If you drive by Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, you'll see the word Carillon spelled out in baby blue letters against the white backdrop of the Hotel's rooftop. It's a leftover from when The Carillon Hotel was a shining symbol of Miami Modern style and a hot spot on the Beach. Now Canyon has named its new lounge after the original property, and are featuring a happy hour that offers a daily-changing menu of red wine, white wine, beer, cocktail, and appetizer, each for $5. As I am always appreciative of a good bargain, I headed to the Canyon and checked out the Carillon.
I took a seat at the bar. It's a small bar, and a small but cozy lounge. On a nicer evening I would have sat outdoors; the pretty ocean view from there would have made the hour that much happier. Signature cocktails include the Canyon Ranch Melon Ball, the Veev-A-Mojito, and all sorts of complexly concocted elixirs ($14 apiece). Special cocktail of the day was an Apple-tini, made with Rain organic vodka, apple juice, and homemade sour mix. A "house-made" maraschino cherry anchored the bottom of the inverted martini glass triangle, and tasted a lot more like a fresh cherry than a maraschino. Which is probably a good thing. I can't complain about the drink -- $5 is a deal -- but it was pretty plain and not especially well-garnished for a $14 cocktail
(I should note that I'm not totally on board the concept of a hotel/spa committed to "wellness" serving hard alcohol.)
Executive chef Giovanni Arias oversees the new bar menu. The snacks aren't all that exciting: a grass-fed burger ($11); veggie burger ($11); crab cake sandwich ($14); and eight small plates, including red pepper hummus ($8); chicken satay ($12); Italian chicken sausage and mozzarella flatbread ($11); artichoke fries ($6); and organic edamame beans in the shell ($6). The $5 "deal" of the day was the edamame -- a savings of one buck. You'd think Canyon management would be more generous and offer something more compelling for the opening push of their new lounge. Whatever. I like edamame beans, and the mildly spicy soy dipping sauce was fine.
I also sampled an order of the artichoke fries, which come with organic ketchup that tastes a little like cold, fresh tomato sauce. The "ketchup" paired better with the snippets of baked and well-seasoned fresh artichoke bottoms better than expected; it was a very tasty appetizer and at $6, a deal on its own.
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Bottom line: Going for a $14 cocktail indoors? You can do better. But the Carillon is worth checking out for the 5-for-$5 deal, or anytime if you sit outdoors and take advantage of the breezy view.
Happy hour runs from 4 to 6 p.m. each evening. (The bar is open 4 to 11 p.m.)
Canyon Ranch Miami Beach
6801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach