Tag Archives: Drink

SLS Hyde Beach South Beach, Miami, Florida

South Beach’s See and Be Seen Bars

 

When top-tier mixologists bring their A-game to hotel bars, it’s time for cocktail hour. Think infused vodka, drinks prepared tableside and specialties of the house that are genius because of ingredient pairings. Whether these hotels are established nightlife icons or must stops because of the heritage and beauty of their architecture, all have something that makes them stand out as SoBe marvels. Offering stylish interiors, swimming pools that are glistening wonders, and city or ocean vistas from balconies that are unmatched, these hotels are made for locals opting for staycations, out-of-towners and stunning A-list globetrotters.

Living Room, W South Beach

The Living Room bar at the W South Beach hotel knows how to amp up its glamorous scene with a heightened energy level that is constant. This nightlife icon pairs a posh vibe and gorgeous décor with cocktails that are both artistic in appearance and divine to taste. Ranked repeatedly as one of the top cocktail spots, guests are as swanky as the surroundings, where white Mongolian alpaca chairs and comfy Italian sofas dot the floor space. On the terrace, balmy breezes accompany drink orders. The latest imbibing innovations here include concoctions from Scott Beattie, a famed San Francisco cocktail designer and author of Artisanal Cocktails. Sourcing local seasonal produce from the Verde Gardens Farmers Market in neighboring rural Homestead, he creates cocktails that incorporate herbs, essential oils, edible flowers and top-shelf spirits.

South Beach W Hotel, Miami Florida, South Beach’s See and Be Seen Bars

The SoBe chic lounge areas at the Living Room Bar in the W South Beach are designed for socializing over artisanal cocktails, like blueberry acai martinis and papaya daiquiris. Photo: W Hotels

The Crimson Cooler is vodka infused with essential oils of ginger, shiso and galangal; it’s served with marinated blueberries and mint. The Barrel, using a liter of your choice spirit, is prepared tableside for a group of at least four; the Moroccan Night is a favorite Barrel choice made with mandarin orange blossom vodka, fresh lime, cardamom syrup and pomegranate. As for hotel accommodations, the W offers studios, suites and a penthouse, which are enhanced by private balconies that provide bird’s-eye views of the Atlantic shoreline. The W king bed is amazing and plush with a pillow-top mattress and 350-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets.

Hyde Beach, SLS Hotel South Beach

Hyde Beach and the streamlined hotel where this eye-popping lounge resides is indulgence personified. Located where the art-deco Ritz Plaza once sat on Collins Avenue at 17th Street, this is where drinks, food and style are taken very seriously. The SLS is another win-win by prolific boutique hotelier, Sam Nazarian, who partnered with what reads like a Who’s Who list: interior designer Philippe Starck, pop icon and interior designer Lenny Kravitz, and James Beard award- winner chef José Andrés. Curated for high drama by Starck, the sleekly designed Hyde Beach accommodates more than 1,000 guests in its timber wood surroundings and spans 8,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, flecked with beautiful bodies.

South Beach SLS Guest Pool, Miami, Florida

Hyde Beach at the SLS South Beach takes the action poolside with its open-air lounging areas and cabanas. Photo: Skott Snider/SLS

It travels from the interior to two exterior pool decks, cabanas and the Hyde Garden. Disc jockeys are on duty, and after dark, the swell of the beat takes over. Being swept up visually is part of the plan. There’s vintage-y whimsy thanks to Starck, who integrates a white backdrop with plenty of miscellaneous bric-a-brac and tropical slipcovered sofas in muted foliage hued prints, plus vintage sand and surf wall art, and breathtaking glass chandeliers. Guests seeking signature sips request the cucumber watermelon margarita composed of El Cartel, Cointreau, watermelon and lime or the Hyde Beach Mojito, with flavor options presented daily by servers. Room interiors are resplendently romantic with the influences of historic French aristocracy, as evidenced by the beauty of the headboard and cabinetry detailing. Mirrored ceilings are a bonus.

Rose Bar, Delano Hotel

The Delano Hotel  is a 1947 art-deco icon that was once the tallest building on Collins Avenue. Its swanky watering hole, the Rose Bar, pays homage to one of the hotel’s builders, Rose Schwartz. Situated off the glamorous Philippe Starck-designed lobby where a single silvery-toned chair invites guests to stop, sit and playfully take selfies. There are also diaphanous drapes flowing against the walls, coupled with framed mirrors that demand a glance. To a backdrop of dimmed lights, deep-set cushy couches are set back for privacy and are idyllic people-watching posts. It’s a given, this discreet sophisticated and sexy hideaway is rendezvous central.

