Fritz & Franz Bierhaus
It normally strikes around October. But sometimes it happens, unexpectedly, in the summer: "Edelweiss" starts buzzing in your inner ear, an intense yearning for a juicy bratwurst, and a pint of frothy German beer. To cope with such cravings, head to Coral Gables. Okay, the Gables doesn't have even the faintest whiff of Munich or Bonn. But simply enter the cheery Fritz and Franz Bierhaus. Here German entrepreneur Harald Neuweg has created a nice little haven for expats of the Faderland. Affordable, tasty food includes: bratwurst ($4.25), stuffed cabbage ($14.95), schnitzel dinner ($16.95). Most important, though, is das bier. Dinkelbach, Paulaner, Tucher, Warsteiner -- Fritz and Franz has more than fifteen options daily. You can treat yourself and crew with the two-liter Harry's Biermaschine ($25.00), or a standard run stein of pilsner ($9.95). Or, for your designated driver, the girly stein is $3.75. Also you can watch the Bundesliga (German football league) at Fritz and Franz for maximum Deutsch-ness.
For five dollars (zilch if you're a museum member), you can drink from a well-stocked open bar, pick at tasty hors d'oeuvres (e.g., chicken satay and prosciutto-wrapped melon) proffered by roving waiters, take in live music or a DJ, and chat with artsy people. As if that weren't enough of a draw, the event, which goes down the third Thursday of the month from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m., is held on the breezy Philip Johnson-designed plaza outside the museum. It's one of the best deals in town.
Van Dyke Cafe
Although you can catch jazz at various locations around the city these days, there's only one place to hear consistently high-caliber jazz every night of the week. Upstairs at the Van Dyke, an institution since its birth along with the Van Dyke Café in 1994, continues to wow crowds with a well-rounded lineup of talented players who come from around the globe and span styles from samba to Southern roots. In addition to out-of-towners such as the legendary Slide Hampton, Eddie Henderson, Frank Wess, James Moody, and Randy Brecker, Upstairs features a rotating cast of regulars such as Sammy Figueroa and His Latin Jazz Explosion, Grammy-winning jazz violinist Federico Britos, and recent additions singers LeNard Rutledge and Beatriz Malnic. Don Wilner, former principal bassist for the Miami City Ballet and well-respected jazz man in his own right, runs the joint and sits in frequently. Wilner attributes the club's success to its "happy medium" of avant-garde and straight-ahead jazz, its location in the popular Van Dyke Café on heavily trafficked Lincoln Road, and the unfailing support of café owner Mark Soyka. Jazz aficionados can order from the café's full menu, with appetizers such as bruschetta, crabcakes, and quesadillas from $6.75 to $14; entrées such as fresh ravioli, poached salmon, and goat cheese pizza from $9.25 to $24.75; sandwiches; burgers; and a full bar. Unlike many live music venues in Miami, the cover charge is modest and there is no drink minimum. "Basically I think all we're trying to do is get the music paid for," Wilner says. Shows begin at 9:00 p.m., 10:30 p.m., and midnight. Sundays through Thursdays the cover is $6; it's $11 Fridays and Saturdays. Check the online calendar for upcoming shows and special events.
The great thing about Jazzumentary, which you can hear from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. every weekday on 88.9 FM, is that it changes format, rotating one of five different syndicated shows every day. On Mondays, it's Portraits in Blue, hosted by famed blues producer Bob Porter, who will enlighten you with his vast knowlege of lesser-known blues greats like ZZ Hill and early rock and rollers like Fats Domino. Tuesdays it's The Humble Farmer, which showcases jazz from the Twenties to the Fifties, music you might hear over the opening credits of a Woody Allen movie, like the sounds of Bob Wilber or Django Reinhardt. The witty volunteer host, Robert Skoglund, is full of observations and stories, some of which are about the music, many of which are about his trying to lose weight or something he saw on Good Morning America. Wednesdays it's JazzSet, a mix of classic and contemporary jazz, hosted by Grammy- and Tony-winning jazz vocalist Deedee Bridgewater. Bridgewater showcases greats like Count Basie and the Wynton Marsalis Septet. Thursdays is the Peabody-winning program Jazz from Lincoln Center in New York, which features exclusive live concerts from America's premier jazz performance series, as well as special guests. The Lincoln Center concerts are organized by Wynton Marsalis and are hosted for broadcast by 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley. Every Friday "Listen Here!" comes live from Chicago, with all the latest jazz releases. The hosts are Mark Ruffin, an Emmy-winning jazz correspondent for Artbeat Chicago on WTTW-TV, jazz editor for Chicago Magazine, music editor for the alternative weekly N'Digo, and a producer of jazz recordings and events; and Neil Tesser, a former adjunct professor in jazz history at Northwestern University.
