(Press play before you read.)
I took my dad to Fox’s Sherron Inn this Father’s Day. It was 5:30 p.m. and the South Miami restaurant was dark, as usual, and cool. It was also empty. It felt like time paused and something erased all the other people in the world. Where did everyone go?
It’s almost the same as when I was growing up. The bar’s now larger, there’s a front patio instead of a curb to sit on, the back rooms are “nicer,” and that ceramic fox is gone. Remember the fox someone stole? I think I know who did it.
I read on Matthew Andrews’ Facebook earlier that this, one the oldest running establishments in town, is closing at the end of this month and the building will be torn down. His family owned it for decades. Remember when he was always there, and, dude, we were all always there. It was like being a kid and your cousins are kids and you all buzz around your grandparents’ house. And then you get to high school and you only stop in now and again. And then your grandparents die, and you can’t ever go back. We’re at that moment.
The best thing about Fox’s was always Patsy Cline on the juke box. Then the 2-4-1 happy hour special that got you so stupid drunk, you ended up crying to “Crazy” and playing it back to back. Then there were the conversations with the old regulars. Boat guys. One was my favorite. He lived with his mom, wore polos with shorts. He was in his 50s, and he liked to talk music. And that airplane painting on the wall — it’s unbeatable. It makes me feel like it’s OK to love where you’re at but also dream about being on your way to someplace different.
My brother and I waited out a hurricane there — Wilma or Katrina. We really did. We have a tradition, whenever we’re in town for the holidays, we go there after or before midnight mass. Fox’s was better than home on Christmas.
Remember Alice, the waitress with the red hair? Once when I was about 19 (truth be told), I went there drinking with my Banana Republic coworkers and got sloppy. When I came out of the bathroom, she had a red purse on her shoulder walking with a swagger in front of me, all obvious. I was so drunk, I said, “Hey! I have that same purse!” She couldn’t believe how dumb I was.
You can’t rewind to those Tuesday nights when we packed the place with smoke and laughter, but wouldn’t it be fun to try?
My friends that I still know today without actually knowing them anymore are the ones I spent all my time with at Fox’s. We all grew up on its back steps. God, those days were amazing. Even then, in the messiness of my twenties, I always knew they were the best days of my social life. I used to see my exes there with other girls and my heart would burst in my chest. I would talk about God and boys and girls and God again. I would make out with people I wasn’t supposed to. I’d break up fights and start other fights. I shared so many hugs and tears and secrets between those walls, no one would believe me if I told them how many.
Miami was amazing back then. So young and open and curious. It played with us and let us play with each other. We climbed on Fox’s like a jungle gym. We stuck the carafes — the ones the martinis and wine overflow into — deep in our purses so we could have a bit of Fox’s at home.
The idea that someone would bulldoze one of the oldest and most beautiful womblike savehavens in any city is just heartbreaking. Once those walls crumble, there will be almost nothing left of Miami that is sacred or familiar to me. South Miami always seemed to be beyond the hand of time. Those old weird white people, I thought, secured wonderful gems like Fox’s so that I would have some bit of my history to show my niece one day. Who the hell wants to show off Sunset Place? It might as well be in Orlando. But I guess those old weird white people died too.
Fox’s has always been a church of permanent nighttime, but the congregation has dispersed and is largely planted under the earth. And now the developers are moving in, ready to bury it with them. Eater is reporting that they’re going to knock it down to build a hotel. Shoot me.
If this year has taught me anything, it’s that life is short and everything and everyone you love is very impermanent. I want to say to all of you assholes that I spent time with at Fox’s (you know who you are), I appreciate you and our time we spent there together.
There’s no other way to say goodbye to Fox’s than with some Patsy— two classic girls that’ll never be forgotten or unloved.
Share your Fox’s memories below, please!