Miami Beach is blowing up, to the tourists and New Yorkers welcome to a new kind of Miami Beach. By appearance standards, Miami Beach seems to be doing just fine in the midst of financial crisis. Throughout the last year "the beach" has has been expanding and it’s exploded. Luxe hotels, nightclubs, restaurants, stores and galleries have debuted. There is always a party, event or photo shoot to be at, to be seen at.
The Gansevoort South on Collins Avenue has been up and running since late Fall. In all honesty, no one is that impressed. Phillipe Chow is housed in the Gans and not very good. The Gansevoort South did get one thing right, they picked Roman Jones of the Opium group to run their in-house club. Side note gossip girls, Roman Jones is half brother to DJ Mark Ronson and Samantha Ronson who dates Lindsay Lohan. Jone’s club, Louis, is impressive and reminiscent of New York’s Tenjune. The club is ultra exclusive and thank god for that. No sausage-fests but rather beautiful girls and bottles. The nightly minimum for a table in Louis is $1,500 easy. The space is elegant and the bottle girls are actually good-looking and semi-intelligent. Best of all is the open format music, Louis is a dance party until 5 a.m. even on Tuesdays.
As for other major hotels worth mentioning on Miami Beach, there is the Fountainebleau Hotel. The Fountainebleau, which got a $1 billion renovation, hosted the sexy Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on debut night. The Hotel looks straight out of Las Vegas. Fountainebleau’s club LIV is enormous, it holds about LIV holds about 900 people nightly. Liv is always a zoo so good advice is to get there early to avoid the masses outside. The Fountainebleau’s sushi restaurant slash lounge, Blade, is nice as a lounge only. The restaurant service is horrendous; the food, nothing to talk about; and the entire space wreaks of scummy fish. Do not waste a dinner in Blade. On a brighter note, the pool bar just outside of the restaurant is lovely on warm nights.
The Mondrian South Beach Hotel makes three. The Mondrian, built on the bay side of Miami Beach not the beach, beach is a Morgans Hotel Group project. MHG owns and operates both the Delano and Shoreclub on "the beach," plus, other luxury hotels worldwide. The next big hotel to look out for is the W hotel set to open up in late spring. The W Hotel has been built from the ground up rather than renovated like neighbor hotel the gansevoort. The W project has been bought into by big names, A-list celebrities, and sports stars. The W Hotel is set to be the next big thing on Miami Beach, a hotspot that should be booked, like now, for your next trip!
As far as new restaurants go, the Mondrian has Asia De Cuba. Famed Miami Beach steak spot Prime 112, just opened Prime Italian. Located just across street, expect to spend wads of money on dinner. Shisho is a new, very tiny, very intimate sushi restaurant on the opposite end of Miami Beach. While the restaurant is something to see and a great place to go saki bomb, the menu is limited. Touch restaurant on Lincoln Road closed but some of the same investors put their money behind a new restaurant named Meat Market. The name sounds ape-ish but the place has cultivated a buzz. Segefrado, the well known coffee bar slash lounge on Miami Beach has expanded once more to South of Fifth or SoFi. Segafredo out-does Starbucks on Miami Beach because the atmosphere is just better. The sangria is to die for and on weekends there is always a DJ on call.
As for clothing stores on Miami Beach, there are still few and far between. Out with the trashy and in with the more fashionable, higher-end labels. Alchemist on Lincoln Road is probably the only clothing store worth shopping at on Lincoln. A few fresh stores have opened downtown in the design district with a very lower East side, Los Angeles street-vibe.
Hopefully you catch the gist, we are not going to write a book here. The point is to get you to come to Miami Beach to explore the new scene. There are still plenty of soft openings, hard openings and events in between. Feel it out, hit new places up and find your scene. Miami Beach is still developing, growing upand doing good things all the while.