Openings and Closings

 

Nightclubs and eateries struggle to survive summer in the Magic City

Open and Closed

By Micaela Hood

With the rising temps and threats of hurricanes things can seem shaky at times during a Miami summer Just ask any business owner forced to close up shop during South Florida’s hottest and least profitable months.

It was pegged the “Evolution of Nightlife’’ by its owners, but last week Gulfstream Park closed the doors of MI-VI. Sad since the relatively new club - brought to you by Miami’s nightlife king Gerry Kelly - just opened in January 2010.  We haven’t been able to confirm what happened but some say MI-VI’s owners owe Gulfstream a lot of dough.

The trendy venue - which was always pretty packed when we went - has seen its share of celebs including the cast of MTV’s Jersey Shore, NFL star Michael Vick, Kill Bill’s Vivica Fox, Ludacris and Vanessa Williams.But even the swanky can get out of control.Not unlike a night in South Beach, we witnessed a few fights outside the club and police hauling away the naughty. Which makes us wonder; perhaps the late-night brawls were too much hassle for the likes of Gulfstream. 

Calls to Kelly and casino staff were not returned.

Alas, there is some good news for clubbers heading north. Over the next few months the newly constructed Village of Gulfstream will open clubs including Greenhouse (an eco-friendly venue), Santo, Bartini and Yardhouse.

Tonino Lamborghini Caffé Corsa cruised into Hallandale Beach Feb. 11,among the first businesses to open at The Village at Gulfstream Park. Now the upscale Italian restaurant shut its doors at the 410,000-square-foot shopping center.The upscale Italian restaurant, from Tonino Lamborghini, son of the famed carmaker, was next door to chain Brio Tuscan Grille.

You may have been to Santo’s Lincoln Road spot. It closed down two months ago. Staff confirmed they would also shut the doors of Novecento July 16. The Gulfstream version of Santo (slated for an August opening) will not serve food but will continue its established Thursday night Latin parties - live band and all. They’re also planning to cater to the locals with a Wednesday night Russian-themed soiree.

So what will happen to the now defunct Miami Beach Santo? Word is after a heavy renovation it will be renamed the Lincoln Road Irish Pub and open in October.

Last month, we saw the closing of another South Beach bar that was known for its $20 beer tower. The Quarterdeck has folded.  Rumors are the restaurant - frequented by locals who liked the drink specials - couldn’t make the grade due to (what else) money woes. (Attention folks who run Yardhouse - we think this could be your new spot on South Beach. Think about it.)

Other South Beach restaurants that now sport a "Sorry, We’re Closed" sign on their window: Outback Steakhouse and El Scorpion (which will relocate to the Design District).

David Kelsey, president of the South Beach Hotel and Restaurant Association said it’s hard for business to say afloat in summer when there are no people.

“You need visitors here," he said. "You have a certain amount of base business from residents and people coming over the causeway but the icing on the cake is our tourists.’’

Kesley said business drops about 30 percent for restaurants and 22 percent for clubs during the slow season.

“My concern is the lack of promotion for summer tourism. South Beach by now should be a mature tourist destination but we’re not promoted as one [in the summer].’’ 

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