A guide to Miami nightlife
Swanky art deco hotels along a lively nightstrip in South Beach. (Eddie Brady/LPI)
Miami’s nightlife scene is hot. A Spanish flair for all-night fun, warm weather, big beaches, skimpy clothing, perfect mojitos – this is not the place for those with Catholic guilt complexes.
It can also feel like it is not a place for normal human beings. Sure, those are real people going into the club; they just look like they have been freshly pampered for a magazine shoot.
But do not be intimidated. You do not need to be uber-wealthy or ultra-attractive to get past the red rope here, just confident. Besides, who cares about the rope? Miami has authentic rock bars, hipsters-gone-wild lounges and the best Latin music scene in America. If you want to bump and grind and look for celebrities who are not there, you can; but Miami will love you just as much if you want to rock out with a Budweiser on a sweaty South Florida evening.
If you are going to go out in Miami, ask yourself what you want. Do I want to dance? Hear good tunes? See celebrities? If you answered yes to the first two questions, the Downtown/Wynwood scene might be to your liking (which is not to say the beautiful people do not go out there. The scene is just less... well, scene-y). Otherwise, you may want to head to South Beach. What do you bring? If it is good looks, money or promoter connections, the world is your oyster. If you do not have any of the above, you can still party, but be prepared to have your ego-crushed.
Here is how it breaks down: the South Beach club scene plays on the appeal of celebrity. More famous customers equal more regular customers. Eventually, a strange equilibrium establishes itself where there are enough regular customers to make people assume famous people are there, even if they are not. But those regular customers can not appear too regular. So a little social engineering is committed by club-owners and those titans of the cultural scene (ie bouncers) in the form of the red rope. So, how do you get by it?
Be polite: Do not be skittish, but do not act like you are J Lo, either. And whatever you do, do not yell at the doorman - or touch him or yank on his clothing - to try to get his attention.
Get guest-listed: Ask the concierge at your hotel to help you out or simply call the club and leave your name; it is often that simple.
Remain confidently aloof: Do not stare at the doorman; it is pathetic. Look elsewhere - but look hot doing it.
Be aggressive. Failing that, be rich: If there is a clamouring crowd, standing at the back of it and hoping it will part is about as effective as being meek when you need a seat on the New York City subway. Push your way through to the front. Or order bottle service, which usually guarantees you a pass to the front.
Dress correctly: For women, showing a sophisticated amount of skin can be effective, although "sophisticated" depends on the wearer. We have seen Brazilians in barely-there tops look less trashy than Americans in a standard sorority-girl-miniskirt ensemble. Men, do not wear T-shirts and jeans, unless you are one of those guys who can and still look put together. In which case, we are jealous. Also, this is Miami; be a little more daring than a button-up shirt and slacks if you want to stand out from the crowd.
Get there early: Do you want to be cool, or do you want to get in? From 10:30 pm to 11 pm is a golden time for bouncer leniency, but you cannot club-hop with this strategy.
If you are a man, bring a woman: A man alone is not worth much (unless you are at a gay club); up your value by having a beautiful woman - or two or three - on your arm.