Surrey’s newest live-music hangout is located at the long-established Turf Hotel, near Pattullo Bridge.
Mojitos Pub opened Sept. 18 with a “Latin Independence Concert” featuring the band Sonora Dinamita. Days before the big night, all of the $35 tickets were sold to a “dress to impress” crowd.
The new-look venue is operated by Carlos Martinez, drummer with the 13-piece band Orquesta Tropicana.
Renovations were done over the past three months, to the tune of around $30,000, Martinez says.
“We changed everything, put new insulation on the ceiling for the hotel, changed it brick by brick,” he said with a laugh, pointing to a faux brick wall.
“We changed the stage, which is nice and high for the musicians,” Martinez added. “Wednesdays, we’re going to do classic rock with live bands. We’ll go for that after awhile. So it’s Latino nights Saturday – ‘Taki Taki Saturdays’ – and then Friday we’re doing Mexican night – that’s a different, too. Latin is more salsa, meringue, more of those rhythms, and Mexican is more mariachi – you sing along with the songs, right.”
With dancing currently not allowed in B.C. due to pandemic-triggered health orders, there are better times to open a cabaret focused on a style of music that makes people move.
“But that’s OK because people are allowed to move in their own area, and we’re following the rules, right,” Martinez underlined. “This music is all about dancing, you want to get loose, so hopefully we can do that soon. As Latinos, bro, no matter what, we’ve moving to the music.”
The venue was previously called Strumms ’N’ Drums, where Martinez hosted Latino-music nights before COVID killed the party but allowed time for renovations and re-branding.
“Mojitos, that’s what you drink when you go to Cuba and those places, right,” the Burnaby resident confirmed. “I’m from Chile but I’ve been to Cuba and Mexico, and that’s the first thing everybody asks – where’s a Mojito? We have that right here.”
Venue capacity is around 200, he said.
“We’re pretty proud of what we’ve accomplished so far,” Martinez added. “I don’t know if you came here before but the parking lot, it was all dark and no signs outside, so we put in lights and made everything nice, the lines for the parking (stalls). And we painted the whole club like a Mojito look, lime green.”