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Miami Bars and Clubs
5501 NE Second Ave., Miami FL; Tel. 305.757.1807
Over and over again, and we don't care if the sound system sucks or people get jacked in the parking lot or that the worst imaginable musicians play here as often as they want to. Some of the very best musicians play here too, from psychobilly fiends Southern Culture on the Skids to the rockabilly filly Rosie Flores. They come here for the same reason we do. It's dirty. It's dicey. It's democratic (if that's the word for it). It's owner Dave Daniels. It's chicks wrestling in Jell-O. It's rock and roll.
Full review available from the Miami New Times.
142 NE Eleventh St., Miami FL; Tel. 305.375.0001
Since opening in April 2000 in downtown Miami, Club Space has lured throngs of South Beach regulars across the causeway. Created from four warehouses, Space, true to its name, offers more than 9000 square feet of dance floor. The door staff -- firm, polite, and unhindered by the essential Beach ego -- remains as cool as the cavernous joint, which stays chilled even when fully packed, thanks to a powerful air-conditioning unit. Developing a reputation for importing internationally known DJ talent for special events, the club hosted the URB magazine/Giant Step party during this year's Winter Music Conference, where Roni Size, the undisputed King of Jungle, kicked his dirty beats for a capacity crowd. A 24-hour liquor license ensures never-ending festivities. This March Space's first neighborhood competitor, Fuel, debuted. Time will tell if downtown has space enough for two.
1445 Washington Ave., Miami Beach FL; Tel. 305.531.5027
Meander up and down Washington Avenue on a Saturday night and there's no shortage of clubbing options -- from small and loungy to sprawling and manic. There's even a host of nightspots across the Bay attempting to give South Beach a run for its late-night money. But if you're looking to dance -- period -- crobar remains a sure bet for a sweaty night out. The door policy, while hardly anything-goes, is still relatively relaxed (by Beach standards, at least). Guys, bring a girl, leave the Guido look at home, and you should have little problem clearing the doorstaff. And once you've hurdled the velvet rope, you'll find marquee-name DJs utilizing crobar's top-notch PA to keep the gyrating crowd working it out on the dance floor 'til dawn. Just slide into the middle of it all, tip your head back, and let yourself go. After all, that's why you hit South Beach in the first place, right?
Hoy Como Ayer
2212 SW Eighth St., Miami FL; Tel. 305.541.2631
It's saying something that the best night out in Miami unfolds far from the clogged swath of Washington Avenue's clubland. Forget about velvet ropes, overpriced drinks, canned beats, and -- most of all -- the kind of preening folks you've been trying to avoid since high school. In fact forget about South Beach altogether. Instead hit the causeways in reverse and head for the heart of Little Havana. There, at Hoy Como Ayer (formerly the hallowed ground of Café Nostalgia), owners Fabio Diaz and Eduardo Llama turn Thursdays over to the Ministry of Culture -- the duo of Erik Fabregat and Ralph de Portilla -- and their Fuácata party. Inside, the Spam Allstars regularly throw down a sweaty jam of funky turntablism and percussive salsa for a refreshingly diverse crowd that's much too concerned with dancing and simply soaking up the vibe to worry about posing. And really, isn't that the whole point of clubbing in the first place?
10730 NW 25th Street, West Miami-Dade FL; Tel. 305.594.3717
A million-dollar renovation undertaken last August by owner Aurelio Rodriguez added a gourmet kitchen, back-yard stage, and air conditioning for VIPs, yet this rustic roadhouse retains all its long-standing open-air charm. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, La Covacha remains South Florida's best bet for classic and contemporary salsa as well as the latest in merengue and vallenato. Sunday rocks as hard as ever, with Latin alternative bands blaring for a young Latin-American crowd. And any day at La Covacha is ideal for noted visiting national acts to launch their music among the stars.
Full review available from the Miami New Times.
