The space inside the Albion Hotel, 1650 James St., Miami Beach, is undergoing a complete overhaul for its newest venue Repour, opening Monday, Feb. 2.
Repour, pronounced “rapport,” is the brainchild of Miami mixologist Isaac Grillo, formerly of HaVen Lounge. He burst onto the cocktail scene several years ago at the W Hotel’s Living Room lounge, where Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi of Bar Lab (The Broken Shaker and 27 Restaurant) were carving their niche, along with a small group of talented trendsetters, with the intro of the high-end cocktail concept to South Beach.
Grillo’s bar will have a decidedly relaxed vibe inspired by his childhood in Colorado. “It’s just a super chill environment there,” he said.
He handled the entire remodel with his wife, his friends, and family, using repurposed wood cut by hand, for example. Grillo calls the build-out a family affair.
“There are so many personal touches in this bar like the old portrait of my grandfather when he started his own business. Without his support I wouldn’t have been able to open this one,” Grillo says. “He also drank Jim Beam for 80 years and I will serve a special homage cocktail in his honor.”
Transforming the space, formerly a sophisticated “medicinal cocktail bar” known as Drogerie, from ultra-luxe to laidback was a priority for Grillo and his team.
But make no mistake, this is not a blithe disregard for Miami’s elevated cocktail scene. Grillo sees it as more of an evolution.
The back-to-basics philosophy is sweeping through the culinary and bar scene around the world, and it’s a trend that ultimately gives the cocktail lover more options for imbibing.
Repour, like some of its popular counterparts in town, is equipped with a garden featuring fresh herbs like spicy basil, pineapple sage and chocolate mint for an eclectic array of cocktails that will rotate. There are also plans to grow and expand the garden offerings as the bar grows in the coming months.
Grillo, whose creativity knows no bounds in the kitchen, has been making homemade liquor jams for years. Look for his strawberry ginger with AfroHead Rum and Root liquor, as well as a mixed berry jam with Campari and sweet vermouth.
Another fun component is his collection of whisk(e)y stones in the raw form— frozen and served in stirred cocktails from the garden— in lieu of ice. Though hand chipped ice from giant blocks will also be on deck for the traditionalists.