Gary Nader Fine Arts

Miamians are a funny breed. We'll pay hundreds of dollars to stand shoulder-to-sweaty-shoulder in a dark nightclub, listening to electronic music that sounds the same coming out of our speakers at home, where we actually have room to dance. And though we have the daily opportunity to stand mere feet from million-dollar paintings by Picasso, Botero, Matisse, and other masters, at absolutely no cost, most of us don't take it. Then again, most of us don't know about Gary Nader Fine Art in Wynwood. That's why your love interest will be shocked, awed, and impressed when you take her (or him) to this warehouse of world-class art on your first date. At 55,000 square feet, it is the largest private gallery space in the world, and thanks to Nader's three decades of scouting and collecting great works from around the world, it is home to perhaps the greatest private collection of the Latin master painters. Woo your date by learning a few tidbits about Wifredo Lam before you traipse through the front door. Have an abstract conversation with the fluid photographs taken by ballet great Mikhail Baryshnikov or another special exhibition on the second floor. And on your way out, linger a bit in the parking lot while you admire the bodacious Botero sculptures; it might be an artful opportunity to steal that first kiss.

In 1944, the City of Miami hired its first black police officers. They worked on foot and bicycle, patrolling the Central Negro District of Overtown, then known colloquially as "Colored Town," from the Florida East Coast Railway tracks to NW Seventh Ave, and from NW Fifth to 21st streets. By 1946, they also patrolled Liberty City and Coconut Grove. They were trained in the Liberty Square public housing project, and for six years they struggled without a permanent headquarters. In 1950, through the efforts of respected black professionals and clergymen, they secured a separate courthouse, jail, and precinct house at 480 NW 11th St., the first of its kind in the nation and still the only known black police station, jail, and courthouse built from the ground up. The historic building still stands, and Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., expert tour guides such as Capt. Otis Davis and Det. Archie McKay, who were on the police force way back when, will lead you through and relate stories about the jail cells and courtroom where they worked until 1963, when the station was closed in favor of integration.

Little Haiti Cultural Complex

Music is the soul that makes the planet dance, and every third Friday of the month, Little Haiti shakes its hips, waves its hands, stomps its feet, and thanks the stars. Since March 2011, this festival of music, art, food, and culture has brought some of the biggest names in the history of Haitian music to a free party in the heart of the city. Tabou Combo, Shleu Shleu, BélO, Jowee Omicil, Beethova Obas, Magnum Band, and Zenglen have all touched down. Local legends such as Papaloko, Rara Kuyu, and JahNesta have also been given a chance to shine. Rara Lakay has led a vuvuzela parade through the streets, a vodou drum circle has filled the night air with percussive force, kids have painted murals together, world-famous visual artists have shown internationally renowned work in the pristine art gallery, World Cup of Beer gold medalist Prestige is always available, politicians have made proclamations honoring the event, and the sounds of compas, reggae, funk, and racine have vibrated in tune with the universe. Of all the money the Knight Foundation has donated to cultural events, this has been the best-spent.

Norman's American Bar & Grill

Every day, including Christmas and Easter (and probably during hurricanes), Norman's celebrates its late-night happy hour from midnight to 5 a.m. When other bars close and people are sick of dancing on South Beach, tired of paying $15 for a cocktail, or looking for a good time when the freaks come out, they hit this Miami Beach gem for $5 martinis, margaritas, and mojitos, and $4 mixed drinks (vodka, rum, and tequila). The kitchen stays open till 3 a.m. (Fridays and Saturdays; till 1 a.m. weeknights), a Red Stripe costs $4.50, a pitcher costs $12, and a glass of the house Merlot is just $5. But like we said, the stars of the show are the $5 cocktails and $4 mixed drinks. There's free parking next door (with a pass from the hostess), and the Wi-Fi is gratis, so you can tweet all of your comrades about the afterparty. Oh yeah, the place also rents hotel studio apartments for $250 a week or $800 a month, so you can stretch your late-night happy hour into a permanent vacation.

LIV
Courtesy of LIV

For decades, the Fontainebleau had been regarded as the granddaddy of all luxury resorts in Miami Beach; by the '90s, it had lost a bit of its luster. But it's funny what a multibillion-dollar renovation can do. After a complete overhaul in 2009, the hotel reopened with a more youthful vibe, including a megaclub far away from South Beach. The legendary Tropigala, which had turned into a horrible, campy version of its former self toward its end, was replaced by LIV — which is the roman numeral for 54, the year the hotel opened. Locals and visitors seemed to fall instantly in love with the venue, proving you don't have to be located on Washington Avenue to be successful. The pantheonic dome remained, but it received a lighting face-lift that gives the illusion the room is moving. For VIPs, there are boxes overlooking the main floor, which is packed with couches and tables, as well as bottles outfitted with sparklers. And this being Miami Beach, and the Fontainebleau in particular, expect high admission prices, a hassle at the door, and a big drink bill at the end of the night — if you aren't of the fairer sex. That being said, you can't say you've experienced Miami nightlife if you haven't visited LIV. From Paul Oakenfold to Calvin Harris to Tiësto and other big live acts, thanks to LIV, your granddaddy's hotel is looking pretty hip these days.

