Kirk Munroe Tennis Center
The Kirk Munroe Tennis Center has no pro shop to get your racket strung or vending machines with Gatorade and Evian to parch your thirst between sets (a couple of old-school water fountains serving tap will have to do). The practice/warm-up wall looks pretty beat up, and there's no dedicated parking — only meters. But if you like to play tennis without the pretense that surrounds the sport, you can't do better than the five hard courts smack-dab in the middle of Coconut Grove. All the basics are covered — correct tension on the nets, ample lighting, and no holes in the surrounding fences — but what this court does better than any other in the county is mix player levels and backgrounds. You get a smattering of tourists and uppity folks from affluent parts of the Grove, but you also get working-class grinders from the surrounding neighborhood. Like to play early or late into the night? Good luck finding better hours and prices. From 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, City of Miami residents pay only $3 per person per hour, and nonresidents pay only a dollar more. Senior-circuit ballers get an hour for just a buck, while juniors (anybody under 17) can spare-change their way to 60 minutes of tennis for just a couple of quarters. The center and surrounding park received a face-lift a couple of years ago, with a vita course and playground added so you can make a family day out of your match. Or lose the fam and make the short trek to Sandbar for a Heineken after you dispatch your foe.
Amelia Earhart Park
"Where is the damn hole?" The question echoes again across the scorched grass of the 18-hole disc golf course inside Amelia Earhart Park, a rolling expanse of forest and lakes on the north end of Hialeah. In theory, that query should be a bad thing: Disc golfing — which is like regular golf but with flying discs instead of balls and metal baskets rather than holes — should be about hucking drivers into the distance (and sipping beer as you watch), not hunting for the next, poorly marked hole. But the challenge in Earhart is a testament as much to the creativity of the course's designers as to the park's lack of signage. On the front eight, holes are scattered amid shady pine trees and dense shrubbery, while the back eight loops around a wide, rippling lake. Best of all, the last hole sits atop a huge man-made mound of earth and tires surrounded by trees, requiring a crazy trick shot from a high berm across the forest. Along the way, especially on sunny weekends, you'll also deal with a uniquely Miami hazard: hordes of families barbecuing while blasting merengue and reggaeton along the lake. Think of it as an extra degree of difficulty, and you'll have one of the best disc golf rounds of your life. Just try not to hit abuelita on that par 5.
Matheson Hammock Park
Photo by Chris Garcia / Courtesy of the GMCVB – MiamiandBeaches.com
There's nothing more important to Miami's ecology than mangroves. These swampy forests provide nutrients to depleted waters, cover for endangered critters, and even build land. But unless you fish, it's hard to get up close and personal with mangroves. That's why the next time you take to the pavement for a jog, head to Matheson Hammock. This 351-acre park, located just off Old Cutler Road and adjacent to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, has a path that takes you through some of the deepest mangrove brush in the city. You can see, smell, and feel nature in the subtropics. The park is more than just mangroves, though; the trail proceeds through a picturesque picnic area complete with lakes and old coral rock shelters, and on to Matheson Hammock's atoll pool on Biscayne Bay. The path wends around the pool, which looks more like a beachfront lake filled with seawater (also an underrated sunbathing spot sans pretense), past a marina, by a boat ramp, and even alongside the best kite-surfing spot in Miami. If you feel overheated during your jog, cool off with a dip in the bay or pool, or hop into one of the public showers. There's also a concession stand. Don't forget to bring bug spray, or be prepared to run really fast, because mangroves are breeding grounds for skeeters. Parking at Matheson's entrance is free but costs $5 next to the atoll pool. Park hours are sunrise to sunset.
The more polite sectors of society might frown upon alcohol consumption before 5 p.m. But what if you combine it with physical exercise and an essentially green activity? That kind of virtuousness cancels out the points you lose for the day-drinking, right? Good thing we have the Beer Snob Bicycle Pub Crawl, an occasional Saturday group ride, usually through South Beach and downtown, that cancels out the perils of drinking and mass commuting in one fell swoop. Join your fellow two-wheeled warriors from the afternoon to early evening for a tour of fine establishments that are not only bike-friendly but also wallet-friendly. Stops on the circuit have included sudsy SoBe staples such as Zeke's Roadhouse on Lincoln — where everything is $4! — and the Abbey, as well as newcomers on the mainland, including the DRB, Elwood's Pub, and the Filling Station. Zip past all the car-driving losers burning gas, stuck in traffic, and blowing money on parking, and use the cash you save for an extra brew. And hey, let's be real — there's a lot less of a chance of getting a pesky DUI. Still, the organizers of this informal jaunt would rather the complete scofflaws stay at home. If you want to get down on this ride, you'll have to drink responsibly, bring a bike light, and obey all traffic laws — this isn't Critical Mass, so there's no corking of traffic. Other than that, sip and enjoy. Check the Miami Bike Scene blog for upcoming dates.
