its umbrella company’s other venues during the process.
STORY opened a decade ago and has seen headlining EDM acts come through like Dillon Francis, Don Diablo, Chris Lake and Steve Aoki.