A local’s guide to Miami

A local’s guide to Miami

Local journalist Kat Bein has all the tips and tricks you need to survive and thrive during Miami Music Week. Or should that be WMC?

  • Kat Bein
  • 15 March 2016

The Neighbourhoods

SOUTH BEACH / SOBE

It’s very important to note that Miami Beach is an island. When tourists imagine Miami, this is what they picture. The Southern half of the island is connected to mainland Miami by three main bridges, and is home to Miami’s most famous clubs and hotels. Do not expect to make multiple trips between the Beach and the main-land in a day. If you venture to take a car, give yourself at least an hour for travel and parking. ‘SoBe’ is very touristy, very expensive, and often EDM-centric. SoBe megaclubs like LIV, Story, and Icon (formerly Mansion) require guests to meet a strict dress code. A walk along hotel-lined Collins Avenue is the perfect way to party hop and is your best bet for insane people watching.

WYNWOOD

Wynwood is a fast-growing feast of the senses, full of after-hours life and breathtaking art at every corner. Muralists travel from all over the world to leave their mark. It’s a compact area full of restaurants, bars, breweries, clubs, galleries, and boutiques. Bardot and the Electric Pickle are small in capacity, but fans count on cutting-edge acts and label showcases in the indie, experimental dance, and deep house worlds. Wood Tavern, Gramps, and Cafeina are three bar/lounges that get in on the festival action, turning outdoor spaces into makeshift venus to host national acts. The Mana Wynwood Production Village is rented out for large-scale performances with big production values, including Life & Death last year, and the rest of the district is rife with pop-up concerts and venues. Dirtybird has used the neighbourhood for its annual showcase the past three years running.

DOWNTOWN

HARD, Fool’s Gold, and the Windish Agency have made Downtown their favourite spot in recent years, although their preferred club, Grand Central, was recently demolished. Downtown’s Northeast 11th Street has picked up the nightlife pieces. Cocktail bar The Corner stays open until 8AM, while the cosy Libertine shares a 24-hour alcohol license with its neighbour Club Space and stays open until ‘whenever’. Space is beloved of DJs from Eric Prydz to Markus Schulz and Paul van Dyk, and is renowned for sunrise sets spanning six hours or more on its second-floor Terrace. In 2015 it opened a sister club named Heart, so far hosting acts from Duke Dumont to Gesaffelstein. Over the street is E11even, a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week party palace and strip club. Its Sunday night Hard 2 Leave parties, usually on the final night of Ultra, are known for huge DJ bookings and debauched fun.

[Photos: visionseven.co.uk, Rex]

How to Avoid Pissing Off the Locals

◙ Don’t walk around or take pictures in the middle of the street. Drivers here are insane, they don’t use their turn signals, and they already think you’re stupid
◙ Don’t throw your trash anywhere but in a garbage can
◙ Brush up on your basic Spanish. It’s possible your drivers won’t speak any English
◙ Be polite. Most of the locals are trying to work, and they’re kind of mad you’re here. They’ll be nicer to you if you’re nice to them

Best Quick Eats

◙ Sriracha House A late-night noodle bar on South Beach with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options and a wall of different srirachas
◙ La Moon This late-night snack food diner in Brickell specialises in Columbian hot dogs
◙ La Sandwicherie Local favourite late-night French sandwich and smoothie bar in Brickell and South Beach
◙ Enriqueta’s Authentic Cuban diner in Wynwood serving breakfast and lunch only
◙ Latin Cafe 2000 Traditional Latin- American cuisine serving east of Wynwood and South Beach
◙ Gigi’s, Wynwood Late-night, Asian-inspired urban dining averaging $15 a plate
◙ Zak The Baker, Wynwood Kosher bakery and cafe serving daily specials and sandwiches on fresh-baked bread
◙ Coyo Taco, Wynwood Hip Mexican street food and house-made tequila bar with a dance space in the back
◙ Manolo & Rene Cafeteria, Downtown 24-hour street food bar serving authentic Cuban coffee and sandwiches

Tourist Traps to Avoid

◙ Bayside An outdoor mall and flea market Downtown full of chain restaurants and photo opps for cruise tourists
◙ Lincoln Road A high-end outdoor mall with speciality shops and overpriced restaurants on South Beach. Unless you want to go on a shopping spree, there’s nothing for you here