WoWsouth beach miami
South Beach, Miami
Updated March 30, 2002
South Beach is an international resort destination. Walking down Ocean Avenue you might hear as many as five different languages, plus numerous American dialects. Miami is the salsa and latin rhythm capital of the US, so bring your dancing shoes.
Formerly known as the Art Deco district of Miami Beach. South Beach includes Ocean Avenue, next to the beaches, Washington Avenue where many of the clubs are located, Collins Avenue, and Espaniola Way which was the background scene for much of Miami Vice.
Ocean Drive is filled with people strolling, jogging, skating, shopping or sitting (inside and out) in the many cafes, bars and restaurants. Music, mostly latin rhythms, pulsates from the many restaurants and bars. Dinner at the restaurants with outdoor sidewalk seating is crowded through the early morning hours. Versace's mansion, now almost a shrine, is located on Ocean Avenue.
One very distinct feature of Ocean Avenue is that is has an abundance of beautiful male and female bodies in various stages of dress strolling the sidewalk. There are so many beautiful bodies, that the fashion models who frequent the district are lost in the crowd.
When the sun goes down the stars come out along with models, musicians, and others to move to the rhythm of South Beach's eclectic club and dining scenes. The scenes rival that of any international city or resort.
Muy bien South Beach.
Update September 4, 2001
During the morning and afternoons while we were visiting South Beach it was the same South Beach - interesting, enjoyable and fun
However, the evenings were disappointing; we hope that it was because of the labor day weekend. But we are getting the impression that SoBe in the evening is becoming an over-ripe melon, a victim of its own popularity. Too many clubs, including Opium and Nikki's had an attitude, a number had closed and Ocean Drive at 8:00 pm was at gridlock with the crowds. Way too many drunk, obnoxious 25 year old adolsescents. Unfortuately, in the evening Ocean Drive is starting to remind us of Bourbon street at its worst. This might be why so many of the cool locals are going elsewhere for their evening entertainment. We hope this unfortunate trend is reversed.
South Beach has some of the most interesting beaches in Miami. Although not necessarily quiet and secluded, the best area is between 6th and 13th street.
From 10th street and above there are fewer people. The center of the beaches for South beach is between 8th and 9th street. The beach area by 12 th street is Gay, but subdued. Don't bother with the beach at 1st street unless you are still in high school.
Parking is difficult, but try the city parking garages on 7th and 12th street.
Mangos Tropical Café
900 Ocean Drive
Style: Casual latin tropical, open courtyard, latin rhythms, high relaxation and enjoyment. Dancing, drinking, and casual dining.
Mangos is a latin tropical bar, dance center and restaurant in the cenetr of the At Deco district. The staff is one of the friendliest and attractive in South Beach. Mangos' interior elements consists of a Mexican paver floor, open courtyard, palm trees, wall murals and ceiling fans. The second floor is open to the courtyard and dance floor.
Mangos offers sidewalk and inside dining. The food is good but is best for lunch or snacks.
Hosts and bar tenders have the build of someone out of a gym or a model, they look good. The hostesses include some model types and all the hostesses look great in their sultry outfits.
A real feature to the scene is that the hosts and hostesses take turns stopping what they are doing and dancing either on the dance floor, sidewalk, or on the bar. Women customers seem too enjoy watching the hostesses dance on top of the bar, their interest seems more in learning the subtle salsa moves, also the women customers seem captivated in watching the hosts dance. The friendly hosts and hostesses are some of the best Meregue dancers in Maimi and seem to really enjoy what they are doing; especially when they dance its clear they are having fun.
Mangos is packed in the evening with guests dancing, watching others dance or just listening to the latin rhythms. Mangos is not for the crowd shy salsa lovers who want a tame scene. There are few other places in South Beach with such a high fun and enjoyment atmosphere.
No visit to South beach is complete without a visit to Mangos. Muy bien Mangos.
Nikki's Beach Club
101 Ocean Drive
Style: Ibiza and St. Tropez meet South Beach?
Updated September 5, 2001 - Nikki's is now possibly overated and is on our watch list. See updated review below.
WoW, this club is more like a small exclusive resort. Upstairs is an elgant restaurant and below is a nite club. But outside is where the real action is with several bars and intimate places to relax or party. Nikki's is all about the scene. The Sunday afternoon beach party is the place in South Beach and the line to get in is very long. Surprisingly, WoW's roving reporter noted that on a Friday noon in April Nikki's was surpringly quiet, an ideal time for an enjoyable gathering. However, by evening, the club was up to full speed, with an eclectric crowd dancing in the sand.
Popular drink - vodka Red Bull. Skip the beach outside the club unless you are15 or younger.
Nikki's is a place to go and enjoy.
Nikki's Update - September 4, 2001
We're a bit concerned over our last visit to Nikki's and have put Nikki's on our watch list, it may be further downgraded. On a Friday night it was closed. Its famous Sunday party was disappointing and we don't think the $20 cover charge was worth it.
Nikki's used to be noted for beautiful girls and friendly service - like too many clubs in South Beach, those days may be gone. When we were there, fat ugly women outnumbered the "beautiful" ones. Nikki's reputation as a place for models and wonna be models now seems overated; among locals it is still noted as a place where attractive girls go in search of a sugar daddy. Too bad, since too many men seemed old, fat and ugly. Those men under 40 seemed to be trying too hard to be "cool". We hope the Sunday we were there isn't typical of the new Nikki's.
Other Clubs, Bars
- 136 Collins Ave
The current hot spot in South Beach.
