Stocked with more than 100 whiskeys and enough grub to keep even the pickiest of diners satisfied, a new South Beach speakeasy-style craft kitchen is worth visiting for the better part of a night out. Commonwealth, which opened this past November, is the neighborhood's first bar dedicated to more than just booze.
Created by Miami nightlife veterans Angel Sanchez and Paul Brown, the gastropub is the progeny of two decades' worth of hospitality experience, which explains why a strong farm-to-table menu was just as important as craft cocktails and a massive whiskey selection.
Located at 1216 Washington Ave., the 2,300-square-foot space, which includes a semiprivate abbey room, exudes vintage charm. It was designed with rustic wood and dark accents, contrasted by a warm amber glow courtesy of candles and orange bulbs. A rainbow of liquor bottles lines Commonwealth's bar, offering international whiskeys, Scotches, and bourbons, as well as local brews and a variety of ingredients for craft cocktails. The ambiance and chef-driven comfort food place Commonwealth among the area's more laid-back and homey spots.
Helming the kitchen is executive chef Daniel Roy, who most recently worked alongside Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford and chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Matador Room inside the Miami Beach Edition. Roy's menu at Commonwealth is varied, offering everything from a barbecue burger served with duck-fat fries to a salad of butternut squash and burrata followed by pappardelle pasta.
Begin your meal with octopus a la plancha ($20), served in an eggplant purée and drizzled with olive salsa. For the main, stick with seafood and order pan-seared scallops ($35), which are placed atop a creamy serving of bacon, sweet corn, jalapeño, and white cheddar.
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For something meaty, the Commonwealth burger is a must-try ($18). A thick patty is hugged by slices of brioche bun. A yolky egg nests inside the top bun, adding a messy but tasty component to the plate. For even more flavor, bacon marmalade comes smeared on the patty.
For dessert, snag a few scoops of Sweet Melody ice cream ($9).
Though the items on Commonwealth's menu are expensive — mains range from $20 to $30 — prices fall in line with those at most restaurants in South Beach. It might be difficult to justify spending $35 on scallops at a gastropub, but the quality and richness of Roy's menu are evident.