Let’s do a little South Beach nightlife math:
$40 [on a normal night] gets you past the velvet ropes + ($25 to get a drink in a plastic cup x 4 [minimum]) = $140.
Oh, wait. You should tip that bartender that smiled at you, so add another $20. And that lady in the bathroom that passed you a paper towel, maybe $5?
Out the gate you have invested a nice chunk of change on your night out in Miami Beach.
Miami nightlife vet Shawn Shahnazi, Gables High and FIU grad who has been involved in clubs from Alcazaba to Club Envy to Justin’s in Aventura and currently owns Midtown speakeasy-style bar Prohibition, is offering a solution to the nightlife shakedown in the form of Copa Room. The new nightclub, which occupies the former Mansion-turned-Icon space on Washington Avenue, is Miami Beach’s first all-inclusive nightclub. You pay a flat fee and check “your wallet and your ego” at the door, says Shahnazi.
The concept is not new: If you’ve been to Coco Bongo in Cancun, Mexico, then you know what Copa Room is trying to do. In fact, Shahnazi was going to partner with the owners of the Cancun club initially, but ended up going it alone.
The club, which he describes as “Mango’s on steroids,” charges a flat $80-$100 at the door or $125-$150 if you want access to the Club Level. The fee gives you unlimited access to a premium open bar all night and includes tips, so once inside you really don’t need your wallet anymore. Seriously. Florida residents always get a $20 discount and through the end of February get half off at the door.
Blending tropical hits with a staged show, Copa Room seeks to answer the ultimate nightlife quandary: “We’re here. Now what do we do?” The answer is grab a drink and watch this Celia Cruz impersonator belt out “La vida es un carnaval” until you start to feel tipsy enough to dance to Power 96’s DJ Kaos’ mix.
The cast at Copa Room includes ten dancers, two singers, four aerialists plus video, sound and light techs. The shows include impersonations of everyone from JLo to Beyonce, Rihanna, Pitbull, Madonna, Aerosmith, Madonna and Michael Jackson – performers that everyone from Kendall to Kentucky will like.
Shahnazi is betting on the concept, which he has been trying to bring to Miami since 2009. “I’m not trying to compete with LIV or Story or any of those guys. We’re going for normal people who are trying to have a good time. From shorts to tuxedos, everyone is welcome.”
Copa Room, 1235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; www.coparoommiami.com