The reigning princes of LA nightlife, sbe, expand their empire into the Magic City with the swish SLS Hotel South Beach. Never one to be outdone, the talent enlisted for the SLS by sbe’s Sam Nazarian is enough to send most of Miami’s hospitality honchos scrambling for a renovation plan. And with the two eponymous culinary masters helming The Bazaar by Jose Andres and Katsuya by Starck, as well as an 8,000-square-foot Beach outpost of sbe’s Hyde nightclub and rooms flaunting an almost-Versailles opulence, expect a curious convergence of rhapsodizing foodies and lounging beauties.
At first look, it’s an Airstream trailer selling awesome $3 – $5 tacos (go for the Camaron BLT, with shrimp and, well, blt), as well as tortas and daily ceviche specials. But sneak through a secret door, and you’re in one of Miami’s hippest cocktail dens – where a cool, glitz-averse crowd downs Smoked Horchata shots and Don Diablo signature cocktails and grooves late into the night. Different.
This chic Euro-centric dining destination in the Hotel Astor morphs into a more clubby scene later in the evenings. There’s lots of whitewash to put the focus on pretty people populating the seats at buzzy communal tables. Nothing life-changing on your plate, steakhouse bibb salad, farmhouse terrine. Party vibe means cutesy cocktails are front and center; go for a Bubbly Passion or Kumquat Capirinha.
Perpetual HWood celeb parade makes home in South Beach. Opulent Euro-Morrocan decor slightly toned down to Miami tastes. Rooms have bright colors, boho touches. 12,000 square foot rooftop pool gloriously free of boozy socialites. Cleo is fabulously luxurious place to nibble exotic Med cuisine and ogle the beautiful peoples. But room key gets you access to all sbe Miami hotspots, including those at the SLS and Raleigh. Good deal.
The long delayed Miami arrival of Thompson Hotels. As usual, design eschews the glitz for more low key chic – rooms have breezy, welcoming vibe. Seagrape resto also has living-room-comfy style, spills out onto laid back patio. The Crown Room and Havana-inspired 1930s House draw a sophisticated cocktail set. Nice poolside cabanas and garden.
Michael Mina’s signature restaurant tops beef with heaps of glamour and style – from elegant banquettes to sleek poolside outdoor seating. Brunch is a (pricey) hit, especially the signature Fizzy Bellboy Cocktail. But the main event is those Wagyu and Moyer Farms Angus cuts from the wood burning grill. So much for the new bikini.
Nightclub dressed as a restaurant (or is it the other way around?) – the food still draws raves. Mostly locally sourced, Key West snapper, local burrata, Florida avocado salad. Sports a cool 60’s mod dining area on the ground floor, with a more dark, sexy opulence in the upstairs lounges…which can be a real scene.
An absurdly hyper sensory experience, HOUSE boasts truly, surreally futuristic interiors with 3D panoramic projections, holographic technology and, well, fog. Alas, the innovation does not extend to drinks program, which consists of bottle service and more bottle service. My Rules Saturdays are the real scene.
Serious about its cocktails, with a drinks program designed by Albert Trummer of NYC’s Apothéke. Hip crowd comes for cheeky selections classified as Stress Relievers, Pain Killers, Aphrodisiacs, Pharmaceuticals and…you get the idea. Start with an Aztec Medicine or Saffron Sazerac, move on to more perilous rounds of House Absinthe. Wildly mismatched furnishings and chandeliers give it a de rigeur postmodern cool.