The go-go Versace days are over—long live Miami’s new and more sophisticated (but still sexy-fun) reign. Here, a sun-shower run-through of the new and tried-and-true in the arts, music, retail, hotel, and culinary worlds of the city that truly doesn’t ever sleep (that is, in a conventional bed).
By Jordan Levin
Ready, set, go: You’re in the sub-tropics, so enjoy art outdoors at Wynwood Walls, a maze of courtyards filled with stunning murals by some of the world’s biggest street artists (Shepherd Fairey, Kenny Scharf and many more), surrounded by a growing circle of restaurants. There’s Joey’s, the upscale Italian place where local art mavens and aesthetically inclined developers schmooze; Lenny’s, the coffeehouse for their humbler artistic brethren, and creative tapas at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar.
Hear music for the enlightened masses at the New World Symphony’s soaring Frank Gehry-designed New World Center in South Beach, where you can enjoy free “wallcast” concerts on a stunning outdoor sound system in the adjacent park.
Blue Piano (backed by Latin Grammy-winning songwriter Jorge Villamizar) in the Design District is a funky, Latino-accented, living room-sized boite with a wine list way beyond Malbec, as well as acoustic jams by the best of Miami’s musicians. More bands from the thriving local Latin-funk-fusion and indie-songwriter scene groove at PAX Miami, on the edge of Little Havana, and The Stage in the Design District, while nationally favored alt-, indie, and electro acts stop at Grand Central, in a former train station just north of downtown.
The new dining destination for visiting or resident locavores is Sustain in Midtown, where everything (except the idyllically raised Ocala beef) comes from within 50 miles, whether the guava in the bespoke cocktails or the chicharrones and pink swordfish. Chow Down Grill, a Surfside favorite that opened in South Beach, has a late night back alley entrance for that speakeasy feel, fresh-flavored Chinese eats and a long list of mojitos.
Locals are also satisfying their long-denied appetites for Asian at Phuc Yea, a Vietnamese-inspired, Caribbean-influenced eatery that debuted as a pop-up in downtown Miami and opens in a permanent space soon. The southern-est city of all celebrates its pre-Latino roots at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in South Beach, a “house of worship” for Dixie-esque fare partnered with local farmers to freshen up Southern classics like Sweet Tea-Brined Ribs and Shrimp and Grits. Also in South Beach is Thompson Hotel’s Hotel Victor, which features what may become the more insider-y pool scene in the ready-to-play-again Art Deco district.
Humidity should help you slither into some Krelwear, Karelle Levy’s inimitably slinky, strangely sexy knitwear purled from factory cast-off and glowing high-tech yarns, favored by Miami performance artists as well as Nicki Minaj and Cameron Diaz. Nepalese designer Ash Rana (designer for Latin pop stars like Juanes) and pioneering South Beach Cuban artist Damian Rojo combined creative forces for Rana Rojo, featuring floaty, body-skimming beach and resort wear and T-shirts with one-of-a-kind, Eastern-flavored prints – worn by Trina and the Marley family.
Now go to bed and dream of being there.
*Photo Credit of main image: Kenny Scharf