By CB Mills
Just north of Interstate 195 and just west of Biscayne Boulevard is 18 square blocks of interior decorating paradise. The Design District is home to over 50 galleries and showrooms, including Luminaire, Holly Hunt, Fendi and Adriana Hoyos. It’s enough to make Delta Burke blush. However if you only visit for high-end window shopping, you’re missing out on much of its recent transformation.
It’s no secret that South Beach, particularly Lincoln Road, is driving small businesses out with high costs. Recently Pacific Time got fed up with monthly rents approaching the price of a Mercedes and moved into the Design District. Take your beloved, enjoy the (slightly) reduced prices and don’t worry if you can’t get a seat, world class fare abounds. Michael’s Genuine, Brosia and Fratelli Lyon are all within a block. For a lighter (read: cheaper) lunch, hit Pashas or Orange Café.
After your third lap of showrooms and when the concrete gets to your corns, dip into the Enea Garden Lounge for an instant escape from the city. Located beside the Moore Building, this "modern rainforest" is great for eating a bagged lunch. It’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and at night for special events such as each Second Saturday Artwalk. For complete privacy, rent the lounge for parties, photo shoots or yoga retreats.
Another nearby garden, while not as impressive at first glance, makes up for its small stature in heart. The first Guerilla Garden in Florida was planted last year at the corner of 41st Street and NE First Avenue. Well, at all four corners actually. Charter members of Tree-0-5 (get it?!) banded together under the cover of darkness and sowed rundown land with native plants. Sorry, they don’t do requests.
If it’s a school day, ask the kids at nearby DASH (Design and Architecture High School) and they’ll tell you your shoes are tired. Remedy this by heading north on Second Avenue to Culture Kings to score some new kicks. This sneaker boutique can set you up with anything from retro Jordans to one-of-a-kind pieces from their local artist series. Culture Kings just celebrated their two-year anniversary, which is about 14 in boutique years. In addition to sneakers, they offer clothing, music and art toys.
You’ve now entered Buena Vista East. The residents of this historic neighborhood have taken pride in their community in recent years, making it a scenic area for a romantic stroll (just stay east of North Miami Avenue). During your walk, if you see a young lady skate by on a longboard, follow her to the Buena Vista Bistro. Callie, the spunky hostess, will cheerfully set you up with a table at this hidden treasure. Check the chalkboard in back for daily specials, the mirrored wall for a fine selection of wines or ask Eric, your waiter who looks like he just stepped out of a Tarantino movie. The space formerly housed the restaurant A and is expanding this month to include an outdoor patio featuring live music.
After dinner, walk around the corner to Amendment 21 Lounge. Candle-lit and laidback, it’s a stylish choice to wind down the night.
Where’s your favorite Design District Date spot? Leave a review!