Best Place to Meet Single Women 2013 | Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

Most people dress up when they go to court. But the plunging necklines, tight skirts, and stiletto heels on display at the Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse downtown reveal more than a reverence for law and order. Rather, they are the parting shot fired by the lovely ladies of Miami as they finally formalize a divorce, aimed straight at the heart they once cherished. Lucky for you, you aren't the target — at least not yet. Instead, you're a not-so-innocent bystander who reaps the rewards. Show up on any given weekday and search the halls for newly single women. Hell, you can just pretend you're a lawyer and wear your finest suit while doing it. The now-official ex-husbands may be haunted by the female hotness on display, but you won't be. Court(ship) is now in session.

Courtesy of Milam's Market

Intelligent men, for the most part, want a partner who can bring something to the table as well as the bedroom. And yet, for all the smarts and years of higher education many Miami males boast, they are pathetic in a grocery store. Guys who may be masters of the universe have no clue how to choose an avocado or haggle with a butcher for a good piece of steak. That's where you and Milam's Market come in. See that man in the scrubs? Chances are he performed a heart transplant earlier today, but he can't tell a shiitake from a portobello. And how about that guy with the glasses? He's a UM professor who can't tell strained Greek yogurt from cottage cheese. Now's your chance to shine. You saunter over and suggest that shiitakes have a richer, deeper flavor. Or you inform him that organic yogurt has less sugar and more probiotics. You've just started a conversation and proved your superior intellect with one sentence. If there is one thing sexier than a smart woman, it's a smart woman who knows her way around food.

(Geek alert: Find the secret message encoded below. Hint at the end.)

You want smart, single guys? Look no further than this tabletop gaming nirvana.

A stone's throw from dim sum dandy Tropical Chinese (perfect for date night).

You can engage in healthy tabletop-gaming competition.

Nice guys don't finish last; they roll for initiative.

Everyone you'll meet there is passionate and intellectual.

Ridiculously awesome board and card game selections keep you entertained.

Dungeon play didn't originate with Fifty Shades of Grey.

LARPers make role-playing in the sack that much more fun.

0 hipsters here — they actually need those glasses to see.

Vampires, witches, and orcs will spice up your love life.

Even if you don't find your man, there's always a Magic: The Gathering tournament!

(First letters!)

Debra and Dennis Scholl are the rare South Florida folks who don't seek the spotlight. They gave a no-strings-attached donation worth millions of dollars to the soon-to-open Pérez Art Museum Miami. Administrators had to convince them to allow a lecture series to be named in their honor. The pair met in law school at the University of Miami. They went on to help revitalize South Beach's art deco district and later aided in the transformation of Wynwood from a slum to an art mecca that has attracted worldwide attention and gentrification. Everything the Scholls do is determined by a two-vote system. "If one can't convince the other, then we don't do it," Dennis said in describing how they decide on art acquisitions and business deals. Debra, he said, seems to always get the last word: "She's the governor."

The house at 42 Star Island was built 88 years ago by Miami architect Walter DeGarmo. It's next door to a building that formerly housed the weed-smuggling Rastafarians of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church. But the feud unfolding here is even more interesting. The current owners are the Hochsteins: Lenny's a plastic surgeon who goes by the nickname "the Boob God," and Lisa is a Botoxed Barbie doll of a woman who's a cast member of The Real Housewives of Miami. They purchased the property for the land, intending to tear down the original 1925 structure to erect a boxy mansion with towering columns and arched doorways, looking like a Miami version of the Trianon Palace without the gardens. Unsurprisingly, the preservationists of the Miami Design Preservation League were not pleased. The group filed an application to designate the Hochsteins' home as a historic property. The fight should have ended there, but both sides continued to press the issue. MDPL Chairman Charlie Urstadt penned an open letter in Curbed Miami, bemoaning "the sad spectacle of a property owner applying to demolish a beautiful, 8,000 square foot, architecturally-significant, historic home." The Hochsteins shot back in the media, taking a Miami Herald reporter on a tour of the home to prove it was too structurally unsound to renovate, and telling the New York Times that they felt "ambushed" by the preservationists. Then Lisa Hochstein had enough. The quiet and polite (at least by Housewives standards) homeowner channeled her inner mean girl in a series of tweets aimed at the MDPL, calling the preservationists ridiculous, nuts, telling them they "need a hobby." For now, the fate of the home remains in limbo, tied up in appeals and lawsuits. But don't worry. Whatever happens, you'll be able to see it all unfold on Bravo next season.

