By Natalie P. McNeal
Death to body glitter, fluorescent wristbands and lines longer than at a free-food giveaway. For those who are not quite settled but refuse to go to a club where they a) hawk drink specials on Ocean Drive or b) have internet coupon passes, here are a few places to party with pleasure.
Hotel Hopping: It’s a weekend night. You want to have a drink, and maybe wiggle a bit with some friends. The legendary cluster of haute hotels on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach – the names Delano, Raleigh and Catalina should ring a bell – flaunt attractive décor, people and music. The drinks are pricey but the entrance is free. This crowd scrubs before hanging out, so you needn’t worry about people who crawl off the beach in rubber flip-flops and cover-ups. These bars are the right place to entertain out of town guests who want the sexy, tropical Miami Beach experience.
Delano, 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-672-2000
An Oasis: On the first Friday of every month, South Florida’s urban professionals throw a happy hour at 510 Ocean, located, conveniently enough, at 510 Ocean Drive (located on the first floor of the Bentley Hotel). Think young, gifted and black, version 2.0. While everyone appears to be gainfully employed, it’s not too networky. Ladies, fitted cocktail dresses will do, and men, don’t be afraid to show a bit – but only a bit – of that chest. It’s why you’ve been to the gym all week, isn’t it? Afterward the crowd goes to B.E.D. on Washington to keep the upscale party going.
510 Ocean, 510 Ocean Drive, 33139; 305-531-1788
A Friendly Dive: With Automatic Slims, think Coyote Ugly for adults. With locations in Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach, this clubby bar is a down-to-earth place to wild out. If you like rock and roll, vintage Beastie Boys, and a few pretty faces, this is your scene. Warning: Prudes need not attend.
Automatic Slims, 1216 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-695-0795 and 15 W. Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale; 954-522-8585
A Marina Haunt: Hollywood’s Nikki Marina – sister to Nikki Beach on South Beach – is an atypical younger sibling. The lounge and restaurant is more laid-back than its older sis, but still visually appealing. Hit the scene on Thursday nights, when the crowd is a mix of Miami Dolphins who don’t feel like driving to South Beach and attractive professionals looking to make a connection.
Nikki Marina, 3660 S. Ocean Drive, Hollywood; 954-602-8650
No Fuss, Just Music: A mainstay on Miami Beach, Jazid keeps it all about the music. That means a homey, cool place where all kinds can go and be hip without intimidation and velvet-rope snobbery. Live sets range from funk, jive, reggae or Latin rock. Upstairs, there’s always a DJ, usually spinning house, hip hop or funk.
Jazid, 1342 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach; 305-673-9372