Travel to any major city and ask anyone where the best nightlife is and the number of options you get will likely equal the number of people you ask. However, ask someone in South Beach who knows the night life in this international playground, and they will undoubtedly recommend the W South Beach and its concepts: the Living Room Bar, The Dutch, Mr. Chow and Wall Nightclub.
This Hot Spot is a magnet for the interesting and interested. The hotel lobby is home to the Living Room Bar, a hub of nightlife and activity. In a word, cool. Recently chosen as one of Food & Wine magazine’s 50 Best Bars in America, Living Room Bar is not to be missed. One halfway expects to see a tuxedoed gentleman standing at the bar ordering a “vodka martini, gently shaken not stirred“ but that libation wouldn’t be cool enough for this trendy spot.
The cocktails are as varied as the international guests and completely original. The New York Times describes it as “authentic like no one has ever seen anywhere else in Miami.” The custom cocktails are made by Bar Lab, under the direction of Miami hospitality innovators Karim Masri and Nicola Siervo of KNR Restaurant Group. They are responsible for the cutting edge cocktail programs in all the hotel’s venues.
The Living Room Bar has a team of alchemists, otherwise known as bartenders, who are willing and able to craft a vast array of traditional and creative cocktails. The vodka martini is available, but do yourself a favor and step out of the everyday and try anything this team suggests. The global trend of using as many fresh and unusual ingredients as possible isn’t lost on this group. Infusions and flavored bitters are created in-house using distinctive ingredients such as lavender, cinnamon and basil, which are then blended or creatively infused with spirits. Some of the more unique and “must-try” choices on the menu include The Smokey Artichoke, made with a mescal base, sweet vermouth, Cynar amaro and dashed with tobacco bitters. The Chemista is a champagne-infused cocktail with flower blossom syrup and topped with Japanese cucumber foam. The Living Room also offers a varied wine list featuring appealing by-the-glass selections.
Next door to the Living Room is a dining experience new to South Beach. The Dutch is a creative collaboration from New York restaurateurs Chef Andrew Carmellini, Josh Pickard and Luke Ostrom, in partnership with Nicola Siervo and Karim Masri. Opened since November 2011, the restaurant has a light, airy feeling with indoor and outdoor seating, and a marble counter that serves as The Dutch’s oyster bar. Guests can enjoy satisfying cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner from a menu inspired by local cafes, country inns, and corner taverns. Complementing the menu is Beverage Director Joshua Nadel’s extensive wine list and vast cocktail menu, which is heavy on American whiskies. One of the more imaginative cocktails is The Havana, a custom creation of vodka, grape jam, tarragon, lemon and sparkling wine. Another, the Dutch Kill, is made with gin, hibiscus syrup, house lavender bitters and lemon.
An additional dining choice is perennial favorite, Mr. Chow. Opened in 2009, Mr. Chow always has a great crowd, reflective of its menu and service. Mr. Chow brought the high-end Chinese concept to Miami and the tables have been filled ever since. Some favorites include chicken satay, squab with lettuce wraps, green prawns and Beijing duck. The open, well-lit dining room features indoor-outdoor dining and while the food is the hero here, the cocktail menu also offers great variety. The bar is usually packed with guests sipping libations while awaiting their reservations. This crowd usually includes the requisite South Beach celebrities, so be on the lookout as the food, drink and people-watching make for an entertaining evening at Mr. Chow.
If excellent dining and great cocktails aren’t enough for you, top off the evening with a night of dancing and high energy Latin grooves at the nightclub, Wall. The in-house DJ spins each night until 2 a.m. and if the line outside the door is any indication, this is the place to be and be seen. Most locals agree W South Beach can boast a bit of everything Miami: beautiful people, innovative cocktails, inspired dishes, and late night dancing. You will certainly have the South Beach vibe by the time you step out of this hot spot.