Best Hotel Lounge - 2012
FDR at Delano
There is no denying South Beach was abuzz with the news that Chris Paciello would be returning to the scene with a new project. After years as a guest in federal prison, he found a very different South Beach than the one he encountered in the 1990s. Sure, South Beach is just as vain as it was back then. But the free-spirit, bohemian attitude has been replaced by Vegas-like aspirations of hospitality and entertainment. But Paciello has brought back the old days at FDR at Delano, the Florida Room's former digs. This is a low-light, cavernous space filled with richly textured, expensive-looking décor and pricey drinks. Try one of the signature cocktails for $20 — seriously worth the price — such as the New Deal, made with Bulleit bourbon, peach purée, and ginger beer. Or check out the Eleanor (notice a pattern?), made with Plymouth gin, muddled strawberries, and lemon juice. Cocktails aside, it's what FDR represents that really has us calling it Miami's number one: a return to the ultra-VIP glamour that first put South Beach on the map. Which means just trying to get across the velvet ropes is half the fun.