South Beach, Delano Rose Bar, Miami

The Delano Hotel’s glamorous Rose Bar is a magnet for A-listers and one of the best spots from which to people watch while sipping the bar’s signature Bella cocktail. Photo: Delano

Model-like guests and hipster locals chill over cocktails with hefty price tags. The house favorite matches the rose hues of the bar, with an intoxicating concoction of rum, Prosecco and fresh strawberry puree; it goes by the name of “Bella.” The ambience of gorgeous deco chandeliers, jetsetters and a rear bar mirror for eyeing all the beautiful people make this bar a must stop. After, continue the party with DJ tunes at FDR at Delano, the subterranean nightclub. Rooms at the hotel face the sea and the city and are available in an array of configurations from suites and bungalows to oceanfront king rooms. Interiors are elegant with a nuance of barefoot chic; originally designed by Philippe Starck, the white-on-white room concepts have been refreshed with moss-colored Connemara marble, Monstera plants and apple green-edged hand-felted rugs.

 

Key West Sloppy Joes, Florida

Key West’s Infamous Duval Crawl

 

When the sun sets over Key West, the flicker of street lamps turning on in the dusky light means one thing: It’s time to start the Duval Crawl. There’s never a shortage of bars, cocktails or colorful characters on Duval Street, which cuts through the western part of the island’s Old Town neighborhood, but it’s after dark that the crazy comes out in full force to kick off the party. By getting an early start, you can sample the island fun without going full tilt and also avoid the crowds while still taking in the sights, sounds and tastes of Duval Street’s must-stops. Or you can start your crawl well after dark when the party is in full swing and the rousing crowds overflow onto the sidewalk and road and the sounds of laughter compete with blaring music.

Key West Duval Street, Florida Keys, Duval Crawl

Key West’s Duval Street is where the nightly party known as the Duval Crawl takes place, with crowds moving from one bar to the next. Photo: Mike Cherim/iStock

When it’s time to head out, simply walk north to the 200 block. Every Duval Street experience must include a stop at Sloppy Joe’s, a Key West icon made famous by author Ernest Hemingway back in the 1930s. Photos of Papa line the walls, and local bands strum island tunes, light rock and jumpin’ jazz. Slip into the adjacent Joe’s Tap Room for a taste of craft beers on draft before heading one door down to the Lazy Gecko. This is your place for a frozen daiquiri or a Gecko Rum Punch, which really packs a wallop. Watch for people dressed in oddball getups, with anything from neon wigs to fuzzy animal-print hats perched on their heads in an attempt to attract attention.

Cross the street and stroll into the Hog’s Breath Saloon to blend with Key West locals, known as “Conchs.” This famous pub prides itself for pouring strong drinks. Slightly quieter than other nearby bars, it’s a good stop for grabbing some munchies like fish nuggets and conch fritters. For a taste of authentic Old Town, you have to stop at the Bull. Murals of old Key West line the walls in this open-air bar, and the balcony of the upstairs room, dubbed the Whistle Bar, is a prime spot for gazing down on the antics of Duval Street while enjoying a finely crafted margarita. The truly adventurous can head to the Garden of Eden, a rooftop bar, which, true to Key West’s anything-goes spirit, is clothing optional.

When you need to soak up the alcohol with a bite to eat, turn south, away from the increasingly celebratory crowd, and onto the 900 block for the delectable offerings at Nine One Five. The chic setting of a Victorian home and an upscale menu belie the restaurant’s relaxed vibe. Dine alfresco on the porch and share plates of beef carpaccio and lamb loin or dive into rich entrees like duck confit with butternut squash or seared scallops with pine nuts. For a taste of local seafood, Blackfin Bistro serves up adventurous versions of Key West favorites. Instead of conch fritters, they have conch cakes served with a house-made remoulade, and their pan-roasted grouper comes with couscous and Key lime avocado tartar sauce, a tasty way to ensure you’ll be walking back to your room rather than crawling with the late-night crowd.

Key West Sloppy Joes, Florida Keys

The action on Duval Street in Key West is non-stop, with daytime shoppers and strollers and nighttime partiers doing the Duval Crawl, the popular bar-hopping scene. Photo: Raul A. Rodriguez/iStock

Depending on how close you want to be to Duval Street, accommodations run the gamut. An ideal base for a quieter Duval Crawl experience is the Southernmost on the Beach Hotel, set on the calmer, southern end of Duval. Although you’ll have to walk a few blocks for party action, it’s steps from the sands of South Beach. Here you can watch palms sway in the breeze and the tranquil Atlantic water lapping up against the sand while sipping a mojito or Rum Runner at the Southernmost Beach Café, which is a relaxing way to start the evening.

