It’s hard to imagine now, but when Employees Only opened in the West Village in 2004, it was really only them and cocktail pioneers Milk & Honey in the game. But with the word “mixology” having long ago reached its self-parody stage, EO is at last in serious expansion mode.
Amidst the Art Deco chic of South Beach’s Washington Park Hotel, the new Miami outpost of EO, like the original – there’s also one in NYC’s Chinatown, and another in Singapore – is all understated classiness: dark woods, tin ceiling, retro lamps, flattering lighting accents and an awe-inspiring wall of booze. It’s savvy of them, of courses, to not try to create some SoBe-fied version – but rather to just do what they do so well.
“While looking for the perfect Miami location for Employees Only,” explains Founder Billy Gilroy, “it was important to maintain the brand’s Deco roots and serve as a place for locals first.”
As much a restaurant as bar, Employees Only liquid classics like the Billionaire Cocktail and the Lazy Lover will be complemented by bone marrow poppers, steak tartare and a selection of caviar. Since the classy Washington Park is hardly some preening scenester hotel, expect more of a sophisticated crowd that is serious about its drinks.
Apres imbibing, book into one of the WPH’s sleek terrace suites, to wake up to sunny SoBe views.