By Nikki Novo
On any given Friday night, walk to the north end of the iconic Delano hotel and you’ll undoubtedly find a crowd of hopeful partygoers, patiently waiting underneath a white canopy for their chance to enter South Beach’s latest obsession — The Florida Room. At this sought-after lounge, it doesn’t matter how beautiful you are, how many girls you have in your party or even how much money you can front the doorman. The only way you’re getting in is if a) you’ve made a table reservation in advance (bottles start at $350) or b) you’ve managed to finagle your way onto Morgan Hotel Group’s exclusive permanent guest list. If you don’t fit either of the above criteria, please step aside. Don’t take it personal; this outing just involves some extra planning. For those of you who’ve planned ahead, know that the drama and time waiting in line is well worth it.
Once past the velvet ropes, one of the half-dozen bouncers will quickly point you to what seems to be the basement of the hotel (formerly the gym), where sounds of a live Latin jam band lead you to the entrance of the dark, cozy lounge. The intimate space was designed by rock star Lenny Kravitz and inspired by his aunt’s ’50s-style Florida room – a room he remembers being the place where all the fun happened. Smoked bronze mirrored ceilings, plush seating areas, Swarovski crystal chandeliers and an elegant piano bar with a replica of Kravitz’s lucite grand piano gives you the feeling this room’s fate will be similar to that of Auntie Kravitz’s room.
After the clock strikes midnight, the live music ends, leaving the DJ to take center stage. As you make your way to the bar, you’re guaranteed to notice the eclectic crowd. From your 20-something locals to the random 50-year-old guy in the Tommy Bahama shirt (but with money to burn), this just might be the most genuine crowd in South Beach. Between the infectious good energy and the diverse playlist old-school hip-hop, ’80s pop, disco, even a little Bob Marley — you can’t help but get down.
Even if you decide to go with bottle service, you must pay a visit to the bar, which features over 30 specialty cocktails, hand-crafted by not just your average bartenders, but by master mixologists. You won’t find any sugary syrups or improper shakes at this bar. Only real, fresh ingredients combined with impeccable technique and quality spirits make up cocktails like the raspberry mojito — open to discussion, but possibly the best in town.
Florida Room, The Delano Hotel, 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-672-2000