When the weather cools down in Miami, everything else heats up. Days get shorter, nights become longer, and the landscape and local culture change as new hotels, restaurants and bars open, making the city even more sizzling. Eleni Gage gives you the hit list of the 10 best
Cantina La Veinte
The first U.S. outpost of this haute Mexican restaurant just opened on the ground floor of the waterfront Icon tower in trendy Brickell. But the views of Biscayne Bay and the see-and-be-seen crowd aren’t the only eye candy on offer. The restaurant also features a floor-to-ceiling bar made of onyx and an open kitchen where the tortas, pork shanks, guacamole and more are made to order. All plates are meant for sharing, so bring three amigos, or make some new ones. For more casual meals, there’s a market offering sandwiches, horchata and wine, on the lower floor.
The Drawing Room
Come October, the newly renovated Shelbourne hotel will have more to brag about than its masterful face-lift. Mixologist Albert Trummer, who opened Apotheke in New York, is bringing his brand of “apothecary cocktails” to the new lobby bar, the Drawing Room. The drinks will feature South American botanicals and be mixed tableside on rolling carts. Locals, whose whistles were wet by Trummer’s pop-up Drogerie last year, will undoubtedly flock to the bar — perhaps before or after dinner at another eagerly anticipated opening at the venue, Morimoto, the first Miami restaurant by famed Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.
15th Anniversary Exhibit at the Margulies Collection
In its original incarnation, the Margulies Collection was one of the first examples of the innovative Miami model of museum, in which a private collection is opened to the public. It was also one of the establishing institutions in the burgeoning Wynwood Art District. Now housed in a recently expanded 45,000-square-foot converted warehouse, the collection will host its 15th anniversary exhibit from October 29 through April 25, 2015, showcasing new works by major contemporary sculptors such as Richard Long and Mario Merz, photographers including Domingo Milella, and painters like Jeff Elrod.
With its mosaic-studded pool, nymph-and-dolphin fountain, and a neon sign that would make Don Draper weep, the Vagabond Hotel is a landmark of Midcentury Miami Modern architecture. After a complete renovation by developer Avra Jain, the property has become a welcome addition to Miami’s present, part of the transformation of the once-seedy Biscayne Boulevard corridor. Since its August reopening, the 45-room boutique gem has been embraced by locals, who flock to the poolside Cabana Bar for its loungers, poolside games and retractable movie screen for outdoor showings. And there’s more to come: The in-house restaurant/bar/gallery, helmed by Venezuelan-born art collector and restaurateur Alvaro Perez Miranda and also called the Vagabond, will open in October.
Miami scenesters, rejoice: This fall brings the opening of the first sit-down restaurant at the Freehand, the city’s beloved hipster hostel. A complement to the James Beard Award–nominated courtyard bar, the Broken Shaker, 27 will be a two-story indoor-outdoor restaurant housed in a 1930s dwelling on the property, one that’s been updated with Freehand-esque touches such as a rooftop garden over the Kitchen Pavilion. The chef, James Seyba, is a Michael Schwartz protégé who has been running the Broken Shaker for months, so you can be sure the food will feature locally cultivated produce and the cocktails will be expertly muddled with house-grown herbs.
Sweet Liberty Bar and Supply Co. South Beach
Here’s an early Christmas present for Miami residents: Celebrated local bartender John Lermayer (formerly of the Florida Room and the Regent Cocktail Club) and restaurateur David Martinez are opening a bar and gastropub that will serve bottled cocktails, wine and house-made sodas (as well as classic American bar food such as lobster rolls and po’boys). And for those looking for an actual Christmas present to pick up after a highball or two, there will be a cocktail supply shop on-site at the as yet undisclosed location, which will have “vintage industrial” decor.
“Beatriz Milhazes: Jardim Botanico” at the Perez Art Museum Miami
There hasn’t been a quiet moment since the Perez Art Museum Miami opened, in December 2013. After that big debut came the inauguration of Museum Park, the waterfront green space in which PAMM is located, in July 2014. And in 2016 the Frost Science Museum will open on-site. But the next big event is the first large-scale U.S. exhibition of Beatriz Milhazes, the Brazilian painter named one of the top 10 female artists in the world by Artnews. From September 19 to January 11, 2015, PAMM will host “Beatriz Milhazes: Jardim Botanico,” bringing her vibrant paintings to a city that’s as colorful as her work.
Thompson Miami Beach
On the hotel-studded white sand shore of Miami Beach, everything old is new again, as the chic Thompson hotel chain opens its latest, a 380-room property in a circa 1940 Art Deco skyscraper. Along with two pools, a spa and the 1930s House, a throwback to the classic hand-crafted cocktails scene in a vintage bungalow on the grounds, the Thompson will be home to the newest offering from one of Miami’s all-time favorite chefs: James Beard Award winner Michelle Bernstein, of Michy’s, will open Seagrape, a 267-seat “Floridian brasserie” for breakfast, lunch, dinner and poolside dining. Hotel reservations are now being accepted for November 14, with a soft opening of the property scheduled for late October.
The next hot restaurant in the ever-expanding culinary mecca of midtown Miami is a spin-off from outside the neighborhood — but not too far outside. The man behind South Beach’s romantic Villa Azur (restaurateur Jean-Philippe Bernard, as well as Miami nightlife impresario Michael Martin) are primed to open Brasserie Azur, a Mediterranean-themed spot that will serve lunch, dinner and, surprisingly, traditional afternoon tea. Interior designer François Frossard and a French chef will make sure the French-Mediterranean food is authentic and that the ambience has that je ne sais quoi.
Miami Beach Edition
Leave it to hotelier Ian Schrager to open a resort that has the one thing no other Miami Beach property has: an ice rink. When the Miami Beach Edition opens in late November (they’re taking room reservations for January 2015 now), along with the unique rink, the hotel will boast an outdoor movie theater, a bowling alley and a nightclub. It will also feature not one but two new Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurants: the Matador Room, which will focus on Spanish and South American cuisine, and the Market, a more casual “marketplace-style” eatery. And, of course, the hotel also comes complete with what are standard amenities in Miami Beach: two pools, a spa and a location right on the shore.