The American Legion Harvey W. Seeds Post 29
Half of this CD jukebox's playlist is what you would expect in an American Legion hall, generally a venue occupied by octogenarians. Thus the juke is well stocked with crooners (Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin are here) and country standards (Merle Haggard and Hank Willams make appearances). But the surprising thing is its eclecticism. Perhaps because this Legion hall is only one of two open to the public, there are some uncharacteristic choices, like R.E.M.'s greatest hits, Modest Mouse, Smashing Pumpkins, and the Pixies. There's even a Funk's Greatest Hits CD (check out the look on the geezer at the bar when "Atomic Dog" starts up).
If you are going to get up on a stage and sing Dolly Parton's "Jolene" in front of 250 people, you want it to be the right kind of environment. You want bawdy but not loud. And while a part of you wants the crowd to watch, it's something of a relief to see them distracted in a game of pool. Most of all, you want cocktails, and you want them cheap. Our Place has this and more. Its karaoke nights on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday attract one of the most diverse crowds in town, ready to belt out hits in English and Spanish. Most drinks are less than $4, and Thursday is two-for-one for the ladies. Releasing your inner Celine Dion is free.
In the heart of Allapattah, a rather unglamorous storefront bathed in the Dominican Republic's red-and-blue national colors has long been a gathering place for Miami's true salseros and merengueros. These are people willing to endure the occasional thug brawl or carjacking just so they can grind to the pulsating music of La Banda Gorda and Los Hermanos Rosario. Here you'll encounter a sort of summit of the Americas, as Cubanos, Boricuas, Dominicanos, Colombianos, and everyone else from the Western Hemisphere gyrates to Frankie Ruiz and Elvis Crespo. You'll notice that the men are dressed in the Latin club standard uniform of irridescent long-sleeve shirts and dark dress slacks. Watch them as they -- using their lightening-fast hip-shimmy-shaking -- try to woo the voluptuous women in tight spandex club gear. Club Típico is open Friday through Sunday from 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.
A lesbian bar is difficult to find south of the Broward County line, but fortunately for women who love women, Miami's ongoing parties compensate for the lack. On Fridays, for an $8 cover, Pandora Events joins forces with Ultra Events for Cherry Pie at Club O'Zone, where girls can dance to house music and salsa, play pool, and sip two-for-one drinks from 10:00 to 11:00 p.m. "Please dress to impress," reads the polite flyer. "Our gay gentlemen friends are always welcome." On Saturdays, ICandee Productions runs Siren, at Creme Lounge, located directly above the boy party at Score. Siren's soundtrack changes from week to week, ranging from hip-hop to house to rock to Brazilian. There's a $6 cover before 8:00 p.m.; after that, it's $8.
Cuban-born Jorge Gonzalez Graupera, a.k.a. Jorges, might just be the hardest-working musician in Miami. After his band the Brand, which was founded in 2002 (and was Jorges's first live music venture), broke up in 2004, solo artistry became a necessity, so Jorges picked up his acoustic guitar and began playing on his own, quickly realizing he didn't need anything but himself. "I'm all about simplicity. When you just hear the voice and guitar, you're hearing songs in their purist form." Jorges, age 32, is constantly performing his interesting pop/rock love songs live, usually at PS 14, Churchill's, and I/O. He also recorded an excellent album, Possibly Now!, completely on his own, at home on the computer, which you can (and should) buy at his shows. Jorges's diligence has paid off: His song "Girlfriend," which female audience members mouth during his perfomances, has been played on the hit television shows Summerland and One Tree Hill as well as on various MTV programs. He also tours as much as possible. "When I'm on tour, all I want is to make enough for a $40 room and something to eat. Sometimes it doesn't happen, so I'll sit somewhere with my guitar, put my hat out in front, and make up the difference." Check out myspace.com/Jorges for show dates and times.
Dewey's Tavern
Despite its location amid million-dollar bayfront condos and a bunch of tanning salons and expensive cafés on South Beach, Dewey's Tavern, which is nestled on the corner of Ninth Street and Alton Road, does not wear the fancy pants. Instead Dewey's is a tight, cozy little hole-in-the-wall, one of the few places on the Beach where you won't find anyone wearing a $300 T-shirt. According to the staff, the tavern is rarely crammed with customers, usually just a relaxed local crowd that comes for happy hour weekdays from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. to get two-for-one well drinks, two-for-one wines, or a beer for $3. If you think you're like Paul Newman in The Hustler, you'll love Dewey's $5-entry-fee, winner-take-all pool tournaments every Tuesday night beginning at 6:00 p.m. And for those of you who like to get drunk and embarrass everyone else, karaoke night is every Saturday from 10:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m., and because of Dewey's small size, you can really get the audience involved (in dragging you away from the microphone). Dewey's also has a great little dining menu that includes grilled mahi-mahi sandwiches for $7.95 and fourteen-ounce hamburgers for the same price. Or you could be a cheap bastard and come for the free buffet Fridays at 7:00 p.m.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®