A conversation with Michael Capponi never lasts too long or goes too deep. It's not that the man behind nationally acclaimed nights at Prive, B.E.D., Mansion, and the DiLido Beach Club is inattentive or shallow; it's because the lifestyle of this perpetual host leaves little time for schmoozing. Capponi, whose elegant Belgian demeanor mixes with surfer-boy charm, is often seen posing for photos with celebri-friends such as Ashton Kutcher, P. Diddy, and Madonna. Since re-emerging from a two-year pilgrimage to Guadeloupe and Europe (partly to cleanse his partied-out body and soul), Capponi has ascended to the top of the party heap: sought out by magazines, developers, sporting-event promoters, and charity organizers whenever they want to put together a badass bash.

A seemingly incongruous setting for the consummate cocktail, the Marlin's bar actually serves a splendid version of the original, with your choice of top-shelf gin and vermouth as well as the newfangled blends involving apple schnapps or whatever. For atmosphere, the curving bar is long enough to accommodate your whole posse and low-key enough for sitting alone; comfortable sofas and seats are scattered around the open room. Experimental films, world music, and reggae provide accompaniments to your olive-or-not, shaken-or-stirred, gin or vodka reason to be here. As is typical with Miami Beach bars, drinks are pricey and door people sometimes less than extroverted, but the martini in your hand and the dizzying stimuli make the Marlin Bar a keeper, an absolute must for year-round residents to get to know.

A seemingly incongruous setting for the consummate cocktail, the Marlin's bar actually serves a splendid version of the original, with your choice of top-shelf gin and vermouth as well as the newfangled blends involving apple schnapps or whatever. For atmosphere, the curving bar is long enough to accommodate your whole posse and low-key enough for sitting alone; comfortable sofas and seats are scattered around the open room. Experimental films, world music, and reggae provide accompaniments to your olive-or-not, shaken-or-stirred, gin or vodka reason to be here. As is typical with Miami Beach bars, drinks are pricey and door people sometimes less than extroverted, but the martini in your hand and the dizzying stimuli make the Marlin Bar a keeper, an absolute must for year-round residents to get to know.

After too many years of snooty dress codes, most clubs, even the chichi hot spots, have loosened up and opened their hallowed doors to patrons wearing jeans. Good old denim, the fabric that changed America, conquers another frontier. It used to be that admittance to a high-end joint began with expensive slacks for men and short skirts for women, but these nights it's all about looking cool, not elegant, so "proper attire required" is an instruction better left to galas. Not that regal clothes are evil. Linen pants are classy, but denim is classic, and a pair of well-worn Levis with a white button-down shirt and leather boots is as dressed up as anybody needs be to consume alcohol, endure pounding music, and maybe get laid. Besides, jeans look better with another nightlife fashion trend: pink shirts. Further, it should be noted that nothing clashes with earplugs.

After too many years of snooty dress codes, most clubs, even the chichi hot spots, have loosened up and opened their hallowed doors to patrons wearing jeans. Good old denim, the fabric that changed America, conquers another frontier. It used to be that admittance to a high-end joint began with expensive slacks for men and short skirts for women, but these nights it's all about looking cool, not elegant, so "proper attire required" is an instruction better left to galas. Not that regal clothes are evil. Linen pants are classy, but denim is classic, and a pair of well-worn Levis with a white button-down shirt and leather boots is as dressed up as anybody needs be to consume alcohol, endure pounding music, and maybe get laid. Besides, jeans look better with another nightlife fashion trend: pink shirts. Further, it should be noted that nothing clashes with earplugs.

