Best Nightlife Trend (2008)

Overtown and Park West

For a while, only the most intrepid venue owners and clubbers ventured to the edge of Overtown around NE 14th Street and North Miami Avenue. For several years, the medium-size indoor/outdoor club I/O flourished there, and then tiny watering hole PS14 opened a couple of doors down. Alas I/O closed, leaving PS14 alone. But then the megaluxury palace Karu & Y opened a couple of blocks west, to extreme skepticism, to say the least. Somewhere along the way, the strip of NE 11th Street known as the "Park West District" became a wall-to-wall strip of high-traffic spots, and at least the nightclub part of the Karu & Y complex did okay. The sparkly-white bohemian joint White Room opened on NE Miami Court, the old Ice Palace studios began hosting the occasional event again, The Vagabond took over the old I/O space, and not so suddenly there was an honest-to-goodness club district on the mainland. And unlike their glitzy counterpart left behind on the Beach, the areas around Overtown and Park West offer something for everybody, from scruffy artsy parties to strip club debauchery to live bands to superclub afterhours. It's the kind of patchwork nightlife playground, relatively free of pretension, that made Miami Beach cool the first time around. Maybe on this side of the causeway, we'll get it right this time.


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