Everybody has a story (or many) about Twist. My best story is when I was newly out and visiting South Beach from New York a million years ago. My story is not PG enough to write in this magazine, but let’s just say it included an Argentinian ballet dancer that was in south beach on tour. I will let your imagination fill in the blanks, but let’s just say I was smiling the rest of my vacation.
After moving here I became friends with Richard and Joel and think I have only missed one anniversary party, so get your outfit together and meet me at Twist on Wednesday, June 21 for their 30th anniversary celebration.
Before this momentous anniversary, I thought it was appropriate to sit down with Joel for this exclusive Hotspots interview.
How did you get hired at Twist?
I met Richard Trainor, my future business partner and best friend shortly after moving to Florida, while interviewing for a position at Club 21 in Hallandale. Richard was the new GM, and I was looking to bartend. Richard and I went on to become fast friends and worked on several projects together beyond club 21, including club Kaos! in South Miami . But the truth is, we both really wanted to have something on the beach. Richard and partners secured a lease on a property he had spotted on Washington Avenue with a tiny handwritten “for rent” sign in the window. It was the nineties; it was South Beach; it was truly magical. This of course would become the club we all know as Twist. I helped Richard develop the original concept and had a lot of fun behind the bar.
At what point did you buy into Twist and what made you do that?
Nearly 10 years later one of the original partners was interested in selling and Richard asked me to join him in ownership. It wasn’t a difficult decision.
Everybody knows that you and Richard were like family, what did you learn from Richard about business and what are your favorite Richard stories?
Richard was a hospitality genius. He loved to go out and he was the life of every party. He is dearly missed by everyone at Twist, and we can only hope to continue his legacy. One of my favorite stories from way back in the beginning, happened while Richard was building out Twist. He was having a hard time deciding on a name for the new club. It was getting close to opening and something had to be decided. Out with a group of friends at Warsaw, I believe, doing a couple shots, dear friend Tommy Decker exclaimed, “I’m twisted!” and Richard yelled that’s it! That’s the name! And Twist was born.
Overtime nightclubs change and evolve to stay relevant. Twist has grown from 2 rooms to 7. Twist used to be known as the place to go before the clubs and after. Now, we arguably are the club. What hasn’t changed though is the energy you feel when you walk into any of the rooms. The sheer joy you see on the faces of so many. I believe we’ve maintained the hottest, yet friendliest bartenders you’ll find anywhere with world class DJ’s that can compete with anyone. We are thrilled that so many call twist home. After 3 decades there is a certain familiarity when you walk in the door. You know damn well you’re going to have a hell of a time!
You have many bartenders that have been there a long time, what’s the secret in keeping staff long term?
I think if you are fair and respectful while creating a fun environment to work in, it really isn’t work at all. Well, at least most of the time.
There have been many! The theme Partys were always the most fun! One that I loved, that will probably never be done again was our foil party. The entire club was wrapped in aluminum foil, the walls, the ceiling and even the bartenders! It was a blast, but we were removing staples for years!
There have been many celebrity sightings at Twist, what is your best celebrity story?
We have been fortunate to have our fair share of celebrities stop by over the years. Doing shots with Katy Perry, dressing in leather with Mickey Rourke or dancing with Adele, it has been truly amazing. You never really know who’s going to walk in next.
What does the future hold for Twist?
We are all thrilled that our loyal customers and Friends have allowed us to do this for so many years. Without all of you, none of this would be possible. It has been an absolute blast and there are many, many more amazing times to come.
Our 30th anniversary celebration will be held Wednesday, June 21 with an open bar and hors d’oeuvres 9-11 with lots of performances. We have a few surprises planned, so hang tight, it’s going to be an incredible ride. Cheers to 30 more years!