How did you get the name Bacardi Ardi?
I was working as a bar manager and bartender at the
Biltmore Hotel in Coral Cables, Florida. We were hosting a
party for the Bacardi Family of the famed rum makers. I was
doing a little display, mixing flaming liquor from one glass
to another and made an impression on the two Bacardi
Brothers and owners Tito and Jose. They asked what was
the flaming liquor I used and what my name was. I told
them my name was Artie and the rum was Bacardi. Tito said
great job Bacardi Ardi and the name stuck with me by the
other bartenders who continued to call me Bacardi Ardi for
the next 3 years. When I came to New Jersey I was DJing an
outside bar and the owner said, “Do you have a nick name?”
and I said Bacardi Ardi. He said, “That’s great for an outdoor
Dj! That’s your new stage name.”
You’ve been an MC and host
to some of the most notorious
nightlife events in Jersey
history. How many years has it
been and what club stands out
the most to you?
I finished school in 1984 majoring
in marketing, promotions, and
entertainment productions. My
first real job was a promotional asstiant at Z-100. I worked there from 1985 until 1987. Later
I moved to Miami and became a bartender. One night I was
forced to fill in for a drunk MC when the owner found out I
worked for a NY radio Station. That night I was turned into
an MC and was one ever since. As far as my favorite club I
would say I really enjoyed working for Bar Anticipation now
on my 21st year. Also, Club Abyss, 8 years and Poor Billy’s
Sports Café, 14 years.
How has the club scene changed since you first began?
Back in the day the scene was a mixture or dance music
and rock bands. All the music was an open format. A little
of everything. Then around the mid 90’s it went to fewer
bands and more high energy dance. Today the scene is
mostly small lounges with hardly any bands.
How would you describe the club scene today?
Today the scene is mostly small lounges with hardly any
bands. The scene has turned in a small room of non-stop
hip hop with a few energy dance songs mixed in. The scene
mostly has changed into small eating lounges with some
dance and mostly hip hop performances. DJ’s are afraid
to mix formats or talk on the mic and bars owners are
not willing to invest in “The guest experience.” Plus legal
liability with the consumption of liquor has transformed the
dollar to be spent on food. Its hard to get a cover charge
since “the experience” is no longer there. And social media
and the use of text messaging has transformed the scene
as well. People rather text friends not in their presence
then to engage into conversations with complete strangers
standing next to them. Social media pulls people into many
different directions. Years ago you would go to a club and
wait for people to show up. Today within 20 minutes people
are posting photos or texting others for their thoughts.
People will run out without waiting for the room to build. A
possibly reason for the demise of the big clubs.
Many have come and gone over
the years. What is the secret
behind your popularity?
No real secret. I work harder
then most. My changing
concepts, my ability to
change with the times,
being on the forefront with
new ideas, gimmicks, and
keep me working. I have
a great understanding
of how an operation works and what a crowd wants. Here is the secret:
Shhhh! The operation wants money
and the crowd wants a memory.
Give them both what they want
and you are successful.
You have been a part of a lot of
popular afternoon and evening
events. I think the Rubber Ducky
races are one of the wildest. Why
do you people love Rubber Ducky
races so much?
In the past I have been involved with
Velcro Jumping, Sumo Wrestling and
body shots contest. Rubber Ducky
Races are a concept that I created and seem to be the new
thing because they are fun to watch and easy to participate
in without any real exertion on the contestants part. Winning
a $1,000 cash prize doesn’t hurt
either, and how can you not like
a little rubber ducky.
Your name has been great to
Bacardi Rum. Has Bacardi
every said thank you or offered
you anything in return?
Nothing ever from Bacardi, In
fact when I went back to Z-100
to do some promos I had to
drop the name for radio and
use Art the Bartender while
doing call ins on sites.
How much longer can you continue to do what you do or
should we say, how much longer do you want to continue
to do what you do?
I’m getting up in age and will have to turn the reins over
to other MC’s. But I hoping I can continue to provide
consultant and promotional objectives to up and coming
establishments and to MC’s in the future. My
days are surly numbered.
Name the top New Jersey
nightclubs of all time?
Hard to say. I have worked so many
great places that have allowed me
to excel in what I do. However I will
mention these locations because of
what they have accomplished. Club Abyss: For their
continued efforts of bring top
entertainment, celebrities, the
days best style, lighting, sound
and fads into the middle of
New Jersey for almost 20
Poor Billy’s: At the time
of its inception it was a
premier sports bar and
restaurant in the country.
It offered something for
everyone. It had 5 extremely busy
days of the week. Hardly something that could be
Bar Anticipation: A location that brings thousands of people
a week to one single location can’t go unnoticed. Always
adding space and different appeals to so many different
people . They have allowed
me to expand on my ideas and
concepts for 20 years
Rise In Lodi: Owner Eugene, time
and time again has stood out
and a major player in the NJ club
scene. His ideas, involvement
and consent commitment to the
market has kept him going 20
years plus .
Joey Harrison’s: Joey Barcelona
and staff were the absolute best.
They were always taking care of
their guest and staff to the extreme. Hence why so many
people stayed with them for so many years. A great
place to work and enjoy the day off. Always providing top
entertainment in every field of the music spectrum. Sandy
killed the dream.
Finally, how would you like to
be remembered when the day
comes for the party to end?º
That I was an experience. That
I showed people a good time,
a memorable moment, and a
lasting impression. After all
its all about the show! I hope
someday someone else will
do the same for myself and
my fellow patrons .
Interview by Chaunce Hayden