Cameo

To do the VIP experience right, you must follow the lead of the hip-hop heavyweights who visit South Beach to blow off some stress and put a serious dent in their financial portfolios. Sure, their accountants won't be happy come Monday, but Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Flo Rida, Diddy, and even the insufferable Chris Brown know that the top place to be treated like a VIP is the area behind the DJ booth at Cameo. The unassuming plot of nightclub real estate is a flurry of bottle service, posturing, and groupies, with the occasional greenback shower. This scene has given the Opium Group a VIP area that seems to send gossip magazines and blogs into a tizzy. Only Cameo is ballsy enough to offer a $100,000 VIP package to ring in the new year with the Bawse. And it was Cameo where Brown infamously snatched a fan's iPhone as he left the club. Our source at Opium Group says if you want to live it up in the VIP area while a celebrity is sitting nearby, it will probably cost you around $10,000. Nobody said partying like a VIP was cheap.

Upstairs at Grand Central — the immense downtown live music venue — is the Garret, which functions as an independent space. It is the perfect size for smaller shows and weekly parties. Though one-off shows and events have had varied levels of success, the Garret's Friday-night party, Peachfuzz, is a clear winner. As the name implies, the party takes you back to middle school days (if you were born in the '80s), when you swore the light patch of hair on your upper lip was a mustache to rival Tom Selleck's. Spearheaded by Raul Sanchez and Pres Rodriguez (both formerly of Bar), the hip-hop dance party recalls a time when Trick Daddy tried to take it to the house and Biggie's death was still fresh on our minds. Resident DJ DZA provides the soundtrack you first danced to in your school's cafetorium with the hottest girl/boy on campus. Or at least he helps you remember it that way.

Ladies in this town have it tough. We feel the pressure to look good all the time or risk our Miami resident card being revoked. We should totally be rewarded for this, no? Thank goodness for Blush Wednesdays at Villa Mayfair. It's the best spot to take a group of gal pals for a fun, worry-free evening. Villa's sexy violet lighting and classically chic décor up the cool factor. And then you have the hot DJ, who spins tracks that make you feel like you stepped into a European discotheque. Double-X chromies enjoy unlimited silky-smooth Rosé champagne and leggy Rosé wine until the night's end — free of charge, of course. Villa Mayfair offers a $35 prix fixe menu that night as well. It's the best way to try executive chef Frederic Joulin's masterworks if the Villa's regular prices are out of your budget. There's music, food, and lots of bubbly. Add in the bonus of your best girlfriends' company and you have yourself a female extravaganza.

Twist
E.M.

Spending a Wednesday at Twist is like stepping into the fantasy realm of Gay and Gayer. We love Miami for giving us that option. Things are likely to get rowdy, especially because the superstar Ms. TP Lords hosts the night with more sass than a kitten. Enjoy $5 Long Island iced teas and join the gaggle that congregates at the weekly evening. On past Wednesdays, Twist-goers have seen unpredictable costume contests, hip-swaying karaoke, and saucy performances guaranteed to knock you off your six-inch stilettos. The guest DJs, such as Maximus 3000 and J Felix, are there to keep the music hot and heavy, and a free attitude is strongly encouraged on the dance floor. If it's your first time, come prepared with as little clothing as possible and your credit card (for the bar tab, dummy). There's never a cover at Twist, but a dragging good time is always guaranteed.

King of Diamonds
Alex Markow

There are $100 bills on the floor, empty bottles of Cristal in the trash, and nudity everywhere. Or as noted hustler, Maybach Music boss, and Carol City poet laureate Ricky Rozay would say, "Somebody call the Brinks truck... [King of Diamonds] got the baddest bitches waiting on a nigga." In a city with a strip club on every corner, the big-money ballers and rap-game shot callers like Ross, Lil Wayne, Drake, DJ Khaled, and Gucci Mane choose this North Miami Beach nudie mecca (and even write strip-club love songs about the place) because its 300 big-booty strippers can and will do almost anything. You know, slip and slide down a 30-foot brass pole like Spyda. Talk politics with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough over corned beef hash and coffee like Tip Drill and Skrawberry. Wash your whip for charity like Queeny. Hijack your Drizzy-drizzling heart like Blac Chyna. Or fistfight for money on a Monday like Ms. Tocka. Come straight from the clink like Gucci and Weezy. Chopper down for your b-day like Rozay. Or roll up in a broke-ass 1999 Toyota Celica and pay $100 for a parking spot. Just don't forget your garbage bag of plastic-wrapped money bricks at home. 'Cause ballin' like a boss at KOD ain't cheap, son.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®