What’s Old is New Again

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On May - 4 - 2009

clevelander1As recent history has proven, the best way to create interest in and excitement over an establishment in this town is to shut it down, make some changes and reopen with a bit of fanfare. Just ask the owners of the Fontainebleau, Eden Roc, Smith & Wollensky, Karu & Y and Mynt (which seems to shut down and reopen every year or two) to name a few. Now we can add the Clevelander and Forge to that successful list.

The Clevelander, which has undergone an extreme makeover and an augmentation or two over the last year and a half, will celebrate its rebirth this Thursday with four days chock full of concerts, libations, and entertainment. Despite its roomier and glitzier revamp, the Ocean Drive staple remains the casual, wildly spirited hang-out that has made it the premier stomping ground for spring breakers of all ages for the past 70 years. Now the place where Spring Break springs eternal features over a dozen spaces to party, including the infamous pool and patio and a new, state-of- the art sports bar, complete with wall to wall High Def plasmas, where many a sports fan can cheer the Heat and Dolphins to victory, just steps from the ocean. The new Cleve also houses 1020 Music Boxx, a bonafide dance club (minus the velvet rope and snooty attitude) and the upgraded Clevelander Café, with renowned chef, Robbin Haas, at its helm. Fret not, you can still get your extra-greasy with a side of greasy chicken tenders and fries, but Chef Haas has added some sophisticated bites as well. The Clevelander’s augmentation also includes the addition of the SPF 4 Sun Deck, where we’re pretty sure a babe or two will be showing off augmentations of her own, and a rooftop terrace. The hotel’s 60 rooms have also gotten a facelift. While rooms are a bargain, starting at just $179.00, to really party like a Rock star, stay in one of the Rock- star Suites, where you’ll have your own butler to cater to your every outlandish whim! For more info or to buy tickets for the weekend celebrations, including concerts by Gym Class Heroes and Inner Circle and DJ sets by DJ Irie, Sky Nellor, Jazzy Jeff and Z Trip, visit www.clevelander.com.

After celebrating 40 years in business, and being honored by Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower on Monday, Shareef Malnik announced that his iconic restaurant, The Forge, would be closing this week to undergo renovations, overdue since its last remodeling in 1991, which was the result of a fire. Malnik, whose family has owned the 1920s storied venue since 1968, proudly declared that the revamp would include radical changes to the Forge’s menu and interior design, stating, “When we re-open in the fall of 2009, our loyal clientele will be blown away by the exciting enhancements and changes that will have been completed. Like the fine wines in our famous cellar, The Forge only improves with age. Here’s to the next 40 years.” To be honest, we kind of love the place as is, with its old world style and gorgeous chandeliers and stained glass ceiling and accents. To the dismay of many a Sugar Daddy and the girls who, ahem, love them, who flock to the Forge religiously on Wednesday nights, the culinary bastion will remain closed until next season. Perhaps the Clevelander can fill in as resident meat market in the meantime!

Winding up as it Winds Down

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On April - 16 - 2009

Typically April signifies the end of the season, as the spring breakers and snowbirds return home and we locals get to reclaim our beloved restaurants and nightclubs.  But this year it seems that season is still going strong- with new clubs, restaurants and spas opening or revamping and fashion, dining and charity events filling our busy social calendars, even as temperatures continue to soar. 

Opium’s New Zip Code

Miami locals trekked to Hollywood this past weekend for the Grand Opening of Opium at The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Friday night, which was hosted by Michael Capponi, featured Swedish DJ Steve Angello, known for kicking Paris Hilton out of his booth during WMC, on the turntables.  On Saturday night, reality star, Kim Kardashian, served as hostess, accompanied by her brother Rob Kardashian, boyfriend Reggie Bush and friend, Venus Williams, all of whom were pretty mellow throughout the evening, hanging out in a corner booth talking.  The throngs of club-goers cheered as Kardashian swung an Opium-branded guitar over her head- a Hard Rock opening tradition, before retreating to her table.

Gen Art’s FASHIONscape

As if the Delano’s orchard isn’t already like a scene out of Alice in Wonderland, set designer, David Glass, added to the whimsy during Gen Art’s FASHIONscape on Tuesday night by installing fashion vignettes to showcase the collections of up-and-coming designers, John D. Schoemann, of John David Collection and Claudia Estrada, of Claudiae.  Like living mannequins, the gorgeous models added to the already visually stunning surroundings and seemed to be having just as much fun as the guests.  At one point, two models in the showcase were chit chatting and cutting up to the point that several of their counterparts had to tap them on the shoulder repeatedly so that a photographer could take their picture.  The unique set-up of the vignettes, which were conceptualized by the designers, afforded guests the opportunity to get up-close to the fashions and enjoy them from multiple perspectives, rather than just catching a glimpse of each look on the runway.  This was most appreciated by the FFWADHD:  Fashion Forward with Attention Deficit Disorder, who often miss entire segments of runway shows due to excessive texting, twittering and/or talking, present company INCLUDED.  On-hand during the evening’s festivities were hosts, Project Runway’s, Uli Herzner; celebrity stylist/ costume designer for Sex and the City and Burn Notice, Danny Santiago; 944 magazine publisher, Alan Roth; nightlife impresario, Alexis Mincolla and a few hundred locals.  Gen Art has catapulted the careers of renown designers such as Zac Posen, Rebecca Taylor, Uli Herzner, Rami Kashou, Eduardo Lucero, Geren Ford, Katy Rodriguez and Vena Cava, to name a few.

