[View of Brickell Key from Area 31 at night]
I’ve come a long way, baby.
In June, it will be 2 years since I moved to Miami ~paradise~. A lot of days I am pretty vocal about how much I hate Miami… The traffic, the hoards of lazy/undereducated people in their 20’s (and older!) living at home and buying bottles at LIV while struggling to finish their 37th semester at FIU, the traffic, the humidity which annihilates my hair, the traffic, etc.
But for every near-death experience on I-95, there is always a moment every few days (or weeks) which reminds me why Miami is called “The Magic City”. Call me trite AF, but it’s true.
[Brickell can be bewitching by day too… This was the first time I saw a manatee ~in the wild~]
One of the most magical tricks of the 305 has been the swift development of the Brickell neighborhood. Curbed called it “Manhattan’s smaller, warmer cousin to the South”, which is maybe why I feel so at home there. The main business hub of Dade County, with a Murray Hill kind of vibe, it tends to attract successful young professionals (or those with generous, not-so-young professional parents).
Additionally, the neighborhood is home to some of Miami’s coolest residential buildings, like the Icon and Viceroy.SLS Lux is currently under-construction, and from what I saw yesterday, it would likely be ~condo goals~*. If I decide to stay in Miami when my lease is up, I am strongly considering moving somewhere in Brickell, in spite of my automobile usage aversion.
However, there is a problem with Brickell (other than the fact that I paid $30 to park for just a couple of hours yesterday). The neighborhood has all of the right energy and #architectureporn views, accompanied by countless dollars/yen/roubles being thrown into future projects. But many of my current experiences there haven’t quite lived up to my expectations, or at least haven’t been as memorable as other places around Miami.
Honestly, I have had better meals at the hot food bar of Whole Foods in Brickell (which is actually a SCENE) than most of the pricier places I’ve been to **.
I have a master list which I send to any friends or friends of friends who ask me where to go in Miami. I am *~*kindly*~* reposting it here. Note that only 1 of the places (Crazy About You) is actually in Brickell, and that I even have an addendum about the food there.
Wood (for a more Williamsburg/hipster type clientele, but almost always packed)
Rose Bar at Delano (if you want somewhere quiet but upscale)
The Bazaar by Jose Andres
The Cypress Room
Cecconi’s at Soho House
Verde at the Perez Art Museum Miami
Gigi’s (food is okay but one of the only places open very late for dinner)
Bodega (if you walk through where it looks like the bathroom, there’s a secret club in the back on weekends)
Crazy About You (more for the views than food)
Wynwood Kitchen and Bar (food is just okay but its set right next to the Wynwood Walls, which is a cool place to bring guests)
There is one beloved Brickell spot, Area 31, which I need to add ASAP to my master list, though it is more Cabernet N’ Chill than WE BE CLUBBING.
Area 31 is part of the EPIC Hotel (and residences), which as of late, has been providing the most slayage. I’ve gone there for both business meetings and Bumble dates, and all have lived up to the hotel’s grandiose moniker.
[Panthera leo vibes]
Area 31 has some of the most killer views in Miami, but the lobby of the EPIC Hotel is not slacking either. The main interior area is decked out with Snapchat-approved art, as well as some of the most stunning people to walk the planet. There are always amazing mega-yachts parked outside (hi, Mark Cuban), as it is right alongside the Miami River. Best of all, there is a really cool art gallery inside (which was recently ranked #1 by Miami Magazine), called Avant Gallery. If Alec Monopoly melting Birkin bag statues and giant Karl Lagerfeld canvases by Niclas Castello are your thing, you will love it.
Though I haven’t been to Zuma or the spa/fitness center yet at the EPIC Hotel, both are high atop my 2016/305 bucket list.
*Not that I am anywhere remotely close to affording one…
** Though I am pretty excited to try out Komodo…