Churchill's Pub
Alexander Oliva
When a 300-pound punk dude named Father Damian (AKA Pink Eyes, Mr. Damian, Damian Abraham) strips down to his underwear, belly-flops onto the bar, climbs the walls, screams in your face, and then tries to shove the mike down your throat, you tend to remember the experience. You might be going through 16 stages of fear. You might even be shitting your pants. But strangely, you're having tons of fun. And if you're a fan of Canadian hardcore crew Fucked Up, this is the kind of incident you'd call superior entertainment. And these are the signs you've survived an all-out rumble with the biggest dude in the pit. Indeed, every time frontman Damian and his four cohorts — drummer Mr. Jo (AKA Jonah Falco), guitar guy 10,000 Marbles (AKA Mike Haliechuk), Concentration Camp (AKA Gulag, Josh Zucker), and Young Governor (AKA Ben Cook) — take the stage, it's a full-out attack on the human body. And the couple hundred punks, music nerds, and casual sadists who made it out to Churchill's September 14, 2010, left with scars — physical, psychic, or otherwise. Everyone got Fucked Up. And there were no regrets.
The Internet is killing the music industry. And it's total suicide to start a record label in 2011. So why not just say, "Screw it," preempt the inevitably shitty sales, forget making money, and put out an entire collection of uncompromisingly noncommercial stuff just for the thrill of building your own little scene atop the ruins of a dead system? Well, that's exactly what local artist Jay Hines did when he launched his latest enterprise, Augurari, a DIY project described on the official website as "a nonprofit organization" that "offers a catalog of limited-edition sound works in various media formats," all executed by visual artists who happen to sideline as musicians. So far, Augurari's output totals five cassettes. And the most recent is a split release from distortion-happy duo Viking Funeral (Juan Gonzalez and Carlos Ascurra) and no-wave threesome Holly Hunt (Beatriz Monteavaro, Gavin Perry, and Nick Klein), while the rest of the back catalog includes tapes from Siren Cult, Daniel Newman, and Charles Dubé, plus Hines himself. To keep it simple, Augurari is all about arty noise. But if you're wondering specifically what "uncompromisingly noncommercial" sounds like, simply listen to one of the tracks off Hines's cassette, Diane Ream/Nags Head: It's literally the sound of a belt sander destroying a microphone.
Studio Center
Founded in 1972 by Steve Cuiffo, Studio Center was a recording facility in North Miami where local Latin disco crew Foxy put its biggest hit to tape and television's Flipper got soundtracked. In 1990, the operation was transplanted to its current 6,000-square-foot location in Miami Lakes. And over the past 21 years, Studio Center has hosted superstars, divas, and hustlers, including Madonna, Shakira, Whitney, Trina, Trick Daddy, Fat Joe, and Rick Ross, while megaproducers such as Big D and Scotty Storch manned the boards. Now owned by mother-and-son team Berta Aleman and Hector Mendez, the studio is home base for recently injured pop hit-maker Sean Kingston and Haitian hip-hopper Black Dada. Its main music tracking and editing suite, dubbed the Icon Room, is tricked out with a fully digital workstation, stacks of superpowered compressors, and a whole selection of sweet vintage gear. And if you're aspiring to be a studio pro, you can score an internship with Aleman and Mendez's crew. Mike Banger, Lil Wayne's official engineer, got started as a Studio Center intern. So put in your time and maybe someday you'll be smoking stogies, sucking back sugary coffee, and laying down all-night sessions with Weezy.
Drive time on I-95 sucks. And it's not just the rush-hour gridlock, the waves of noxious exhaust seeping into your Escalade's climate-controlled interior, or the fact that all these road-raging assholes won't stop blasting their horns every 15 seconds. It's the radio too. C'mon, just scan the airwaves and try to find anything other than reruns of the same old Top 40 crap. It's a dead-end mission. You could be cranking that dial for days, unless you're lucky enough to be stalled someplace within broadcast range of DJ Meat, 107.1 FM, and the rest of the Street Connect crew. Now, this is a pirate rap radio station, blasting unauthorized transmissions across Miami-Dade County in defiance of the Federal Communications Commission. So you're gonna hear hard, expletive-laced versions of the hottest tracks from Carol City's Rick Ross to the Opa-locka Goon (AKA Brisco), Deerfield Beach's Ace Hood, Liberty City's Iceberg, and North Miami's Billy Blue. It's the way this click-clack was meant to hit your ears — uncensored, raw, and 1,000 percent street, motherfucker.