Miami has plenty of glitzy, high-end strip clubs where your clique can celebrate a buddy's birthday in style, but Secrets is where you go when you want to fly solo and down-low. Even the sign outside admonishes patrons: "Shhh!" Inside, it looks like one of those seedy, shady strip bars in a movie — you know, the one where the bad guys make deals and good guys unintentionally make trouble. As you get your bearings in the dark, smoky room, you're transported back to a time when strip clubs were relegated to operating outside the city limits and patrons were still ashamed to be seen in them. The girls are friendly and happy for the business; the drinks and lap dances are cheap. After a bad day at work or a fight with your significant other, you can sit at one of the worn-out tables while flinging dollar bills and knocking back shots on autopilot (without worrying about your upcoming bar tab or unbearable boss).
For many years here at New Times, this award has been like Donald Trump's hair to a barber: We had absolutely no idea what to do with it. Dwyane Wade was clearly the best player, but we didn't want to keep naming him every year. So we gave the award to beacons of mediocrity such as Mario Chalmers and Michael Beasley, and quietly melted in shame. But last summer (cue Michael Bay movie music, sounds of explosions, footage of thousands of panicked people fleeing on foot as the Cleveland skyline burns behind them), everything changed for the Miami Heat. The team was no longer a one-pony trick. It was a three-horse carriage of flames, hurtling toward Hades with a maniacally laughing Pat Riley riding bareback while holding aloft the severed head of that sorry Zen hippie Phil Jackson. Which is to say this award is suddenly relevant — and thought-provoking — again. We're giving LeBron the trophy (editor's note: there is no trophy) because he's half-gladiator, half-Greek god, half-lion, and 100 percent magnificent, arrogant, supernaturally talented asshole. Of course, now that both Wade and James have been named, we're worried about who'll get the award next year. Bosh? Is that a Dutch bath product?
Churchill's Pub
Alexander Oliva
There's so much naked flesh out on Miami streets that it takes more than just pasties, boas, and fishnets to get us excited about a burlesque troupe. Enter Hellion Burlesque with its riot grrrl aesthetic, perverse sense of humor, and capsules full of fake blood. Dancers Hellion, Ginger Bardot, and Betty Pickle might look like typical burlesquers thanks to their pin-up-girl good looks, but their routines are anything but. First, consider their range: They sashay seductively to classics, such as Edith Piaf's "La Vie en Rose," and to darker fare, such as Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus." Next, note their tricks: Pickle has been known to swallow a three-foot balloon. Then there's the blood. Their rendition of Eyes Wide Shut ended with the trio squirting blood, we hope fake, onto the pale chest of a fellow dancer. The experimental troupe performs regularly at Churchill's Pub — as if any other venue could handle their deliciously grotesque burlesque.
For old-school queens, the art of drag is all about female impersonation, but for a new breed of queens, all of those wigs, cosmetics, and sparkly costumes are meant less to signify feigned femininity than to celebrate a vision of pure fabulosity. We're talking glitter-bitch incarnate, honey. Take, for example, Leslie Quick, the alter ego of actor Danny Santa Cruz. Quick is one of the few queens in South Beach you might actually spot without a wig — or at least a full one. But even if she is proudly displaying a bald head, Quick isn't slow to accentuate with LCD-nightmare-hued makeup, rhinestones, and all sorts of imaginative getups. Quick might be bending gender in a new way, but she's not above the sacred drag tradition of paying homage to the strong female singers. She took her show "The Same Mobster" — yes, a tribute to a certain fame monster — on a tour of Miami clubs last summer.
The Awarehouse
On this night, you decide you're tired of the bright gallery lights, the soulless corridors of corporate event spaces, and the stale cigarette-scented couches of megaclubs. You go in search of the rabbit hole — a place where art freaks can wander aimlessly through a maze of exhibits, indie-electro fans can bang heads to the beat all night long in a warehouse garage, and New York City transplants can collapse on beanbags in a 10,000-square-foot garden to watch video projections like they're at a Central Park concert. You drink the magic potion and realize that Wonderland is really Wynwood and that the Mad Hatter tea party could take place only at Awarehouse. You quickly make friends with past partiers: electronic-norteño accordion players from Tijuana's Nortec Collective, funk-heavy hip-hoppers from N.E.R.D., American Apparel enthusiasts freaking over a rummage sale, and a plethora of experimental painters and photographers who love to watch disco lights roam over their canvases. Eventually you'll pine for the real world once again. But tonight you'll happily settle for life through the looking glass.
Two of Miami's finest art stars, Jen Stark and Alvaro Ilizarbe, both listed as Miami New Times' 100 Creatives, aren't just a couple of the most talented folks in town. They're also delightfully pleasant party guests. What makes someone a great shindig attendee? Let's look at the qualifications through Jen and Alvaro: (1) Sometimes when people are good, they think they're too good for other people. This is never the case with these two. They're never grouchy and always stop to say hello. (2) They always seem like they're enjoying themselves. There's never a moment when one is weeping in the corner while the other is punching someone in the head. (3) They're the first ones dancing. This is Miami, and you better get on the floor and move when you're tardy to the party. (4) At theme parties, Jen and Alvaro always dress to impress. One Halloween they arrived as dead surfers, complete with detailed makeup of exposed intestines. A sense of humor and a sense of fun — this pair will always bring these essential elements to your big bash.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®