Frankly we were very disappointed with our first experience and wouldn't recommend waiting in line for one hour to maybe get in. On a Saturday night, at 2:00 am the doorman, who was French, displayed some of the worst qualities of the French - racism and sexism. While we were waiting in line, the doorman was only admitting people who would speak French to him. As if this weren't bad enough, he had the French attitude of announcing to those waiting outside that they were too crowded inside and would not be admitting any more people except women in groups of two or more, since they needed more women in the place. Judging by the women who were then admitted, we don't think it helped the situation inside the club, Opium got what it deserved. We thought this attitude went out with Studio 54.
The next day was a little better. We were able to get in because we went to the restaurant at 10:30, before the club opened at 11:00 pm.
The lower floor dance area is visually strong with a cross between a Shanghai/oriental theme combined with a modernistic look emphasing whites, reds and pinks. Most of the Chinese characters written on the walls were meant for westerners since they made little sense to someone who is Chinese and was trying to read them.
The club seems to be suffering from the new SoBe club problem of way too much attitude, and a VIP area complete with the usual - ostentatious, visible but closed to non VIPs.
The average patron at Opium didn't seem that much better than those found in other trendy SoBe clubs; but at Opium most were better dressed. A few of the ladies were knock-outs, including one stunning lady from Qingdao, China. Unfortunately there weren't too many of those. Other WoW people included a cross cultural, very attractive lesbian couple, both 6 feet tall - one Chinse, one red head; also adding to the scene was a Marine in dress blues, nice.
Delano bar by the pool
Nice place for a casual, but pricey drink. A nice touch is that the part of the pool by the bar is shallow (about one foot), a number of bar guests moved their lounge chairs into the shallow part of the pool - nice way to cool down on a hot night.
Strictly salsa on Friday nights. The hottest salsa dance scene in South Beach.
Update note (9/4/01): The club was closed on a Friday on a August night when we visited it; not sure if the closing is permanent.
Magic Garden, Hotel
One of the best hotel outdoor parties in South Beach, A playful environment. Dance, live music, art fashion shows, pool sculpture and marshmellow roasting on the sand deck. Many chic beautiful people. Fridays only.
1235 Washington Ave
A one-time movie theatre (where have we heard this before). 40,000 sq ft with nine bars, four dance floors and five lounges.
An indoor/outdoor club and lounge. Outdoor set has cabanas, indoor has a large dance floor.
With its ever changing theme nights, Crobar seems to have something for everyone, but not on the same night.
956 Washington Ave.
Style: Modern, open, clean chic, elegant
Astor Hotel is an elegant oasis in the heart of bustling South Beach . The hotel is two blocks from Ocean Avenue, close to most of South Beach's locations. It is a chic, intimate 40 room setting that is considered one of South Beach's premiere luxury hotels. Unfortunately the hotel bar seems to close at the whim of the bartender; too bad for an otherwise good hotel. The pool is small, but nice and accessable 24 hours; a nice way to end an interesting evening in South Beach
Astor is the hotel for numerous models and celebrities. It has a modern, clean open, natural look.
Nice features include a friendly staff and a cozy private pool area. The rooms are modern and stylish with audio/video amenities, large marble baths, and double insulated walls. Try the Junior Suite
Other chic hotels:
A luxury hotel on Ocean Avenue. Most rooms have good ocean views. The predominant color for rooms and room furnishings is white, white, white. If you have to choose between The Tides and the Delano, choose The Tides and go to the Delano for a drink if want a visually heavy atmosphere.
Casa Grande lists itself as a suite hotel, but the rooms are closer to apartments. Good location, but the purple and lime painted rooms and mexican paver floors take a bit of getting used to. In any case, consider this place if you are looking for a hotel on Ocean Avenue. Otherwise try the Astor Hotel.
A visually impressive hip hotel. But staff attitude and the expensive rooms do not seem to justify a stay at the Delano.
Shore Club Hotel - 1901 Collins
A new rival to the Delano. Has 325 small rooms, lobby has a "minimal style" e.g. posished concrete floors. Hopefully the new competition will help the Delano staff change their attitude an doverpriced rooms.
Rooms with minimalist décor and lots of amenities. A vertical pond in the lobby attracts beautiful young things. The Friday night party held poolside, draws the chic crowd.
Sheraton Biscayne Bay
Although not in South Beach, its close enough in Miami to be a reasonable commute. Very reasonably priced for the quality it offers. Try Expedia.com for a good rate.
1444 Collins Ave.
Great seafood in a small, stylish and edgy setting. The bar is more of an altar complete with candles. Behind the bar are supposedly erotic wall murals; we could only identify some male faces and a male breast, the rest we were not sure of.
A lot of international visitors mixed with local people. For those familiar with San Francisco, it will remind you of Mecca, but with better seafood.
800 Ocean Drive
Sit at the sidewalk tables or on the terrace to watch Miami drift by at this trendy moderately priced eclectric café built around an art deco newsstand. Its glorified diner and breakfast menu of light and healthy fare is so-so as is the service, but you're going for the scene not the food. This is a location in South Beach where within three tables you will hear Italian, Spanish, and the dialects of New York and San Francisco. Not yet discovered by the Lan Noy's of Shanghai, but watch out when it is discovered by them.
News is also the location of an international colelction of
newspapers. Like most of South Beach diners, the food is okay,
but that's not the reason to go to South Beach.
915 Lincoln Road
Trendy. Not bad for Pan-Asian seafood. Although some of the "Chinese" dishes tasted more Japanese. While tasty, the Szechuan (suh-chwaun) Sea Bass tasted more like terayaki sea bass, but still very good. The pan seared scallops were also good. Very good friendly service. Casual space, can be busy
Toni's Sushi Bar
1208 Washington Ave.
Not bad. The sushi selection was good., but not much of a collection of sashimi. Try to get a table in the Japanese room, the booths are great for a date.
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