By Nick Jurkowski
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Sometimes, the best way to see Miami by night is while doing body shots off an unknown woman while lounging on a chaise-lounge in the middle of a pawn shop-themed nightclub.
Lucky for you, Miami features a prodigious number of bizarre and wonderful themed nightclubs and restaurants that will easily fill your FDA daily-recommended amount of kitsch. As anyone who’s gone through middle-school health class can tell you, “kitsch” is an important subcategory of “hipness,” which can be supplied by gimmicks, and is not to be trifled with. Naturally, I wouldn’t recommend always going to these clubs; I prefer going to more “standard” clubs so that my nightlife experience doesn’t come to resemble Alice in Wonderland. Even so, the clubs I describe can be quite enjoyable in the right dosages. Without further ado:
This is both a clever acronym for “Beverage, Entertainment, Dining,” and a concise description of what makes this club different: everything is done on giant beds. You eat on giant beds, mingle on the giant beds, and, eventually, the wait-staff will hustle you off giant beds (my only real complaint about B.E.D. is the service â€“ it seems like they haven’t streamlined the best ways to manage beds instead of tables). The food is fantastic and imaginative, and the atmosphere is great. After midnight, the restaurant becomes a club, and even during dinner the mood feels more like a club than a nice restaurant, so B.E.D. is probably not the best place to go for a relaxing meal and a game of cribbage. Reservations are required for dinner, and you pay a healthy amount for the privilege of eating on a giant bed, but the whole experience is definitely worth it, if only for the hilarious non sequitur of a waiter serving you an $80 bottle of wine while wearing pajamas.
To be perfectly honest, this place is far more about the sizzle than the steak (but then again, what nightclub isn’t?). The faÃ§ade of the building is an actual 1930s pawnshop, and the interior features a constantly changing dÃ©cor that prominently displays junk in the most artistic way possible. Every night has a different theme, ranging from flea market Thursdays (think Kid â€˜n Play’s House Party movies) to Sunday’s Twisted Sister (think Alice in Wonderland style human chessboards and a highly sexualized reimagining of Alice). The cover is actually fairly modest: about $10-20 depending on the event. All in all, The Pawnshop can be a truly surreal club experience.
Another restaurant/club combination, Pearl offers a visual feast of flashy, retro-dÃ©cor (think Austin Powers) that you pay for in the drink prices. It was voted “chicest restaurant in the world” by the Observer magazine, and while I haven’t been to every restaurant in the world, I wouldn’t doubt the claim. While tthe food and drinks are good, you are really paying for the ambiance. The seating set-up encourages people watching, and the patio area has to be seen to be believed. Everything is expensive, so watch the drink prices carefully or you’ll end up chained to a dishwasher in the bowels of the restaurant. No trip to Miami is complete without a trip to a place like Pearl â€“ the kitschy, extravagant, over-the-top, and expensive nature of it make it the perfect microcosm for Miami Beach as a whole.
Hopefully, these clubs and restaurants will get you all the kitsch you need and then some. Good luck, and happy eating/drinking/dancing/debauchery.
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