Bar Crawling in Miami: Broken Shaker, The Regent, The Dutch, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink and Gramps Bar
It’s been about 5 years since I was last in Miami so I was really excited to check out the new craft cocktail scene there. I made a short list of places to go including Broken Shaker, The Regent, The Dutch. Then we stumbled upon Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink and Gramps Bar was recommended to us.
I’ve been following the pop-up bar, Bar Lab, for a while and was happy when they found a permanent home at the Freehand Miami Hotel (formerly the Indian Creek Hotel). The cocktails list changes regularly. Monday nights are often the best since it’s Industry night. We came on a Monday and complimentary Zacapa rum punch was flowing.
After finding your way to the small bar that seemed more like a cocktail museum decorated with vintage paraphernalia related to all things cocktails, the fun begins. It’s neat to discover a new outlook on cocktails where first bars started out as classic craft cocktail bars then developed their own personality. Broken Shaker always seemed unique though; setting trends rather than following them.
Although you could hang out in the bar, most people congregated around the pool. There is a pool bar but it has a limited menu.
We really enjoyed all our cocktails but my favorite was the Green Stash made with fresh apple mint grown in the garden of the hotel.
Green Stash– Bombay dry gin, Chartreuse, fresh pressed green apples, lemon, apple mint
Lebanese Old Fashioned – Old Forrester bourbon, Lebanese apricot reduction (Elad’s recipe), bitters
As usual, I looked for whiskey drinks and thought the Chuck Norris was the one to try. I love rye, Averna and it was also a beer cocktail? Sign me up! The result was the sort of cocktail I’d get instead of coffee. It had a rich aroma enhanced by the mushroom bitters.
Chuck Norris – George Dickle rye, Averna, stout beer reduction, mushroom bitters
On the way out, I spotted a jar of Mama Juana, a concoction of rum, red wine, honey and spices. If we weren’t already half-way out the door, I would have loved a taste. I first tried it at a local LA restaurant, Allumette and always want to other versions.(305) 531-2727
After Broken Shaker, we headed up the street a bit to the W Hotel. I met a Miami bartender in LA and at the time he worked at the Dutch. He’s now in NYC but I figured it would still be a great bar. And I was right. It was a quiet night since it was a Monday but the bartender happily made us a couple of drinks. My friend had a Hemingway Daiquiri. I was intrigued it was served long with ice. It did come with a very pretty flower. The bar top is lined with pots of blooms.
I explained I liked whiskey drinks but with the heat wasn’t quite into the brown, bitter and stirred at the moment. I was served a lovely whiskey sour variation with muddled strawberries. It was just the right drink of the night with lemon and sage garnish.(305) 938-3111
The next night, we actually left the Beach (South Beach) and headed to Gramps Bar.
Walking in, we noticed we could have been anywhere. It had a hipster vibe. Were we in Miami or were we in Portland, Brooklyn, Silver Lake or the Mission district in SF? It was good though because I immediately likened it to all the great bars in those cities. It happened to be trivia night but we opted for the relatively quiet outdoor tables. Gramps is in the Wynwood district which is known for street art. There’s a fun gator painted on an abandoned shipping container on the patio.
Rosemary’s Baby caught my eye right away. It was a great name and the perfect refreshing cocktail for the humid night.
Rosemary’s Baby – gin, lemon, Earl Grey rosemary syrup
My friend ordered the modern classic Penicillin which was very well made. However we wised up to their rum old fashioneds.
Gramps makes their rum old fashioneds with black pepper syrup. The slightly bracing syrup was great with the sweet aged rum.(786) 752-6693
In the Design district, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink has built up a cult following. Known for great food, they also have a very good bar program. We stopped in for drinks before dinner at the new sister restaurant The Cypress Room.
I’ve been following Pisco Capurro for a while now on Instagram and was happy to finally try the pisco. It just launched in California so I’m glad I got this sneak-preview of sorts. I ordered a twist on a pisco sour, the Humming Bird. It’s a bit sweeter with the blood orange Solerno and vanilla but the fine black pepper balances it out. Still, I’d probably like this pisco on its own.
Humming Bird– Pisco Cappuro, Solerno, lemon, vanilla, egg white
My friend got the Scotsman which initially I was wary of the espresso infused honey but it worked. It was slightly confusing to get a citrus based drink in a rocks glass but I suppose they were keeping the Chivas in mind.
I wish we had time for an appetizer but the complimentary radishes on the bar filled us up.
Scotsman – Chivas 12 year Scotch, espresso infused honey, lemon, soda
Michael’s Genuine Food & DrinkAtlas Plaza
130 NE 40th St., Miami, FL 33137 — (305) 573-5550
Perhaps in every city there’s that one bartender that changed the cocktail scene for the better. In Miami, his name is John Lermayer. He’s found most nights at the Regent Cocktail Club at the Gale Hotel in South Beach.
Usually I remember when and where I first meet someone but it seems like I’ve always known (about) John. He’s just that much of a legend. And how can I forget the greatest garnish I’ve ever seen on a blended daiquiri?
We stopped in after the Dutch. Sadly John wasn’t working but he was holding court at the bar so that was fun.
The Regent prides itself on classic cocktails. They get their share of beach goers wanting simple highballs but you get them going when you ask for something from their leather-bound cocktail menu or off the chalk board.
We got a couple of classics including the Mary Pickford which I first enjoyed at the Varnish in Los Angeles. I chatted with John about dive bars and he recommended Mac’s Club Deuce Bar and Ted’s Hideaway which he called Teddy’s at the Beach. I made it over to the Deuce and it’s the real deal. If you want a genuine dive where you order a shot and a beer then keep your head down, this is the place.
Miami has a thriving craft cocktail scene and I’m happy to say I’ll be returning again sooner rather than later to check out the rest of the spots I missed. And maybe that Ted’s Hideaway because for every 10 craft bars, there’s still a need for a good ol’ dive.(305) 673-0199 © The Minty 2013