Places that Matter

Caravana Club/Bronx Casino/El Cerromar (former)

Nightclubs that produced distinctively New York Latin music
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Place Matters Profile

Originally an Irish dance hall called the Tara Ballroom, the Caravana Club later held major Latin music dances every week. It was especially popular during the pachanga craze of the late 1950s and early 1960s, when Charlie Palmieri’s hit record, "Live at the Caravana," was recorded at the club in 1961.

The Caravana Club was originally renovated and opened in 1959 by Gil and Sonny Merced along with the promoter Federico Pagani, who was associated with the Palladium Ballroom. After its opening, the club almost immediately became one of the most important dance venues in the Latin music scene. In fact, a team of dancers, Los Pachangueros, was formed from club patrons and performed there as well as venues in the Bronx and Long Island.

The club closed in 1962 for a short hiatus then reopened in 1963 as the Bronx Casino, which stayed open until 1973. In 1975 it opened again as El Cerromar. In the early 1980s it was converted to a Pentecostal church, Templo de Renovación Espiritual.