If your style is more party hard and fall into bed, then choose a hotel in the heart of Old Town on the opposite end of Duval. The Westin Key West Resort & Marina sits on the waterfront, three short blocks from Duval Street and next door to Mallory Square, where crowds gather nightly to celebrate the sunset. From here you’ll be doing the Duval Crawl in just minutes. The Ocean Key House Resort & Spa, with the address 0 Duval St., is at the very northern end of Duval, tucked between the Key West Harbor and Mallory Square. Staying here, you can start or finish your night on the resort’s Sunset Pier with food, drink, music and dancing.

 

exumas, chat n chill, Bahamas bar

Best Beach Bars in the Bahamas

 

Barefoot on the beach, keeping time to an island beat with a tasty libation in hand is the quintessential tropical vacation indulgence. Here are seven of the Bahamas’ best bars where you can do just that.

Nippers

best beach bars in the bahamas, Nippers, Abacos, BahamasGuana-Cay

Nippers overlooks the Atlantic on Guana Cay, Abacos. Photo: Debbie Snow

The view alone is intoxicating. Perched high atop a dune overlooking the blue Atlantic, Nippers is the place to spend the day on Guana Cay. Steps lead up from a sparsely-settled swatch of powder sand to a multilevel complex of decks, outdoor and indoor serving areas and a pair of swimming pools. Beach games, televised sports and live music add to the fun, creating at atmosphere that is festive but still family friendly.

Where: Great Guana Cay, Abacos

Must Try: Nipper Juice

Get There: Fly into Marsh Harbour airport, taxi and ferry to Guana Cay, short walk to the beach

Stay There: Dolphin Beach Resort on Guana Cay; Abaco Beach Resort in Marsh Harbour

Chat ’n’ Chill

Join the cruising crowd who take daily shore leaves from the sloops and trawlers that bob in adjacent anchorages. You’ll be rubbing shoulders with grizzled boat bums and CEOs alike, and the action spreads beyond the bar to the pine-shaded picnic tables and volleyball courts. Come for open-air worship on Sunday morning and stay for the pig roast, where banker-turned- restaurateur KB Bowe presides over the pit.

Where: Stocking Island, Great Exuma

Must Try: KB’s Rum Punch

Get There: Fly into Exuma International Airport, taxi to Georgetown, water taxi to Stocking Island

Stay There: St. Francis Resort on Stocking Island; Grand Isle resort or Sandals on Great Exuma

Nirvana

A respite from the hustle of Nassau and the swank of Paradise Island, Nirvana is an old-school board-and-thatch beach club where you can grab a bite, savor a cold one or rent a beach chair to enjoy access to the uncrowded—and otherwise inaccessible—Love Beach. The vibe is low key during the day, but the action heats up at happy hour, and the party can go well into the night.

Where: New Providence

Must Try: Margarita

Get There: Cab, rental car or the #10 bus from Nassau

Stay There: Compass Point Resort is next door; mid-range Blue Water Resort and Sandyport Beaches Resort are a few miles to the east

Billy Joe’s On the Beach

Billy Joe's, Grand Bahama

Billy Joe’s in Port Lucaya, Grand Bahama. Photo: Debbie Snow

This long-time landmark sits beachside, and in appealing contrast to the sleek, upscale Port Lucaya developments next door. There are no apologies for the rough plank flooring or plastic beach furniture because this place is all about direct water views, local music and what many consider the best conch salad in the islands.

Where: Lucaya, Grand Bahama

Must Try: Conch salad and a Kalik beer

Get There: Cab, rental car or stroll down the beach

Stay There: Pelican Bay and the Grand Lucayan are within walking distance; the value-priced Bell Channel Inn is a short cab ride

Bishop’s Big Boy Bar

It’s 45-minute pilgrimage east from Freeport to the quiet settlement of High Rock, where it may take a bit of searching to find Bishop’s Bonefish Resort. The reward is a near-deserted beach, and fresh run-and-juice concoctions served by Mr. Bishop himself. Rent snorkel gear to enjoy the reefs, then head over to the restaurant for some local seafood. It’s a no-frills place, but when sand, sun and sea are the focal points, you won’t miss the crowds, the DJs or the tiki torches.

