Classy dinner parties, boozy poetry readings and a gala for the kids

Blackbird Ordinary in Brickell

Out of the Box
People complain all the time about a. not being able to meet people in Miami, b. the lack of social graces not just in Miami but everywhere, in which people don’t talk to each other but instead remain immersed in their not so smart phones and, well, we could go on. Enter Chef Gabriela Machado, whose jewel of an idea has, gasp, strangers breaking bread (and foie gras crème brulee) with each and, yikes, actually making coherent, stimulating conversation at the same time. Copperbox Culinary Atelier is a ten to thirty seat dining experience in a converted Wynwood warehouse. It’s Miami’s 21st century Warholian Factory meets Elaine’s but with better food—much better food. Chef Machado and her intrepid team prepare a stellar 7-course meal complete with wine pairings.

Machado, who hails from Venezuela, told us that she came up with the idea because “There’s nothing like it in Miami,” and because, “I just love what I do.” And she does it well. Cell phone use is strictly discouraged and tables are communal which means you actually get to meet some pretty interesting folks. The place is very discreet and doors don’t open until 7:30 on the dot Thursdays and Saturdays, which means you may find yourself standing outside a nondescript Wynwood warehouse with a bunch of strangers with whom you may emerge four hours (yes, it’s a major commitment) later possibly, unbelievably, as friends. To get in, email According to General Manager Leticia de Mello Bueno, Copperbox is exclusive but not exclusionary. Cost is from $125 inclusive of tax and tip.  Conversation with strangers is priceless.

Cafeina’s Fixes
In celebration of its impressive three years in biz in Wynwood, Cafeina has redesigned its mezzanine to channel a 1920s speakeasy. A new menu features fancy cocktails by Bar Lab’s mad scientist David Boxwill and Latin infused tapas by Chef Diego Pasqualiccho. In case you don’t get your fill at night, Wynwood’s first lounge has relaunched a new Sunday brunch appropriately titled Retox featuring $25 unlimited mimosas, Bloody Mary’s, cocktail pitchers and the mysterious Retox Punch featuring a mixologist’s choice of the day. “I wanted to honor our pioneering spirit by re-inventing ourselves yet again,” says owner Ivette Naranjo, who first opened Cafeina’s oversized steel doors during Art Basel Miami Beach 2009, making it the first official lounge in the burgeoning district to carry a full liquor license. “It’s been an amazing ride these past few years and I look forward to being part of the Arts District’s emergence as a fixture in Miami’s cultural landscape.”
Literary Libations
It’s hard to imagine the poetry of Dylan Thomas or Dorothy Parker without booze–theirs, that is. And because April is National Poetry Month, The Betsy South Beach, host hotel for O Miami, will be throwing parties, salons and exhibits with guest poets all month long. And booze. Lots of it. New as of April 1 is the hotel’s first “literary cocktail,” the $15 Mot Juste. Whether merely searching for a quip to regale the barkeep, or aiming to ink Endymion on a bar napkin, this cocktail will give you just the right words.  One quaff will make you feel as if you were drinking from Hippocrene.  In honor of National Poetry Month, BLT Steak Miami offers this “elixir of erudition.” How can you not drink to that?
Earlybird Gets the Bahn Mi

Chef Michael Jacobs, whose clientele includes the Miami Heat, has launched a special weekly Hidden Kitchen pop-up at Friday’s Earlybird party at Blackbird Ordinary, 729 SW 1st Ave., from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Located on the bar’s back patio, the menu changes frequently and features four different street-food-style items, all for $5 each. On that menu: veggie tacos, slow roasted pulled pork Bahn Mi, brisket and truffle mac and cheese, Blackbird hummus and chips and more.

Child’s Play
Immature party people are as ubiquitous as cocktail napkins, but at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6, the Miami Children’s Museum, 980 MacArthur Causeway, will host the 2013 Be a Kid Again Gala, where it’s ok to regress a little. This year’s theme, the Blues Brothers’ We’re on a Mission, celebrates exceptional educational programming by way of a multimedia stage production by Blues Brothers’ tribute Jake and Ellwood Blues Revue. Add to that cocktails, live auction hosted by Dave Barry and Paul Castronovo, Chicago-inspired food, and a dress code that’s “Blues Brothers cool,” and you’ve got some good excuses to channel at least your inner Belushi brother. $500; $1,000 -VIP.  Tables of Ten available.  Tickets at or call (305) 373-KIDS (5437).