(Photos by Cayla Nimmo)
If you went to Tobacco Road in Brickell on Saturday and weren’t armed with giant scuba goggles or a mask, you ran the risk of being splattered by a flying tomato.
Hundreds of people gathered at Miami’s oldest bar for two very crucial things: an open bar of draft brew and permission to chuck 20,000 pounds worth of left-over tomatoes at just about anybody around them.
“It was chaos. Just pure chaos,” junior Chelsea Gobes said. “We wore masks, but within two minutes still couldn’t seen anything because there was tomato sludge covering the lenses.”
Held right in the middle of the Road’s parking lot, the tomatoes were separated into piles around the designated “food fight” boundary so that participants could position themselves strategically and have fair game to a worthy amount of battle veggies.
The idea comes from an annual tradition in Spain named “La Tomatina,” during which locals throw tomatoes at each other in the middle of the streets, just for fun.
“My memories are being worn in the form of a bruised jaw and rib,” junior Kelly Smith said. “But in all seriousness, I am really glad I went. I love living in Miami just for events like this that we’d never have up north.”
Anybody 21 and up had the option to either spend $20 for a wristband that guaranteed unlimited free beer until 4 p.m. and admission to the Tomato Smash, or to pay per beer at the outdoor bars positioned in every corner of the dive bar’s back lot.
Tossing a few bucks at the guy on the barbecue got you a hot dog within minutes. The South Beach Food & Wine Festival couldn’t stop these tomato warriors from having as much fun in the sun.
The event was not only fun, but also a good way to relax.
“Do you ever get stressed?” asked Sean Murphy, 23, covered with ruby juice stains and seeds from head to toe just minutes after his participation in the hour long tomato fight. “I know I do, and that was the best stress relief of my life.”
Tobacco Road celebrated its 100th anniversary last November, but is cooler than your average 100-year-old anything. Events as randomly celebratory and wild as the Tomato Smash happen all the time. They have food or drink specials every day of the week, including a “Friday’s Famous” happy hour with dollar food items, $2 drinks and live music all night long. It’s a spot for socializing, jamming out and having a good time in a crowd comfortably sporting all ages.
If you missed the opportunity to get tomatoes chucked at your head, don’t fret because Tobacco Road always has a full list of events on their outdoor patio for anybody to get their drink and dance on at.
The next big fiesta will be the 15th annual Medical Marijuana benefit concert next Saturday from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. It will be the same deal, but way more music and fewer tomatoes.
If you can’t make it, you could check out the bar on any other day of your choice and experience a live band or DJ with daily specials so impressively cheap that they’ll become addicting. There’s 25-cent wings on Sundays. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.
IF YOU GO
Where: Tobacco Road, 626 S. Miami Ave., Miami
For more information visit tobacco-road.com.