These Are the Most Colorful Bars in South Beach, Miami
You've arrived at SOBE (South Beach) and decide to search the trenches, for that marketing induced cloud of pipe-dreams. Into the bars you march!
When you come to Miami, your first instinct is to dive headlong into the mythical Miami Beach frothy soup. To swim in the dusky embrace of well-toned thighs, sinewy midriffs, and honeyed mermaid wails. Lusty wenches, of the Sofia Vergara persuasion, pulling hard on your mounting... Well, you off the uncomfortable pants and growing frontal region, you get that innuendo. That's the fantasy we harbor when venturing forth into the sunshine state's less than savory hidden treasure trove of sexual kinks.
So, off the tarmac you charge - testosterone, wacky fervor and the zeal of your glory days egging you on. Treat yourself - like the raving buffoon you try so heavy to quell - and rent one of those dashing bits of "you're trying to compensate" chrome shiny chariots.
"Whoosh," out of the gate you test your electric yellow Mustang's engine. Tires biting asphalt, visions on mojito draped sugar plum fairies doing a drunken Congo line in your bedraggled cerebellum.
Over the causeways, through the palm trees, to Madonna's house you go."
Your stereo system on full; "The Final Countdown," and "The Danger Zone," reminding the world that there are no limits to the lengths, a balding middle-aged man will go to in order to capture a fragment of his bygone jaunts.
Listen to your engines..."
"Slap" the jubilant pat down of a wobbly belly. You puff out your chicken chest in triumph and berate that tiny piece of yourself that wallows in the unfathomable depths of self-pity and remorse.
Into Collins Avenue you skate. Trojans hanging from your neck like Mardi Grass beats.
All right, baby!" Arms outstretch, the shadow of STDs and hangover hell hanging by the corner like the ghost of Christmas to come. "What the???"
Grandma on spandex cruises by you; an army of old timers pushes you aside; gray-haired matrons get ready to unleash their toy puddles on your deranged pale heels. It's green tennis balls on walking canes; it's automatic motor scooters; it's white Cadillacs being driven by Panama wearing mole men. This is not what the brochure was selling.
Hey," you snatch the nearest senior citizen from his morning power walk. "I demand german tourist! Chicks with low morals and even lower skirts! 90 oz sized plastic margarita containers. The hallowed halls of Spring Break Nirvana! Libations, gayety, the proud celebrations bequeathed to a conquering hero!... Sex!!! Where's the pungent pong of sex! Isn't this Miami Beach?!"
"Ouch!" You, the vanquishing valiant victor of verily Valhalla, swats the blitzkrieg effrontery of the Miamian retire; the sun invigorating these ancient folks, and turning them into the sort of cellmate that a Neo-Nazi might shutter from fright at: "he's insane... Hardcore, smoking... That fella's bleeds tabasco sauce."
"Ouch! Please, stop hitting me! Ouch! Stop it!"
"Punk," the no doubt stung by a radioactive hornet village elder says. "You nincompoop! You dolt! Did you suck on tin toy soldiers when you were a kid? You're looking for South Beach! Miami Beach is something else entirely." "Whack," just to emphasize a point. Active wisdom from our specially geared shamans.
There, you who have been masterfully educated by 80's T.V. and very liberal Hollywood productions, that's your first lesson. Miami Beach contains Vice City, but the whole blockade is not a responsibility free-zone. It's just the first 30 or so blocks.
A heart of the town can be found at the local tavern."
You managed to finally arrive at SOBE (South Beach) and decide to hold fast to your beliefs and search the trenches, for that marketing induced cloud of pipe-dreams. Into the bars you march.
Here, in these sacred of sacred, you will discover the following indigenous wildlife: The natives, the snowbirds, the dillweeds, the carpetbaggers; each everyone, making a holy show of themselves.
300 Alton Road
Off Ocean Drive, a few blocks past the Bentley, where the walk of shame will no longer take the happily inebriated, there stands Monty's. A bastion of frolicking good times, alcohol heavy Mai-tais, and the classic seafood fare normally found in coastal towns. What holds Monty apart from the rest? What warrants this place to stand fast to this article? Simply put, drum roll please, the price! Compared to what passes off for fine dining in South Beach, Monty manages to give you a decent meal, while at the same time refusing to steamroll your sorry behind into medical experiments, just to front the bill.
Miami For Insiders: Monty's is called or nicknamed "by The Sunset," for a reason. And, as you stare partly passed out, and completely sunbaked, at that big yellow disk's dive into the Gulf, you'll quickly discover the obvious reason.
900 Ocean Dr
Feel the rhythm of the music getting stronger. Don't you fight it 'til you tried it, do that conga beat..."
Sway your hips, move your money maker, defrock the cowboy in your soul. Think more Banderas, less Eastwood. Shimmy into those thigh white pants, defenestrate those constricting first three bottoms from your neckline; gummy up your hairline and let lose the whiskers that fly from your upper lip. Tonight, my friend, you're getting your latin lover on. Mango's is Salsa Beats, brown eyed "señoritas", the pitter-patter of gyrating feet. It's both your nightmare - you of two left feet - as well as your sweetest dream "eyes up here, compañero!" Nightly shows, a respectable dance floor and, best of all, a bevy of lollygaggers and wallflowers, just as eager, afraid and conscious of their dancing merits as yourself.