Gordon Biersch Brewery & Restaurant
Admittedly there are wittier and more attractive crowds than the corporate types gathered at Gordon Biersch during its festive happy hour, which kicks off every day (except the already popular Friday) at 5:00 p.m. But fun's the point (it's called "happy" for a reason), and there's great fun to be had sipping a cold brew after the paycheck grind as a horde of suits romp around a Brickell Avenue, oak-paneled brewery/restaurant with the carelessness and glee of unsupervised children. Accountants, lawyers, and other executive types tend to have the social skills of your average turtle -- which increases the entertainment value in watching the action at the bar, where the need for another drink and the guzzling of entire mugs of beer result in a kinetic energy and loosening of ties. For these people the ability to relate to other human beings (especially those of the opposite sex) in an engaging way requires copious amounts of alcohol. And with a sweeping selection of beer and skilled bartenders able to whip up any cocktail ever invented, Gordon Biersch is the perfect place for them to get sauced. And for you to enjoy the show.

Admittedly there are wittier and more attractive crowds than the corporate types gathered at Gordon Biersch during its festive happy hour, which kicks off every day (except the already popular Friday) at 5:00 p.m. But fun's the point (it's called "happy" for a reason), and there's great fun to be had sipping a cold brew after the paycheck grind as a horde of suits romp around a Brickell Avenue, oak-paneled brewery/restaurant with the carelessness and glee of unsupervised children. Accountants, lawyers, and other executive types tend to have the social skills of your average turtle -- which increases the entertainment value in watching the action at the bar, where the need for another drink and the guzzling of entire mugs of beer result in a kinetic energy and loosening of ties. For these people the ability to relate to other human beings (especially those of the opposite sex) in an engaging way requires copious amounts of alcohol. And with a sweeping selection of beer and skilled bartenders able to whip up any cocktail ever invented, Gordon Biersch is the perfect place for them to get sauced. And for you to enjoy the show.

Felt
Located in one of the oldest booze buildings in South Beach (the old Diamond Bar spot), Felt has moved forward to become a favorite hang for cats far too cool to tangle with the trendoid mobs of posers filling neonland. Ten eight-and-a-half-foot blue felt tables crowd the joint while a DJ spins an eclectic mix of Eighties rock, hip-hop, and, on rare occasions, some dance. Felt's top shark, Fritz Romeus, also happens to be behind those sordid SKIN parties, which explains the gammy, fake-boob babes cavorting about in what is an otherwise laid-back joint. The only annoyance is a minor one: Patrons into serious pool endure tight spacing between tables. This often causes a shooter to bump butt with someone at another table. On the bright side, butt-bumping's a great way to meet people.

Located in one of the oldest booze buildings in South Beach (the old Diamond Bar spot), Felt has moved forward to become a favorite hang for cats far too cool to tangle with the trendoid mobs of posers filling neonland. Ten eight-and-a-half-foot blue felt tables crowd the joint while a DJ spins an eclectic mix of Eighties rock, hip-hop, and, on rare occasions, some dance. Felt's top shark, Fritz Romeus, also happens to be behind those sordid SKIN parties, which explains the gammy, fake-boob babes cavorting about in what is an otherwise laid-back joint. The only annoyance is a minor one: Patrons into serious pool endure tight spacing between tables. This often causes a shooter to bump butt with someone at another table. On the bright side, butt-bumping's a great way to meet people.

Delano South Beach
For all its chic international appeal, the poolside bar scene at the Delano remains refreshingly accessible. No velvet ropes, no beefy bouncers, no clipboard-wielding door divas. As a nonguest, you should be polite and use some stealth: stroll nonchalantly through the sumptuous lobby into the carefully manicured rear area. Meander past the rows of private bungalows to the back bar, then plunk yourself on a stool providing a perfect view of South Beach's lotus eaters in full glory. The music's not too loud (lounging without migraines: what a concept), and the drinks, while hardly a bargain (this is South Beach), are lower-priced than the jewelry and designer swimsuits you'll spy on guests lazily drifting about the pool's brightly dappled water. After a few cocktails you may find yourself transfixed by the pool itself: Its "virtual edges" are now de rigueur for fine hotels around the nation. And should you spot a hot celeb tanning on a deck chair, keep your camera tucked away. The security staff is cool, and quick to toss paparazzi staking out Hollywood dreams. In all ways, discretion is the better part of having a blast, or just getting blasted, at the Delano.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®