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BEST PARTY OF THE YEAR Miami 2003 - Barton G's grand opening

October 18, 2002

Indomitable party czar Barton G knows more than anyone the elements needed for a successful social gathering: a fabulous setting, plenty of tasty food, and endlessly flowing drink. Add to that a couple of aloof giraffes, a friendly chimp, half-naked dancing girls, a selection of disco stars, and teeming hordes struggling to get in and you have the ultimate affair, which he threw this past October to inaugurate his namesake Barton G the Restaurant. With military precision more than 800 guests arrived at a parking lot near the Miami Beach Convention Center, checked in, and then boarded shuttle buses that took them on a short jaunt to Fourteenth Street and West Avenue, formerly home to Gatti's and Starfish. Beyond the velvet ropes loomed one of this town's truly over-the-top bacchanals. Giraffes posed lackadaisically on the sidewalk like detached supermodels. Sabrina the chimp, dressed in a chef's uniform and toque, signed autographs and waved the crowd into a large air-conditioned tent filled with food stations. There, cooks made pasta dishes to order, served up miniature hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and lamb chops. Several bars offered a plethora of beverages. A cornucopia of cookies, cakes, brownies, and tiny candy apples beckoned by the door. The neighboring twinkly lit garden featured a similar setup. But back at the tent was where the entertainment dazzled. Dancers sporting feathery headdresses and not much else energetically kicked up their heels. The Trammps, Thelma Houston, Evelyn "Champagne" King, and Gloria Gaynor crooned their greatest hits under a glittering disco ball. Celebs such as Sopranos star Joe Pantoliano hobnobbed with the little people. Alas, close to midnight the spell was broken and the merrymaking had to end. But knowing the eatery's first anniversary is a scant five months away, we eagerly await what the brilliant Mr. G has up his sleeve for the next bash.

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