Miami For Insiders: Mango charges an entry fee, but, if you're as savvy as I am, you can print out a coupon and wave that pesky hindrance away. There's also, wink-wink, a complimentary magazine - normally found in most hotel's lobby that holds this key item; a very astute piece of literary hogwash, flowing like the spring of life, with wonderful discounts and coupons.
728 Ocean Dr
Yes, I know, it's a chain. I might as well have listed McDonalds and Friday's on this cultivated list. Ah, but, there's a reason to my madness - insert manic laugh here. The Rocket carries passable chow, low fares, and the same view as all the other restaurants and bars on Oceans Drive. Plus, the alcoholic beverages - a standard in South Beach - and a vestigial limb Johnny had to grow in order to fit in, is exactly the same as all other places... And, best of all, you get to keep your huge chalice as a souvenir.
Miami For Insiders: "Say hello to my little friend!" Once, Johnny Rockets was a quite mundane apartment complex. Then, Oliver Stone and Brian De Palma looked at the place and were inspired. "Hey, Goddamn it, Stone stop doing lines and pay attention... The Chainsaw scene, here?" That's right, Scarface was filmed on that spot! On those steps and on that third floor.
728 Ocean Dr
You want to charge me how much for a glass of water!? But it's tap! Oh, that's double... Natural you say? Makes sense."
The Fountainbleu is that grand hotel that makes you feel self-conscious about crappy closet your petty wages barely managed to afford you. It's the marble stairway with ivory inlay, it's crystal chandeliers and gold specked candelabras. Great booze and an awesome scene. Plus, a killer nightclub.
Miami for Insiders: Goldfinger, that marvelous James Bond Flick, was shot in this historic hotel.
1527 Washington Ave
The Strip joint! Let's be honest, you didn't come for the exceptional dining spectacle, the libations, or the atmosphere. This is the sort of place that could serve you piss warm beer, stale "you can print an editorial on them" nachos and the bathrooms that harbor interstellar lifeforms, and you wouldn't even care. Lap dances; private shows; poles; glitter; T&A.
Joe's Stone Crab
1527 Washington Ave
A testament to everything that makes a culinary experience great. Expert staff, magnificent surroundings and outstanding food. It doesn't matter whether or not it's stone crab season, Joe will always pack the house and cater handsomely to its clientele. Packed to the ceiling with all manner of guest - school teachers, politicos, celebs, highway patrol - Joe moves more than 2000 visitors per day and spans, its behemoth walls, to the extent of almost occupying a city block. Fine cocktails and scotch, of the best kind, to accompany your mallet plummeting fun.
Miami For Insiders: Stone Crabs were first discovered by Joseph Weiss at the beginning of the 20th century. Joe's a simply shack like building that started boiling and steaming the little buggers for the locals.
412 Española Way
Española Way's mojito bogged down bar. A strange fixation with pelicans that narrowly avoids the label of seeded perversion. A hip little joint that screams Hemingway and calls out for a second round of intoxicating beverages.
157 Collins Ave.
A hidden 50's dinner buried among the claptrap that is South Beach. This is good food, great atmosphere, happy waitress and, best of all, a one digit receipt per person. It's campy, kitsch and the PG-13 version of Happy Days, which is to say, in Miami, it's as real as everything else.
The Palace Bar
1200 Ocean Dr
The multicolored flag hangs high in this Ocean Drive landmark. The rainbow communities' Sinai mountain. Mostly a male-heavy crowd, occasionally broken up by the happy-go-lucky gal that just loves Will and Grace reruns perhaps a little too much
Mac's Club Deuce
222 14th St
The original dive bar. Miami's oldest hole in the wall. Deuces' has been the happy recipient of a celebrity endorsed resurgence. From Keith Richards laying down Jacks to Anthony Bourdain praising its dark biker mood. A place that not only looks hardcore, but, that after the sun goes down and the patrons get sludged, it actually lives up to its reputation. The general consensus among the native SOBE is:
That joint? Are you suicidal? You need shots just to sit at the bar."
The Villa Casa Casuarina
1116 Ocean Dr.
On those hallowed steps, now being graced by movie stars, international models, Jetsetter and the occasional passed out riffraff, once laid the shot remains of the globally renowned fashion icon: Gianni Versace. You gravitate towards it's entrance, a part of yourself feeling the pull of first class and noticing that sneakers and a bedraggled Bermuda just won't cut it.
Miami for insiders: download the Freebee app on your phone and leave your car at the hotel. This service will pick you up, in your SOBE Pied-à-terre, and take you, for free - zero bucks - to wherever you want in a 40 block radius.
So, there you have it, the good, the bad and in some case not only the ugly but the distinctly disturbing. Enjoy your stay in SOBE and remember, once sunrise sets in, you'll need to rinse the night away... quite possibly with Lysol.
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