Rewind: Opium Opens

The Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood is a place where friends meet with groups and gals bring their bachelorette on the loose to have one last hurrah. I would know this well, since I've been in both scenarios. There's something about the over-the-top casino/party spot that just keeps me coming back for more, even if that means driving north instead of south on I-95. And , being as how the former Spirits Nightclub was turned into Miami Beach hot-spot Opium this past weekend and I was invited to take a peek, I decided to go check it out.

Opium definitely brings a certain decadence to the Hard Rock for those who seek a South Beach experience from the deep red, circus tent-style entrance with dragon sculptures greeting you at the door. Once inside, you'll be whisked away into a sexy, Asian-themed paradise, decorated in deep red, gold and bronze colors, complete with enormous lamps. The small lounge area was my favorite. There, a DJ spent the time spinning top 40 hits and techno while those in attendance danced the night away. Cocktail waitresses wear skimpy apron-like costumes and fishnet tights, ready to take your order. While the bigger room is gorgeous, it's hard to dance when almost every square foot of it is meant for V.I.P. bottle service. What used to be a gigantic dance floor in Spirits has become an overgrown SET-like atmosphere - another Opium family club - where those who get in are ready to fork over the dollars for their favorite Grey Goose or champagne. Word to the wise: if you build it, they will come - just make sure it's recession friendly.

Saturday night was definitely the night to feel V.I.P., since you could dance the night away no matter what, perched atop the exclusive table service area. Everyone was welcome, even dancers in dragon costumes gyrating on poles meant for crowd entertaining. Once Joel Madden took over the DJ booth - perfectly placed in front of a water fountain - he had everyone dancing to Lady Gaga and Timbaland. But, did he have to play Chris Brown? While everyone danced no matter what, it was still a surprising choice from the Good Charlotte singer turned socialite.

I give Opium props for brining Miami nightlife to Hollywood. It's a beautiful scene worthy of a look and will surely do well for those seeking an exclusive club vibe. And the Hard Rock has become a definite all-in-one destination, where you can get your small bar/lounge experience right next to some of the biggest clubs in South Florida. Just don't forget your checkbook and do work those connections.

Enjoy the photo gallery here.

- Aurora Rodriguez