Last week I promised I would come up with a good jingle/mantra/slogan to counter the plucky quip “..mix, mingle and not to be single!” found on South Beach Magazine’s post for a Girl’s Guide to Nightlife. I had to ask myself, what did I find myself doing over my 72 hours in South Beach? What were my goals versus what I ended up actually doing? What was the pulse I felt as a 41 year old woman/mother/wife visiting this vibrant slice of Miami?
I came up with a few:
“to swill, chow and gain fat blisters from too-tall heels”
“to imbibe, munch and people watch”
“to wonder where all the people were our age, ogle tiny dresses paired with giant boobs, and order nachos at 3am”
“order extravagantly, drink lavishly, and regret not sleeping more”
In our version of the Girls Guide to South Beach Nightlife, you will traverse the hot concrete of South Beach with us as we actually did it.
Thursday – we stayed at 1 Hotel, right on the water. Huge hotel (by Tom Colicchio) with 5 pools, a rooftop bar and of course, the beach.
Dinner at Beach Craft – I gave it an 8 out of 10. We ordered the Stone Crab largely because I had never had it and I wanted to eat local. Hefty price tag of $45 for 3. The octopus was tough and delicious with long tentacles. The tuna crudo was fresh and spicy with its jalapeño topping.
Fed and having washed it all down with a few glasses of white and bubbles, we headed up to the rooftop bar and pool. Exactly the kind of vibe you would expect: tiny dresses, fancy drinks, and a salty breeze coming from the direction of the sea.
Late night we wandered to a nearby decidedly more grounded watering hole called Sweet Liberty to drink beer and nosh on cauliflower nachos. (We knew this was our place when they referenced a tv sitcom from 1982).
Friday – we walked down Collins Avenue to Lincoln, a street lined with retailers and restaurants. We opted to lunch at a place called Yuca and ate al fresco. We went local with our entrees; my friend had ropa vieja and I had vaca frite – both a variation of meat and plaintains. A couple of El Presidentes from the DR paired extremely well with our lunch.
Then it rained on us, we made for a taxi, shopped a little, and headed back to the hotel for an all-important nap.
That evening, we started our happy hour at the Bar Centro in the SLS hotel on Collins. The Cuba Libre, basically rum and Coke, was good but super sweet. I imagined it did the same for me as a Red Bull and Vodka (hello!). We had dinner at Sea Grape in the Thompson Hotel and sat outside on the back patio. Although Sea Grape was a great meal, the service was lackluster and the scene verged on boring.
After dinner we went back to the SLS hotel to check out their “nightclub by the pool.” Way too young, way too “Girls Guide” plus we paid $40 for two vodka sodas. We left.
I wanted to dance so I dragged my friend to the local gay bar/club Twist. Rooms and rooms and more rooms of go-go dancers, various forms of house music and videos on mounted televisions. The music wasn’t quite what we (I) was looking for so we headed to the Delano hotel for dancing at their club the FDR. This was surprisingly fun…initially. The DJ was definitely skewing to those who were closest to his booth, and he started out with some good 80s and 90s mash ups. But then he changed the tunes and our dancing feet became increasingly leaden. We left. We then made our only bad decision of the weekend: we went to the W next door for a late night beer. It was sweaty and packed with pill-fueled twenty-somethings. We couldn’t make our way out of there fast enough.
Saturday was mostly pool. The weather was finicky, first hot and balmy and then raining. When the rain shooed us from the pool, we took a free “house ride” in the hotel’s Tesla to the Broken Shaker. This was the bar/pool scene at the Freehand Hostel. Because it is a hostel, it had this bohemian, hipster vibe: the Brooklyn/Silver Lake of South Beach.
Saturday pm we went to The Edition, a hotel 5 minutes away, and had dinner at the swanky Matador Room. This was our finest meal. What won our hearts was the local dish, Arroz y Pollo (chicken and rice). Simple yet delicious. I’m hoping my friend can replicate it on her food blog.
Dwayne Wade and his wife Gabrielle Union sat a few tables away. The word was there was a bowling alley and bar downstairs, yet we opted for the bar at The Edition afterward. Great scene, a perfect way to end an amazing weekend.
In sum, South Beach is super fun, full of everything you would hope to find in a balmy, glam, southern Floridian city on the beach. As for the Girls Guide…we didn’t hit a single club they suggested. There’s always next time…