After being bounced from venue to venue for a year and a half, Revolver promoter Josh Menendez scouted out the Design District's Soho Lounge, and since last August, its two stories have provided a happy home for all manner of fresh sonic options. Serving up dance music you won't hear anywhere else in town -- from off-kilter electronica to New Wave obscurities -- to a crowd who actually loves to dance to it all, Revolver has become an obvious Friday-night destination. Add in frequent live shows from bands who never previously toured through Miami, free street parking, and one of the few scenes where gay and straight clubbers mix, and you've got a crucial new addition to local nightlife. And even with the capacity crowds now packing out his party, Menendez has kept the prices reasonable, his patrons' posing at an entertaining minimum, and the overall vibe more inspiring than anything on the Beach -- or around the rest of the city, for that matter.

The vegetables were speaking to me

You see, I used to understand the whispering broccoli and brussel sprouts

But I never heard a peep from the peas, and I love peas

After all, I was the dishrag, the sponge, the dishwashing Zen

Then I heard of the World Wrestling Jackass Duo

Where big bully Bush fights little bully Hussein

And sweating oily men get it on

And suddenly the earth became my booking agent

And I became a planetary citizen.

Is it over? Fuácata is definitely not over. The weekly Thursday-night party at Hoy Como Ayer, in the heart of Little Havana, had Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair crooning for it, calling it the bastion of Miami's new scene, a cocktail of the old and new Latin experience. The freshness is still in the air, though it is hard to pick up through the musky humidity of so many sweaty bods jam-packed inside. Getting there after midnight might mean no entry thanks to fire codes. The spirit of the night stems from the historical, authentically New World Latin neighborhood, and the nostalgic venue, scattered with autographed pictures of Latin music greats -- Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, and Celia Cruz to name a few. The soul, though, belongs to the band everyone comes to see, the Spam Allstars. The improvisational modern jazz ensemble mixes a unique Latin funk infusion with an urban bass backdrop courtesy of the group's face and maestro, DJ Le Spam, a.k.a. Andrew Yeomanson. The low roof and seamless sea of people conjure up images of other music sardine cans like Manhattan's old CBGB's. The differences are obviously musical: punk rock for New Age salsa'd funk, and young mohawked moshers for prepped-up Latin lovers of all ages. The big shots in music still come around too. Mick Jagger swung by and danced up a storm, and Ricky Martin partied with his entourage of five great-looking guys. Fuácata is the one circuit party in the city that's always sure to be alive and kicking.

Chic. Cool. Intoxicated. And that's the way you feel even before your cocktail! As you walk through the hotel doors, the sleek white chairs and tables to the left announce Miami's best place to sip from a long-stemmed glass and sink into one smooth recline (or decline, depending on how many rounds). What used to be supercool-looking Astor Place and its bar is now even better looking, with clean lines in white, mahogany, and steel gray. From your chair is a full view -- through a glass wall -- of the patio, with its waterfall and colorful plants. Turn your head slowly and the deep-brown wooden shutters that cover the windows make a picture-perfect backdrop to the all-white chairs. But to really do the cocktail experience right, you need to perch yourself on one of the white stools at the glass-covered bar, where Todd will mix you up anything your thirsty soul desires, and will flick a gold Zippo before you realized you even needed a light. What does that whiskey taste like? Here, try it, he'll say. There's no better seat in town.

Readers Choice: Delano Hotel

You could go to some pumped-up strip mall and find one of those generic, neon-lit game meccas where they have twenty dart boards -- all in perfect condition. Bah! As any good dart player knows, you need a crowded, smoky pub for proper darts. You need lots of dark wood and ready access to foaming pints of beer. But you also need a place where the board is not just another wall decoration. That's Norman's. The place respects the tossing of the feathers. They set aside an alcove away from the passing crowd so no one will jostle you. A ledge runs to the right of where you stand so you don't have to move between throws in order to take a sip from your beer. Anybody who has ever been in the zone knows how important that is. The bristle board is replaced on average every three months. The bar darts, quite serviceable, are replaced every two weeks. But as you should know by now, you're better off bringing your own darts.

Across the street from the Diamond Club, a seemingly endless line of nightcrawlers wraps around the corner, waiting to get into Level. Cars cruise along Washington Avenue, drivers honk their horns, and passengers try to pick up women traipsing around in tight-fitting clothes that show off lots of cleavage. It's a typical night in South Beach. But inside this pool joint, patrons are focused on only one thing: sinking a shot, preferably the eight ball. Diamond's cool atmosphere, spacious layout, and plentiful tables make for a primo pool-playing place. And the wide, wonderful view of Washington Avenue will tantalize those who must people-watch as they rack 'em up. Plus it is open way late -- till 5:00 a.m. seven days a week.

For all you Who fans still fixated on the Tommy rock opera, Don Carter's offers a chance for the pinball wizard in you to show off. The bowling alley's rotunda game room, located to the right of the main entrance, includes several pinball machines inspired by movies such as Terminator 2 and rock groups like the Who and Kiss. The snack bar also offers draft pale ale to quench any true gamer's thirst. Of course, if you get bored with pinball, you could always pick up a game of bowling at one of the 72 state-of-the-art lanes. The place is also an insomniac's living dream. It's open till 1:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and till 3:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

It's not really the eighteen tables or the competitive pricing ($6 per hour per table from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays, $8.50 weeknights, and $9.50 weekends) that makes Bird Bowl the place to play pool. It's the people-watching. Weekend nights bring a massive throng to the pool hall section of Bird Bowl (also an arcade and popular bowling alley), but weekdays are the best time to check out the regulars. "They're here every day, seven days a week," says Bird Bowl general manager Wayne Graham. "They meet the guy who opens at the door every day at 11:00 a.m. They're neighborhood guys." The gentlemen in question (mostly older, mostly Cuban) are a marvel to watch, effortlessly intuiting the Euclidean geometry (and Newtonian physics) that guides the colored spheres while squinting through a puff of cigar smoke, grinning at opponents after a perfect bank shot drops into the pocket. Two warnings: 1) Despite the many tables, Bird Bowl's pool hall can get crowded on weekend nights; if you need perfect peace and quiet to make a shot, it's not the place for you. 2) The old guys shuffling around the tables may look harmless, but they're not. Play them at your own risk -- you may learn something.

This is the award they don't want to admit they deserve. But no other club in Miami is as synonymous with rolling as this legendary place, formerly known as Club Space (it recently moved down the street to even better digs). The reasons to come candy-flip here are as easy as its vast setting, where trance pounds nonstop from Friday night to Sunday morning. So if you are up on a weekend e-train you can't get off, Space 34 is full of bouncing, buxom, based-up chicks. It is at precisely early in the morning that pill-popping takes you to the cusp of logic and reason, and pushes you off. And when falling down Ecstasy's synthetic whirlpool, it is cooler to be around hundreds of other spun-out twist heads.

If you've never slow danced Jamaican-style, you've never slow danced at all. It isn't so much the speed of the music that makes the dancehall grind so sensual. However fast or slow the riddim, it's the economy of movement that makes dancehall grind. Lock legs with your partner and get so close that a toothpick couldn't pass between you. Start the movement from your pelvis and let it ripple along your belly to the top of your ribs. If your partner does the same, you may have the start of something beautiful. As long as you both keep your clothes on, it's all perfectly legal. Irie.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®