Best Venue for Local Acts - 2012
Set back about a hundred steps from SW Eighth Street, a black, boxy building hides in the shadow of I-95. This is the Performing Arts Exchange, also known as PAX Miami. Just more than a year ago, owner and art buyer Roxanne Scalia completed renovations on the former Miami Herald distribution center. She quickly booked a bunch of bands, including Miami jam stars Suénalo, local Latin fusion legends Locos por Juana, and Magic City alt-rockers Minimal. In the intervening 13 months, Scalia's place has become a clubhouse for Brickell and the rest of Miami's best- and least-known Afro-Cuban, compas, indie rock, reggae, and jazz musicians — not to mention touring acts from foreign lands like Haiti, Chile, Argentina, France, and Puerto Rico. A laid-back cultural hub that describes itself as "a progressive independent performing and cinema arts center in a sustainable format, with a local focus and a global reach," PAX is all about promoting Miami's artists and musicians. And that's exactly why the locals hang out here, scenesters sip java and beer at the bar, and the small, low-slung stage is almost never empty.