The Real Deal Miami

Burger & Beer revokes South Beach franchise after gay bar opens upstairs

B&B also canceled its franchise agreements for locations at at Dolphin Mall and CityPlace in WPB
February 07, 2017 01:00PM

Burger & Beer Joint at 1776 Bay Road

Boca Raton-based Burger & Beer Joint cancelled its franchise agreement for a prominent South Beach location about three months after a gay nightclub opened upstairs, citing that the franchise owners did not go through the proper approval process to open the club.

A group of three Venezuelan investors led by Carlos Ekneiro told the Miami Herald that they received a letter from Burger & Beer that the Mix bar and lounge “could have a substantial negative impact” on the chain’s reputation. The club, which is located on the second floor of the building at 1776 Bay Road in the Sunset Harbour neighborhood of Miami Beach, also had a separate entrance than the burger restaurant, and opened after Burger & Beer closed for the night.

“Variance of any kind is injurious to the brand — no matter what kind of bar is opened. It’s not something that would have been approved,” Charles Forlidas, Burger & Beer‘s attorney, told the Miami Herald. “We know it’s South Beach. We welcome the gay community…. It’s the fact they brought in a third party.”

The franchise company also canceled its agreements with the same group of restaurateurs on two other B&B locations at Dolphin Mall and at CityPlace in West Palm Beach, again saying that they did not go through the proper approval process and were serving off-menu items.

A longtime South Beach club promoter told the newspaper that Ekneiro met with a corporate representative from B&B about opening the club, and that they were OK with it.

“It was chilling. In 2017, we shouldn’t be experiencing this. Especially in South Beach,” promoter Tony Ferro told the Herald. “Gay dollars made B&B. We’ve been there since the beginning.”  [Miami Herald] – Katherine Kallergis