Temporarily, let’s suspend everything we know about modern times. Think about your life before the cellphone ruled it, before bumper to bumper went viral, when the Canes were excellent, the Dolphins were watchable, King Tide might have been how you referred to your favorite detergent, delis gave away free pickles, and summer took place from May to October. No matter how dismal the previous thoughts may be, let’s remember that, for now, it’s still all good in the Pinecrest Tribune hood. As Grant Miller becomes our own Guy Fieri, information never sleeps. More is going on here than ever, and you will have guests. So here are some 2019 ideas.
Whether you are a fashionista, foodie, Critical Mass biker, Taco Tuesday tourist, or snowbird, you’ve gotta keep up with the Gomez’s if you want to suck the marrow out of Miami. And if you aren’t personally interested and are content to watch a political circus unfold on cable, at least prepare for your winter visitors and coming home college kids. With this in mind, here is an Art in Miami, 2019-2020, Winter Travel Guide.
#1: Miami Beach: Although Ocean Drive remains punishing unless you are desperate, there are still well-lit Art Deco facades to photograph. If you are interested in a lobby or two, try Collins Avenue. Ocean Drive’s hotel lobbies are big, mortifying restaurants; I’d rather starve. The beach itself is great for miles, and you know that South Pointe Park despite the pretentious “e” after Point, is gorgeous. The 3rd Street Beach is best – no hotel umbrellas. Both Miami Beach Walk and Boardwalk are great for walking or dodging roller-bladers and bicycles. Lincoln Road has its charm despite severe corporatization. Be careful if you decide to eat. (This is a recurring Sobe theme here.) If money or style matter, visit the lobbies and gardens of hotels located north of 17th, including the Edition, Faena, Delano, Generator, and Setai. There are others too. Don’t miss the 1111 Herzog & de Meuron garage with Alchemist upstairs. Nearby, really, you can eat and drink well and affordably at Bodega or in Sunset Harbor. For a lovely respite, the Broken Shaker remains quiet and lovely.
#2: Wynwood has mysteriously managed its deep ethnic cleansing by maintaining some broken glass and murals while offering lots of grub and watering holes. Original players like the Wynwood Walls, Joey’s and Panther roll on as old heads like Zak the Baker, Wood Tavern, Wynwood Brewery, Gramps, BXLDR, and J Wakefield maintain some original, high quality presence. Newcomers sprout, like Proyecto Tulum, Crudos, and Le Chick, and join established places like Alter, Kyu, and Wynwood Kitchen. Food halls like 1-800-Lucky provide ear splitting choice. But hurry, because soon, no one will want to go to Wynwood anymore because it is too crowded.
#3: Brickell and the Design District: Though a few miles apart, both sit well with royalty who enjoy their pleasure sanitary. Brickell isn’t just crowded, but unrecognizably congested. If you live there, enjoy your 20 minute valet experience. Any vestige of the old Brickell, a sleepy village surrounding Perricone’s Marketplace, is long gone. In its place is the hospital clean Brickell City Center. Good news is that there are plenty of places to eat and drink plus the free Metromover which will get you to the horrid Bayside, the lovely Perez, the Science Museum, and the fantastic Arsht Center. The Design District features the city’s second best garage, a restaurant and bar owned by Pharell, and photo worthy Pura Vida. St. Roch Market features a dozen high end (overpriced) outlets in a new, antiseptic food hall.
#4: Calle Ocho is bustling with locals, tourists, music, and action. It is the downtown that doesn’t exist downtown, so you can walk a few blocks and listen to music at Ball & Chain, eat ice cream at Azucar, watch a film at the Tower, drink a cafecito at a dozen ventanitas, and allow your cousin from North Carolina to smoke a cigar.
#5: Coconut Grove, South Miami, and Coral Gables: Like safety schools, you can count on these.
For those of you patient, loyal, and diligent enough to read until the end of this article, here is my advice. Look closely below.
#6: On the Edges: Arguably, Hometown BBQ Miami, Vista, Amara at Paraiso, The Sylvester, and The Citadel are current umpires of the cool. Sweat Records, Ironside Kitchen, Lagniappe, Ms. Cheezious, and a number of breweries also deserve a shout for keeping it worthwhile. Like Barry White, these have always taken us deeper and deeper.