By Greg Carannante
Funny thing about Boca’s new club, Jazziz Nightlife – it isn’t what it iz.
“This is not a jazz club,” says entrepreneur-impresario Michael Fagien. It is, however, a super-styled supper club and, if he has his way, the Mizner Park venue will become a South Florida mecca for sophisticated music accompanied by fine dining.
The club, which opened in April, borrows on the caché of Fagien’s national magazine, Jazziz – so yes, there will be jazz. But much more. Like, Molly Ringwald (yes, Pretty in Pink). Like, Jeff Bridges. Like Gino Vannelli, whose two pre-opening concerts in March had guests raving – among them guitar legend Al Di Meola, who Fagien says “is going around telling people that this is the best club in America.” That’s partly because the blow-you-away sound and light system brings the impact of a concert stage smack into the dining room, but it also has something to do with Fagien’s overall concept.
“We’re trying to do something that’s really never been done before,” he says. “Jazz has a relatively small audience, and we know that.” He should know – he has published Jazziz since 1983.
“So the model for the magazine and for Jazziz Nightlife has always been: How do we appeal to a much larger audience using jazz – maybe not only jazz – without cramming it down their throat and giving customers something that they say, ‘That’s really cool, I’d love to get some of that.’ ”
And that is “the wow factor,” which Fagien says he and his six partners shot for in the music, the cuisine and the ambience. Well, bullseye! The design is invitingly elegant, also embracing casual outdoor dining (the burgers and pizza – primo!), private enclaves like the Ella Room, a separate cigar and piano bar, and a distinctive champagne and caviar bar: “We are the first place in Florida,” he boasts, “with this machine that can actually dispense $500 bottles of champagne by the glass.”
Fagien, 56, also plans to book acts in an intimate theater upstairs as well as up the street at the Mizner amphitheater – and to take the Jazziz Nightlife concept national.
“We spent more money on our sound and lighting than most spend on their whole restaurant,” he says. “When Gino walked in he said, ‘My God, I can’t believe the sound coming off the stage!’ Now I have other artists calling me up, like Herbie Hancock, saying, ‘When are you gonna book me?’ I’ve got to figure out where to put them in the schedule – that’s a great problem to have.”
Jazziz Nightlife, 200 Plaza Real, Boca Raton, 561-300-0732, jazziz.com. Scheduled performances include Nicole Henry, May 9; Yellowjackets, May 22-23; Larry Carlton, May 29-30; Bobby Caldwell, June 5-6; and Kevin Eubanks, June 26-27.