Mother Kelly's, Miami Beach 1936
Robert Kelly, a barrel-chested entrepreneur who got his start in the nightclub business in America’s Roaring Twenties, wasn’t shy about publicizing his new nightspot in Miami Beach.
He declared Mother Kelly’s (his nickname) The Rendezvous of The Sophisticates and One of The Most Famous Bars in the World, comparing itself to Sloppy Joe’s in Havana and Harry’s Bar in Paris.
His catchphrases were Helzapoppin’ and Oh, You’re Killing me! and he autographed menus for customers. The front cover of this 1936 menu shows Kelly, dapper in elegant summer clothes and spats, holding a cocktail shaker.
It’s been claimed this was where the rum daiquiri cocktail was born. Happy hour was from quarter-to-five-to quarter-to-six when all drinks were 25c. The bar’s opening hours were described as from ‘9am Till Scrambled Eggs.’
Needless to say, Mother Kelly’s was hugely popular with the Miami crowd and the establishment was mentioned practically every week in the entertainment columns of local newspapers.
Cabaret acts from around the US came to perform here.
In 1947, Kelly retired and his three sons Bob, Stan and Gerald – all of whom had completed four years with the Armed Services during WWII, took over their Dad’s place.
Kelly’s nickname probably came about because of the song On Mother Kelly’s doorstep, first published in 1925 and made popular by crooner Randolph Sutton.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each order includes a print of the interior menu.
All printed in USA.