Review: Steam Miami boils with curiosity, but simmers at points

Photo: Anthony Cave

If you turn up the heat on South Florida’s nightclub scene, you may soon find Steam Miami.

The 10,000 square-foot venue that sits on the former Vagabond space is wrought with intrigue, as we soon found out during an advance preview Friday night.

Steam has your standard nightclub fare: a large, open bar, a dance floor and plenty of VIP seating. But, the extras are well received too.

We watched as sultry film noir-style performers graced the pipes and beaded curtains on each side of the dance floor as well as behind the DJ booth. And, we weren’t quite sure what they were doing (maybe that’s the point).

The actors dressed in everything from pajamas to maid uniforms, complete with feather dusters. In-sync dances featured sexy nuns and skeletons. Some performers even engaged the crowd. Detectives searched for clues with a magnifying glass while another observed and took notes, ripping them out from her sketchpad before tossing it into the crowd.

The value in these pocket performances was that it did not take away from the main dance floor. All the while, tunes from “Murder She Wrote” to “No Diggity” played through multiple speakers throughout the venue.

Steam encourages this sort of people watching. Flashing camera phones usually signaled another performer, like one who swung overhead near the bar.

However, for all its fanfare, we saw some areas that could be improved.

The outside space, once graced by Vagabond’s fire pit, comes across as a barren detour for a smoke break or quick phone call. Moreover, there was no seating or sense of place, it seemed unfinished.

And, while there is ample seating inside, it results in a crowded dance floor, especially when the DJ transitions into “Suavemente” and body parts start flinging.

Nonetheless, Steam, which opened to the public Aug. 16, holds its own as it moves toward finishing construction, with an official grand opening slotted for October.

Can the venue maintain a boiling point? We will have to wait and see.