In the early 1900s, everyone from the fattened royals of Spain to starving artists on the balconies of Bourbon Street was imbibing of absinthe, the high-proof, emerald hued liquor from France that made for quite a Saturday night.
But critics, spurred by morals or payoffs from winemakers, wrung their hands over absinthe’s high alcohol content. They spun stories that “The Green Fairy,” as it was called, made its drinkers psychotic killers, raving lunatics, or just plain lazy drunks. It wasn’t long before the spirit was banned in many countries, including the U.S., until being vindicated and distilled again in recent years.
Of course, no hard evidence has proven that absinthe has psychedelic effects—but you can still pretend it does, at the new La Fee Verte in North Miami Beach. The members-only absinthe lounge looks like an upscale, turn-of-the-century Parisian bordello, awash in crimson lighting and artistic nudes, with burlesque shows every 20 minutes starting at midnight. Enjoy pasty-clad entertainers and contortionists from the comfort of your own suspended lounge swing, or recline with a group on the huge VIP bed .
Teasing from nearly naked performers may leave you dizzy, or maybe it’s the Green Fairy’s placebo effect—find your bearings at the main bar. Backlit to showcase vintage pinup photos and flanked by absinthe fountains, it’s stocked with top shelf liquors and 16 types of absinthe. Don’t like the green stuff straight up? Request any of La Fee Verte’s 20 signature absinthe-based cocktails, with names like Moulin Rouge, Devil’s Punch, and Eyes Wide Shut.
Nestled amidst tony North Beach neighborhoods, La Fee Verte eschews the velvet rope in favor of a membership policy (even the club’s website requires a password). Requirements for membership aren’t expressly disclosed to the public. “It’s not necessarily that you have to have money. It’s more important to have an expanded mind,” explains Navid Vergles, accomplished photographer and co-owner of the club.
“If you’re looking for a place with a high standard of service and a sense of seduction, this is that place,” he says. “We’re trying to bring romance back to the Miami nightlife scene…that sexy, old-school ambiance that just doesn’t exist anymore.”
Wanna get in on the good time? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and a manager will contact you. La Fee Verte is at 912 71st Street, Miami Beach; 305.865.5955. Open Fri.-Sat., 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.