Goldrush boasts certain intangibles that hoist it head and shoulders (and other body parts) above any other VIP room in town. All right, technically the club has 32 VIP rooms. Plus a few champagne rooms. But same difference. Almost. So what makes Goldrush's VIP rooms so special? Well, nursing students, paralegals, and all manner of other women with respectable and perhaps totally fabricated daytime professions grinding their perhaps fabricated endowments against you for a nominal, prenegotiated donation. Which we suppose is really quite tangible after all. Besides, what other VIP room stays open 24 hours a day (except Monday and Tuesday, till 5 a.m.) to cater to the pervy whims that arise after a long night of imbibing?
L'Boulevard Cafe
For the bachata-, reggaeton-, trance-, and hip-hop-minded youth of Miami, this club in Little Santo Domingo offers the best in urban musical selection. The room temperature might be sweltering, but you will leave smiling, hot, and wet after dancing all night at the weekly all-you-can-drink, open-bar party. The club regularly hosts shows by live Latin bands and local rappers. Listen every Saturday to the live broadcast on El Zol 95.7 to get an idea of how DJs Koko and Liquid get down, but go to L'Boulevard Café in person for the true experience, and when you leave, hit the 5 a.m. chimi truck.
El Palenque Nightclub
After you've been to the party, the afterparty, and the hotel lobby, there's one more spot to hit: the after-hours club. There should be food, drink, women, gracious hosts, music, dancing, and a comfortable place to sit. El Palenque has all of these and more. The venue is Hispanic by nature, and attracts sureños and norteños from Homestead to West Palm. Early-morning booty dance contests have been known to go down, plus the place is centrally located for optimum access from any part of the county.
If you're searching for a real happy hour, look in the Brickell area — home of the Magic City's version of the bridge-and-tunnel crowd. In the canyon below office and residential high-rises, Barú Urbano is an oasis of drink that beckons suits chasing skirts. But this is Miami, after all, so instead of cosmos or Long Island ice teas, the drinks of choice have a definite Hispanic slant. Mojitos? Check. Caipirinhas? Check. Aguardiente? Check. And like the restaurant's signature drink, the Barú — Veev açai spirit with blueberries — the clientele here is infused with South American sensibilities (with the Colombian and Venezuelan vibes most palpable). There are outdoor and indoor spaces in equal measure, merging the subtropics with the financial district. It also helps that the place sits under a canopy of dense vegetation, so it's cool even during daylight hours. And if you needed further reminder of Miami's creativity, an explosion of art, mostly by Venezuelan artist Andres Risquez, dominates the décor. It's modern and definitely has a Latino flavor, much like the menu. Happy hour runs every weekday from noon to 8 p.m., with ladies enjoying complimentary champagne or sangria on Thursdays. The rest of the drink menu is 50 percent off.
Boteco
Four thousand miles. That's the distance between Miami and that thong-filled playground, Rio de Janeiro. Still, there's no need to stay home blasting bossa nova while crying into your salgadinhos. Join other Brazilians and Brazilophiles at Boteco, a Portuguese bar perched on NE 79th Street just west of the causeway. After drinking your weight in Itaipava beer and caipirinhas, and getting the munchies, you'll be glad to know this watering hole has some of Miami's most scrumptious bar food. The menu satisfies the three basic requirements of a boozer's palate: salty, fried, and meaty. Ease in with espetinhos ($2 to $3.50) — or meat skewers — because everything (including chicken hearts) tastes better torn off a stick. But Boteco's petiscos — or small plates — are the reasons our drunk, hungry asses keep coming back. Dig into traditional dishes such as bolinho de aipim com carne seca ($8), yuca croquettes filled with shredded meat; and camarão alho e óleo ($13), shrimp sautéed with oil, garlic, and parsley. If you're going to get wasted and eat everything in sight, this is the best place — after Rio — to binge under the influence.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®