Miami Opening: Jelsomino

As their Russian party empire spreads across America (a new Mari Vanna will open soon in LA), it’s no surprise Ginza Project invades America’s most unapologetic bastion of decadence. Their glamorous NYC karaoke bar Jelsomino has set up shop in the former Areobar space on Miami’s Collins Avenue.

Jelsomino transcends sing-along cheese by planting performers amongst the staff – blurring the experience of contemporary cabaret and the often disconcerting experience of having to listen to your friends try to belt out "Take On Me" after a dozen glasses of bubbly. To emphasize the musical essence, VIP rooms have names like Amy Winehouse and Jim Morrison, and there’s a Champagne Supernova house cocktail. 

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New York Opening: The Bar at the Dream Hotel

When your kid brother ups the ante, you’ve obviously got to rise to the occasion. So with the Dream Downtown having become one of the defacto NYC nightlife fabulosity magnets, the Dream New York has taken decisively to the task of becoming the same. First there was the wild new Russian karaoke bar, Jelsomino, opened in April in the basement. Now comes The Bar, an elegantly stylish new lobby bar.

Jody Singleton’s interiors, all cowhide rugs, antiqued mirrors and Chesterfields set against exposed brick, convey a sort of poshie old-school Englishness. But cocktails, courtesy of Williamsburg’s Liquid Lab NYC, are decidedly 21st Century. Italo nibbles can be had from the hotel’s Serafina restaurant. 

New York Opening: Jelsomino

While Mitt Romney is busy mind-bogglingly castigating Obama as a foreign policy lapdog of Putin, real Americans (er, okay, fashionable New Yorkers) will be getting down to some groovy Russian karaoke. Not so much kitsch as brilliantly cheeky, Jelsomino, located in the uptown Dream Hotel is the latest from the Ginza Project, those fabulous Russians who gave Gotham its most glamorous Russian restaurant ever in the form of Mari Vanna.

There’s a main stage, where tipsy exhibitionists will perform to an audience indulging in (what else?) champagne, caviar and oysters, a backstage room for those preferring a more predictable musical experience (a DJ will spin), and a VIP room styled as a recording studio, cleverly limiting one’s possibility for embarrassment to one’s inner circle. A fully postmodern meta experience, the staff are also likely to launch into performance. The interior, with its concrete floors and rough stone walls, is sort of sexy Warsaw-bomb-shelter-chic. Bond theme songs obligatory.