Last May myself and four single ladies went on a boozy holiday to Miami. We were there for one reason only, ‘to party’, or as my friend Sam would say, ‘for a mad one’. We finished work on Friday and met at La Guardia, New York’s shittiest, little airport. Fortunately they have do have a bar. We ordered their only bottle of Prosecco and our holiday had begun.
We got to the hostel after midnight and decided to go out for a drink. We had some friends who were already at S.O.B’s so decided to get our heels on and join them. SOBs is an exclusive hotel on Ocean Drive so we were expecting a pretentious bunch of wealthy pricks wearing chinos. I was pleased to find SOBs had a really relaxed vibe, it felt more like a beach bar in Ibiza. The music was mellow, the crowd normal and relaxed (girls were in maxi dresses and flats around the pool) and thankfully (although unfairly) the five of us girls strolled in for free, no cover necessary.
After a reasonably early night we were up just in time for a free bagel courtesy of the hostel. We had picked our accommodation for its proximity to the beach so it was only five minutes before we were on the sand. The beach is right by the famous strip of bars and art deco housing that is Ocean Drive. We headed up Ocean Drive, admired the colourful architecture and dodged every single waiter offering you a shot and a flagon of cocktail for $20. We went to Wet Willies which is a bit of an institution. I ordered a litre of frozen margarita, and we headed back to the beach. There is a great atmosphere in Miami, the beach is huge, the water is warm and the vibe is relaxed.
For dinner that night we went downtown. In the cab we passed Star Island where the uber wealthy live. The houses looked insane and surrounded by water, to keep out the peasants I presume.
We had a great Peruvian meal at Cevice 202. Cevice is a chain but this was my first visit. The Pisco Sours were delicious as was the cevice; everyone left happy having paid just under $25. For some reason everyone also pretended it was their birthday. The staff were happy to play along so there was birthday cake for pudding. After dinner we headed to a warehouse night. It was a weird and generally terrible night. People smoked cigarettes indoors (not unheard of in a warehouse) but the building was so poorly ventilated the smoke made your eyes stream (strike one). Other partiers were weird older guys (strike two). And finally the drinks behind the bar were expensive, and the music was incredibly bad (strike three, four…). We left.
On the Sunday we went for brunch. Being ‘New Yorkers’ it couldn’t be a long weekend without a boozy mid-day eating and drinking session so we had brunch at the Archers. The food was good, the waiter was fun and the mimosas were never ending. It was also the ideal way to prep for Nikki Beach. Nikki Beach is a must for anyone visiting Miami to party. Again we were lucky we had the boys who had to buy drinks to keep a cabana. The cheapest thing on the menu (which is not actually cheap at all) is a bottle of rose the size of an oxygen tank. This gave us enough fuel for the dance floor ( where dance offs seem to break out every five minutes) for about five hours before we had to call it a night.
Our last day! We decided to go paddle-boarding and attempt to see some wildlife. This was our one non-booze related adventure and it was brilliant. After spending a ridiculous amount of time on the bus (only 25 cents for each journey though) we arrived at South Beach Paddleboard and Kayak. For $40 each we had an hour to paddle around the bay. We saw some wildlife and several outrageous Miami mansions with hot tubs, pools and speed boat docks instead of driveways. A lurid green iguana languished on a rock as we paddled by one of the mansions, and a dolphin jumped out of the water by us at one point. Unfortunately however for me, (world’s biggest manatee fan), we saw no manatees. Paddle boarding, (in this non-windy calm lagoons around South beach at least) was surprisingly easy. All of us none of whom are massively sporty could stand up and paddle without too many dramas. We rounded off our trip with burgers and beers before heading back to the airport.
We stayed at So-Be Hostel which was fine. Posh Hostel and International Miami Hostel come highly recommended and are at a similar price (both have roof top pools and organize club nights including FREE entry – just sayin) but you need to book early.
If I had more time I would recommend checking out Miami’s architecture* (of which you can do guided tours) and art galleries** (I hear they’re great). I also hear there is a lot of good eating to be done on Espanola Way.
*in fact, it’s amazing. Frank Gehry’s New World Centre, Rem Koolhass’s Bass Museum of Art, Herzog & Meuron Miami Art Museum.
**FUCKING FANTASTIC. Perez Art Museum especially. Also worth checking out is Shepherd Fairy’s murals on Winward Walls.