Art Deco Nightclub District – South Beach

Art deco actually began when the U.S. adopted various European architectural designs in the early 1900’s. In the 1920’s, art deco consisted primarily of skyscrapers built at the time in a classical variety of elaborate materials and themes based upon fountains, nude figures, and flowers. As people tended to become more conservative in their way of thinking after the Depression, art deco became less flamboyant and a form of architecture known as Streamline Moderne, was often seen in government and public buildings. Miami architects, however, added their own sense of style to building facades with flowers, birds, and ships to enhance the seaside appeal in what is commonly referred to as Tropical Deco. This style emphasized open balconies, odd asymmetrical shapes, space age forms, mosaics, and materials of gold and copper. In general, however, art deco consists of overall symmetry, sculptured panels, terraced rooflines, porthole windows, terrazzo floors, and lots of curves, edges, and neon lighting inside and out. Fortunately, apart from the more contemporary MiMo or modern Miami architecture that reflects different interpretations, a large part of the original art deco in South Beach still remains.

Think of pastel pink, blue, yellow, and purple, flashing neon lights, and eye-catching architecture–the South Beach art deco district. The district is carefully protected and preserved by the Miami Design Preservation League, as a “living…neighborhood museum.” Running parallel to the beach, on streets lined with palm trees, there are over 800 buildings in the art deco district. Along Ocean Drive from 5th to 15th Street, between Collins and Washington Avenues, nightclub life is non-stop excitement, music, and entertainment. Take your choice of dancing till dawn, after hours clubbing, the singles scene, or just people watching. Go for cocktails at the Pawn Shop or join the celebrities at the Mansion, with six bars, lots of mirrors, and sparking chandeliers. Spend some time at the Crobar, a nightclub in a converted old art deco theater, or dance to the hip-hop music of Trick Daddy and Juvenile on the 2,000 gallon aquarium floor at Club Deep.

At the extreme northern edge of the art deco nightclub district is the Mynt Lounge, an exclusive meeting place for the stars and the who’s who of the South Beach social register. The Mynt is frequented by the more sophisticated clientele who prefer luxury and intimacy to the loud and noisy younger crowds. The Sky Bar, the poolside club at the Shore Club, and the Rose Bar at the Delano Hotel also feature premium drinks, great atmosphere, and lively happy hours.

If you’re looking for a wide variety of music, stop by the Boom Box, with graffiti murals on the walls and everything from reggae to punk to techno. The crowds pour in to Automatic Slim’s where there’s no cover charge and no closing. Check out the special theme nights when ladies drink free at this popular live rock local bar, nothing too fancy, just informal and fun. For avid sports fans, the Chamber Lounge is less crowded, and less well known, but no less inviting. Watch your favorite games, enjoy two for one nights, play some pool, or just kick back to the sounds of the jukebox.

Live performances of jazz at the Jazid are other attractions in the art deco nightclub district of South Beach. The two-level club features an intimate lounge, a pool table and cocktail bar upstairs, and a weekly Brazilian night, as well. The Van Dyke Café has a mix of Brazilian, Latin, and American jazz. Then, there’s the Clevelander on Ocean Drive, a combination hotel, bar, and restaurant, where you can watch live performances, sports events on the big screen, and indulge in specialty drinks. For real pre-war art deco there’s the Café Cardozo, owned by Emilio and Gloria Estefan, at the Cardozo Hotel

After a spectacular sun sets across South Beach, the party animals come out and the nightclub district comes alive. From hotel bars and casual clubs to Latin dancing at Club Nostalgia and Mango’s, the wild and crazy mingle with the upscale and sedate. Where waitresses dance on the sidewalks and just about anything goes, it’s unique; it’s trendy…it’s art deco South Beach style.

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