BEST BAR TO MODEL-WATCH - 2002
Pearl Restaurant and Champagne Lounge
Since the dawn of time, models have been in love with fur-covered chairs. Especially orange-red fur. That's one reason they flock to Pearl, located in deep-south South Beach. Designer Stephane Dupoux, a native of France, must have known about this mysterious phenomenon, for he placed such shaggy furniture around the purple-and-red neon aura of the second-floor bar of what was once Penrod's. Dupoux was also not clueless about the fact that models migrate toward retro-futuristic lounges that are luminescent orange and have curvaceous bars and extra-large white leather sofas. Who can explain this curiously magnetic attraction? Probably no one, but what matters is that it really exists. Proprietor Jack Penrod -- who reportedly shelled out $1.2 million for the makeover of his faded old cheeseburger and pi?a colada joint -- can vouch for it. But you, Monsieur Voyeur, only have to pay one one-hundred-thousandth of that ($12) for a dose of the bubbly. Go ahead, try your best to buy one of these exotic creatures a glass. (Or try tempting them with a bottle, which range in price from $100 to $3000.) But first you must penetrate the compound, which also houses the voyeur-friendly, open-air Nikki Beach Club. Tip for males who are not models and who are not tight with Mr. Penrod's promotional partners, Tommy Pooch and Eric Omores: Dress distinctively, think creatively, and you might pass muster at the velvet rope. Otherwise you'll have to settle for the scanned snapshots accessible online at www.vbcstudios.com/clients/ pearl.shtml.