Where: South shore, Grand Bahama

Must Try: Bahama Mama

Get There: Rent a car in Freeport and drive 25 miles east

Stay There: If quiet and simple are for you, book into Bishop’s adjacent seven-room resort

Sherri’s Paradise

The simple sundeck overlooking Bimini’s spectacular Radio Beach oozes island time; the adjacent yellow clapboard kitchen, with its variable hours and whatever-we-caught menu confirms the pace. Relax and order a cold one, because the cracked conch and lobster are worth the wait. You may want to linger even longer when there’s local music, or to catch a memorable sunset.

Where: Alice Town, Bimini

Must Try: Sherri’s Pina Colada

Get There: Fly to South Bimini and water taxi, or take a seaplane into the harbor

Stay There: Bimini Big Game Club remains the first choice while the future of Resort World is solidified

Pete’s Pub and Gallery

Pete's Pub, Abacos, Bahamas

Unique bar at Pete’s Pub, Little Harbour, Abacos. Photo: Debbie Snow

Eclectic doesn’t begin to describe Pete’s Pub and Gallery. Part beach bar, part art gallery, it features the works of Peter Johnson and his progeny, who form their bronze creations in the on-site foundry. Wade right into the harbor to cool off, climb the upper deck for water views, or walk the sandy path to the surf-washed Atlantic.

Where: Little Harbour, Abacos

Must Try: Pete’s Rum Blaster

Get There: Drive a half-hour south from Marsh Harbour or go by boat

Stay There: On site is Barnacle Bill’s Cottage, or the Abaco Club in Marsh Harbour

 

postcard inn Islamorada, best tiki bars in florida

Best Tiki Bars in Florida

 

Thatched roofs, bar stools and crazy concoctions, made with lots of potent rum, are what you’ll find at these old and new tiki bars. Set on the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, these Florida bars continue to attract the party folk. It doesn’t have to be happy hour to visit any of the on-the-edge-of-the-water bars, where making new friends gets easier with every sip.

Isle Tiki Bar, Islamorada

Back in the day the old salts packed this bar at the Holiday Isle Resort. And even after a 21st century face-lift and rebranding turned the property into the Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina, the outdoor Holiday Isle Tiki Bar with its thatched roof and vistas of the Atlantic Ocean continues to draw a crowd.

The Drink: Nothing will do but a Rum Runner, which supposedly was invented here.

Casey Key Tiki Bar, south of Sarasota

Any Saturday afternoon, the hogs are lined up roadside at the Casey Key Tiki Bar. Perched on an island between Casey Key and the mainland, the open-air bar is packed with the regulars in T-shirts and shorts and the visitors with signature Tommy Bahama attire. Squeeze in under the fringed roof or hang out on the little beach in the back, where doggies are welcome. 

The Drink: A pina colada on a hot sunny day works really well in this setting.

Stan’s Idle Hour, Goodland near Marco Island

If you’re on Marco Island on a Sunday, you have to make the drive to Goodland, an obscure spot made famous by the late Stan Gober when he opened Stan’s Idle Hour almost 30 years ago. This is a let your hair down kind of place where folks arrive by boat, bike and Benz to party the afternoon away with live music and curious conversation.

The Drink: You got to have the signature Stan’s Buzzard Punch, a concoction of light and dark rums, orange and pineapple juice and splashes of grenadine and sour mix.

Guanabanas, Jupiter

Definitely one of Florida’s more sophisticated choices, Guanabanas’ horseshoe-shaped bar is tucked behind thick tropical foliage under a palm-fringed roof just steps from the Loxahatchee River. Locals, from boaters to golfers, mix with visitors. During season, February to May, the line’s out the door.

The Drink: Topping the list is the My Wave Mojito, made with the Dominican Republic’s Atlantico Platino rum, muddled mint, lime juice and sugarcane.

Lido Key Tiki Bar, Sarasota

This tiki bar is right on the sand, so stroll on over sans sandals. One of the oldest around, the traditional Lido Key Tiki Bar was saved from bulldozers in 2003 by preservationists with help from the Ritz-Carlton, which now owns it. Guests from the hotel’s nearby beach club mingle with the locals who love this breezy Gulf-front spot.   

The Drink: Hurricane Category 5 is one of the strongest drinks served here. Banana, coconut, mango and pineapple rums get a 151-proof-rum floater, and the mix of orange, pineapple and cranberry juices disguises its potent character.