We live in a time when every summer blockbuster involves either superheroes or warp drives. The future is now: Geek culture has hit the mainstream. And Miami is a glorious geek paradise. The Borg Cube where all properly assimilated Dade County nerds converge to celebrate their cultural takeover is Florida Supercon, now in its eighth year. It's a convention wonderland for every Trekkie, comic-book fan, gamer, and animation aficionado in the 305, and it's now large enough to take up a Lannister lion's share of the Miami Airport Convention Center every summer. Supercon plays host to major celebrity guests, such as the big score for this year's July 4-7 edition — Star Trek's George Takei, who has lately become a Facebook star with his heavily shared pithy takes on modern culture. He'll be joined by dozens of A-list comic writers and artists, TV stars such as Firefly's Adam Baldwin and The Walking Dead's Laurie Holden, bands like Askultura and Astari Nite, film screenings, vendors with epic loot, and an array of cosplay competitions. Whether you're a hard-core fan with encyclopedic knowledge or you're still trying to figure out precisely what the Avengers are avenging, there is something at Florida Supercon for every manner of fangirl and -boy.

Nostalgia is all the rage these days, what with Magic City, pre-Prohibition mixology and Gatsby-era fashion. And for the ultimate Miami throwback experience, there's the oft-forgotten jai alai. In the 1950s and '60s at this arena-cum-casino, the balls were flying, the cocktails flowing, and the cash registers ringing. Then, the Miami venue of the "fastest sport in the world" nearly faded into oblivion. But with the casino's recent renovation, the lineup of old-school music favorites like Boys II Men and America, and the addition of Vegas-style slots and table games, a resurgence has begun. Nowadays, the action revolves mostly around the slot machines, the poker room, and the dominos, but jai alai is still alive, and some of the world's best players wield their cestas and launch their pelotas on Casino Miami's courts. Miami is one of the only cities in the nation with a venue for this intense, speedy sport, so we should all make the trip.

Of all the spirits in the world, rum has the best fantasy life. After all, it's enjoyed by poets, pirates, and sailors. It usually hails from exotic and tropical ports of call like Tortuga, Cuba, and St. Lucia, and it comes in many forms. So imagine the tales at the weeklong Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. There are pirate wenches, men in tiki shirts, and salty dogs under one roof learning about rum, meeting authors, and being entertained. The star of the show is, of course, the rum. More than 200 different kinds from the farthest parts of the globe are available for your sipping pleasure — some of them not yet available in the United States. There's dark blackstrap rum from St. Croix, amber from Jamaica, and Debonaire from Panama. There are $10 rums, meant to be added to a poolside piña colada, and rare potables that sell for more than a thousand dollars. But the best thing about this festival is that it's a family affair. Robert, Robin, and Rob Burr started it. They're Miami locals obsessed with rum and the city. While their little festival grows yearly, it still has a family feel. And hey, every family needs a pirate (and a few more bottles of rum).

Miccosukee Casino & Resort photo

It's not quite the eighth wonder of the world, but it's one of those places you have to visit before you die. Miccosukee Resort & Gaming has been an ocular feast since its establishment in 1999. Open 24 hours a day, it is a destination for people from all walks of life. Catch truck drivers falling asleep in the casino's parking lot after a long drive, decked out señoras at the slot machines, and tourists in puka-shell necklaces hopping from game to game hoping to cash in. If that's not enough, just head to the Cypress Lounge for live nightly entertainment and the Café Hammock for dinner specials: steak and shrimp or steak and lobster for $9.95. So head west and get into some mischief with your buddies, lose some money, or just reenact a scene from Goodfellas (without the body count). Miccosukee won't judge — they'll leave that up to you.

When friends come to town, they'll probably stay in South Beach (unless they're couch-surfing at your apartment). They'll do enough beach-going and Lincoln Road-strolling on their own, so when it's your turn, take them on the Little Havana Food Tour from Miami Culinary Tours. Founder Grace Della grew up watching her mother conduct cooking classes, so her heart is in sharing her knowledge of food with others. The tour takes you to six restaurants where you sample the usual fare — a Cuban sandwich here, a pastelito there, a shot of guarapo con cafecito. But interspersed with the food are some great stories about Cuban culture and politics. You'll also visit art galleries, domino park (did you even know that only people 55 years and older can get in on a game?), and if you're lucky an ominous tree under which you'll find various bones and candles — the result of Santería rituals that are still held (makes you want to tell the chickens waltzing around the neighborhood to watch their backs). After all of that, your out-of-town friends (and you) will have learned something about Miami. And at $59, it's also on par with many South Beach lunches.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®