Spaaaaaahs

Agua spa at the swanky Mondrian hotel is officially open. Barbara Becker recently hosted a preview of the spa for a few of her BFFs, including: Iran Issa-Khan, Sam Robin, Hello Campos, Tracy Mourning and Amaris Jones, who relaxed in the private lounge areas while enjoying bites from Asia de Cuba.  The gals scored great swag, filled with Sjål Skincare products and invitations to return for complimentary treatments.

 

Equinox, the fitness center of choice around the nation for VIPs and celebs including President Barack Obama, Matt Damon, Jessica Alba, Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Mario Lopez, Queen Latifah, Jesse Metcalfe, Sean “P Diddy” Combs, Lance Bass, Dr. Dre, and Ludacris, is not typically thought of as a spa.  However, on a recent visit the gym-to-the-stars, we found that in addition to their rigorous and fun exercise classes, which include Boot-camp Boogie, (personal favorite) and state-of-the-art equipment, Equinox boasts an awesome spa, complete with all the bells and whistles, available to members and non-members alike.  Equinox puts the “ah” in spa!

 

 

Coming Up

Smith and Wollensky, which is known as Smith’s to locals, officially unveils its multi-million dollar facelift on Thursday, with a private party.  The renovations include two new spaces – Smith’s Patio and The Overlook Deck. A major draw of this local favorite is its unique, unobstructed, unparalleled views of Government Cut, Fisher Island and the downtown Miami skyline.  Boasting the longest-standing South Beach happy hour, Smith’s is also ideal for intimate or business dining and private events.

This Friday, Solé on the Ocean in Sunny Isles Beach premiers its anticipated poolside happy hour, Alba, and pool party series overlooking the ocean.  Happy hour goes from 4:00-7:00 p.m. and features two-for-one cocktails. During the weekend pool parties, DJ Baby Dré will spin and a summer “lunch box” menu will be available to nosh on while you bake.

Two and four-legged eaters can blow off steam and get a great bite at China Grill this Sunday, as the South Beach staple celebrates Gay Pride with a Bitch ’n Brunch from noon until 4:00 p.m.  In the spirit of the restaurant’s famous “Dogs Gone Wild” parties, China Grill encourages guests to bring their pooches to the “dog friendly” patio for al-fresco dining.  “Pack leaders” can enjoy a luxurious and recession-friendly three course brunch for just $23 (exclusive of tax and gratuity) while their “best friends” hang out in the puppy play areas or unwind in the puppy lounge provided by Pet Smart Midtown.

You can knock on heaven’s door, (Blue Door, that is) on Monday, April 20, when Blue Door at the Delano, hosts a five-course Joseph Phelps wine dinner featuring chef Claude Troisgros’ culinary creations, which will be prepared by Delano’s executive chef, Maria Manso.   Each of the scrumptious courses, which range from seared tuna to rack of lamb, will be paired with one of Joseph Phelps’ signature wines.   Dinner starts at 7:00 and costs $150.00 per person, exclusive of tax & gratuity.  For more information, call: 305-674-6400. 

Brazil’s most sought-after jewelry designers, Francisca Bastos and Andrea Ventura, will showcase their latest creations during a show at the Conrad from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on April 23.  Brazilian hors d’oeuvres and canapés will be served and a portion of sale proceeds will benefit the Humane Society of Greater Miami Adopt-A-Pet.  For more information, visit www.franciscabastodesign.com.

 

 

Celebrity Sightings

 

Josh Hartnett made the rounds last week, starting off on Thursday night, where he took over the Florida Room and performed four songs.  Rumor has it that on Saturday night, Hartnett made his way back to the Florida Room with a hot blonde he had picked up at the club the Thursday before.  Prior to his return to the Florida Room, Hartnett attended Scott Campbell’s Make it Rain gallery show at Miami’s O.H.W.O.W. Gallery.  On Sunday night, Hartnett and a couple of friends hit Bella Rose’s weekly “Black Sunday” party, hanging out at Alexis Mincolla’s table. Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony spent the weekend at the posh Viceroy Miami at IconBrickell, where they swam in the pool at Club 50, toured the property and dined at the chic 15th floor restaurant with developer, Jorge Perez and his wife, Darlene.  Burn Notice’s Jeffrey Donovan was spotted grazing on a salad at delicious 8 oz Burger Bar. Really?!!!   Gabrielle Union was the guest of honor at the AE District Gallery event in the Design District.  Former Sopranos’ star, Lorraine Bracco, a.k.a. Dr. Melfi, dined with a friend at The Grill on the Alley last week, as did- A-Rod, who was spotted having dinner with his children.

 


[simpleviewer id=”23″ width=”600″ height=”600″]

Spring Fever

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On March - 19 - 2009

Spring time on South Beach gives a whole new meaning to March Madness, with the throngs of sunburned spring breakers drinking themselves, and their textbook money, into oblivion, vying for the already scarce parking spaces and pining to get into clubs that wouldn’t even want them if they were of age. “Dorothy, you’re not in Gainesville anymore.” But fret not, despite the surge of college kids on our sands, there were still plenty of high-end, star-studded events and celebrity sightings over this past week, not to mention the upcoming Miami Fashion Week and Funkshion, among the largest and most unique fashion events in the country, to keep us locals feeling somewhat at home.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sponsors