BEST OPEN-MIKE NIGHT Miami 2005 - Magnum Lounge
It's been around for only a few years, but the Magnum Lounge has a lived-in feel. It's dark and homey, and it comfortably pulls off a combination of gay-bar and restaurant atmospherics. If any one element does this trick, it's definitely the piano, which sits between the two halves of the lounge. This is a place where you're likely to see an Elvis Costello look-alike sipping his red wine and mooning over the bartender, despite the adorable object's questionable taste in tattoos. Across the bar a pretty woman picks idly through a dish of mixed nuts as a man, much too old for her, whispers eagerly into her ear. As the ice melts in your third drink, you will perhaps reflect on your own poor taste in men, which runs to early Brando -- gorgeous, tortured, distant. Never mind. Listen as piano man Walter Lena delivers a campy rendition of "New York, New York," drawing a smattering of applause. "Thank you, music lovers," he replies cattily. "Screw the rest." Good advice, dear friend, in so many situations. Each night offers a different player and sometimes an additional singer, but generally, if the spirit moves you to torment fellow patrons with a Broadway number, no one will stop you. Thursdays in particular are popular evenings for aspiring crooners and drunken sing-alongs.