1235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach FL; Tel. 305.532.1525
Given all of Level's recent guises -- live music venue, host to touring theater productions, boxing matches, as well as Bill Clinton and Janet Reno political rallies -- it's easy to forget this cavernous spot is also an old-fashioned nightclub. Thankfully the staff here hasn't neglected to tend to its thumping dance floor amid all this diversification, and for clubbers seeking a hands-in-the-air night out, Level remains a solid weekend bet. A top-notch sound system delivers the beats in stomach-rumbling (but still clear) audio, while the pumping air conditioning ensures you'll be just the right side of sweaty. The second-floor balconies provide for plenty of people watching down below, while the club's bounty of nooks and crannies serve up some semi-secluded spots for when you've gotten your mix 'n' mingling down to a more intimate, ahem, level. True, the six-dollar miniature bottles of water are a bit outrageous. And the egalitarian door policy has more than a few fashionistas turning up their carefully sculpted noses. But an evening of affordable drinks and snobbery-free socializing just wouldn't be very South Beach, now would it? (Review: Miami New Times)
Mynt Ultra Lounge
1921 Collins Ave., Miami Beach FL; Tel. 786.276.6132
If you don't have an invitation to one of the many exclusive parties thrown by Mynt, chances are you won't gain admittance to this latest South Beach hot spot. But if you make it past the doorman/power broker and the long, slender velvet rope protecting this nightclub from the great unwashed, you'll find a front room draped in egg white and mint green colors; a Grand Lounge with a walkway nestled between an encirclement of plush couches and the bar; and an Ultra Lounge marked by hanging mirrors and marble floors. Mynt is usually frequented by the finest in Beach glitterati, so dress to impress if you want to get in. (Review: Miami New Times)
616 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach FL; Tel. 305.673.5262
Latin pop music is blowing up among young Hispanics with the tenacity of Shakira's wild blond locks. Play a Carlos Vives, Bacilos, or Maná track for this crowd, and the obligatory circles of young maidens will break out into song, all crooning toward the sky together as young men try to shuffle their rumps in between. Latin pop music drips with sexuality, and Friday nights at Señor Frog's are brimming with sexual energy. It's become the new mecca for Latin synergy among young Colombians, Dominicans, Boriquas, and Venezuelans. Warning: Don't load up on salsa before you shake, shake, shake. (Review: Miami New Times)
2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami FL; Tel. 305.438.0810
Something always seems to be going these days at the former working-class dive once known as Two Last Shoes. Late last November a group of young guns (including one simply named Phoenix) took over, rechristened, renovated, and energized the space -- and kept the drinks at a reasonable price. The Honduran and Mexican tunes emanating from the jukebox may be a relic of the past, but an eclectic mix of music (live and from DJs) still fills the two floors. Local crews present hip-hop, open-mike, and MC battles each Thursday. During Hot Pants Fridays, DJs Seamstar and Jel-O, and occasionally Le Spam, bring in the funk while Goth nights Pitch Black and the Industrial Ball go on respectively the first and last Friday of the month. Long-time Goth party The Kitchen Club takes place upstairs on Saturdays while downstairs retro evening RealCoolTime offers a mix of Sixties soul, R&B, and garage plus the sporadic guest DJ spinning surf, exotica, Brit pop, and punk. RealCoolTime also has presented a live show or two featuring indie bands such as the Lyres and the Immortal Lee County Killers. (Review: Miami New Times)
801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach FL; Tel. 305.531.2222
Located on the top floor of this Art Deco gem (for decades known as the Tiffany before the New York jewelry retailer objected, but only after designer Todd Oldham transformed it into a hot spot), the bar offers a sleek and civilized respite far above the maddening crowds and the cars crawling along Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue. Daylight hours offer an uninterrupted, bird's-eye view of Lummus Park, the sands, and the Atlantic Ocean that will be recognizable as the backdrop for a number of fashion shoots. With the days getting longer, it's highly recommended for a sunset cocktail, whether you're entertaining an important client, gearing up for a big night on the town, or just showing the folks the sights. (Review: Miami New Times)
Three Fingers Lounge
4368 NW Seventeenth Ave. Miami FL; Tel. 305.633.0213
If it's Friday, it's Cotton Club night at this dive. The joint starts jumping around midnight. A little while later, depending on the number of shouts and stomps, the cozy club is leaping and rolling with the sounds of some of Miami's most accomplished jazz players. Jesse Jones, Jr. -- Liberty City's maestro of bop -- and his combo are the usual anchors, with occasional sets from featured singers. On the barstools old men dance funk to the heated jam sessions. At the tables local musicians and artists swing to the rhythms. If you are aching to taste what jazz might have been like during the Harlem Renaissance, this funky little speakeasy will cook it up. The club is testament to aficionados that bebop and blues are not confined to chrome interiors where the well-heeled listen motionless to the sermon of jazz. The Cotton Club serves its music with homey grit, friendly faces, and a free buffet.
Excerpts from the Miami New Times are ©2004 Miami New Times and republished with publisher's permission.
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