Sun. Sand. Sweat. Sex. Stone crabs. These are a few of South Beach’s favored things. They make up the SoBe stereotype. And yet, the stereotype falls short. South Beach is much more than a winter wonderland for the jet set, a spring break sanctuary for bikinis and board shorts. Don’t believe me? Here are five spots that will shake up your sun-soaked skepticism.
The Broken Shaker
Located just a bit above South Beach proper, The Broken Shaker rewards the mini-excursion with beyond-reproach cocktails that harmonize exotic ingredients and the simple stuff you love in every carefully curated glass. Conceived by Bar Lab bros Elad Zvi and Gabriel Orta, the short, thoughtful cocktail menu offers a taste of the Sunshine State (Sowing Circle: vodka shaken with Florida citrus cordial and green bean juice, topped with lime Perrier), big, bold Lone Star State flavor (Texas Politics: ancho chile and cilantro reduction with lime, Ancho Reyes, and, of course, tequila) and Miami-meets-Rio refreshment with the Kale and Pineapple Caipirinha. Whether you’re drinking in the low-lit bar among the Florida fauna blooming in the wallpaper or sipping your cocktail poolside under a string of bare bulbs within earshot of a heated ping pong match, you will not regret taking the short trek to The Broken Shaker to start your night.
2727 Indian Creek Drive, Miami Beach, FL
Located in a no man’s land along Alton Road between main drags Lincoln Road and 5th Street, this is probably the best restaurant you won’t read about in any South Beach guide books. Macchialina chef Micheal Pirolo’s Italian food is no-nonsense, based on quality ingredients and minimal culinary fuss. In other words, real Italian. The salumi is fantastic (no wonder yours truly once spotted Sultan of Salumi Cesare Casella dining here), the pizza crust charred to perfection and the velvet airiness of the lasagna will come back to you in dreams. With its brick walls, wood tables, and unpretentious fare, Macchialina is the perfect place to counterbalance an overload of South Beach glitz.
820 Alton Road, Miami Beach, FL, 33139
South Pointe Park
As its name suggests, South Pointe Park lies on the southernmost fringe of Miami Beach, spreading east from the ocean in a pattern of manicured lawns and paved pathways. You can stroll alongside Government Cut among the rollerbladers and dog walkers, watching the mega cruise ships glide past on their way out to sea, walk the newly opened pier in between the anglers, or, best of all, grab a few orders of stone crabs from nearby Joe’s and enjoy a picnic as the sun sets atomic orange behind the Downtown Miami skyline. Parking can be expensive for non-Miami Beach residents, so you might want to arrive by DecoBike, which has a docking station at both ends of the park.
1 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL, 33139
Miami Beach Cinematheque
South Beach’s international reputation certainly isn’t for high-brow culture. But in many ways, this domain of decadence and debauchery has a lot to offer when it comes to the more enlightened pursuits. There’s Art Basel Miami Beach, one of the most prestigious annual art fairs (not to mention a bacchanalia in its own right). Then there’s the respectable Bass and Wolfsonian museums, each boasting a historic Miami Beach abode. Smaller in scale but still vital in its contribution to local culture is the Miami Beach Cinematheque. Housed in the 87-year-old former City Hall building, the Cinematheque screens everything from the latest Lars Von Trier opus to a month-long Kurosawa retrospective while hosting various film festivals. It’s the perfect place to make the most of that South Beach rarity: a rainy day.
1130 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL, 33139
New World Symphony
Real talk. You’re probably not headed to South Beach to take in a classical music performance. But what if it only cost you $2.50 and took place in a building designed by the world’s most famous architect? The crew at New World Symphony is guessing that might be enough to lure you away from Lincoln Road to their Frank Gehry-designed home. The building’s glass façade is a physical symbol of New World Symphony’s commitment to making classical music more approachable, while innovative programming is how they get skeptics interested in what’s happening on the other side of that glass. There are the $2.50 mini-concerts, the Pulse events when the orchestra and a DJ trade off sets in a night club atmosphere, and, of course, the outdoor Wallcast concerts, which feature a live orchestra performance broadcast on a 7,000-square-foot projection wall within earshot of noisy Washington Avenue. It may not be just as Bach would have wanted it, but that’s kinda the point.
500 17th Street, Miami Beach, FL, 3319