Best Small Music Venue 2017 | Floyd | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Courtesy of Floyd

Libertine was a good idea in theory. Space took part of its downstairs room and created a small lounge with a separate entrance. However, a few things inhibited the venue's growth, including an awkward and claustrophobic stage and a VIP area on a riser. So when the so-called Space Invaders — David Sinopoli, Davide Danese, Coloma Kaboomsky, and Eric Fuller — took over, they kept the elements that worked while tweaking the things that didn't. The main change was the flow of the room. Gone is the awkward riser; the whole room is now on one level. The stage could still use some work — perhaps removal of the walls that surround it — but this is a great venue thanks to strong programming that includes everything from jazz ensembles in the evening to late-night DJ sets. And the Space Invaders are just getting started in the Park West district, so Floyd's potential will likely soon be fully unlocked.

Courtesy of Valholla

When Vince Valholla established his eponymous label in 2005, his goal was to help usher in a new era of the music business. Within the past decade, Valholla Entertainment has expanded to offer artists management and public relations guidance as well as publishing, video production, apparel, and merchandising support. Within the past year, the brand has advanced the careers of its musicians, including Webbz and Xali. The label also manages a slew of rising MCs such as SIN and Ron Slyda, as well as producers like the Pyrvmids and the Track Burnaz, who produce hit records for top-charting rappers like Future and Big Sean. The Valholla blog continues to stunt on the competition by using its national reach on social media to alert 20,000-plus followers of artist updates. While other Miami-based labels gloat about their accolades, Valholla Entertainment's staff and team of artists are winning over fans one song at a time.

Photo by Dashius Clay

Artists in Miami are constantly looking for the perfect creative space on the cheap. While they dream of recording in lavish studios, there's one option that stands out for its unique creative space and reasonable prices. Since 2009, Mix Masters Studios has been giving artists, from trending rappers like Kevin Gates to local rising stars like Lajan Slim and Miami Tip, all the right tools to make their dreams come true. Founders Andres Mendoza and JP Perez started the studio in a two-bedroom house in Kendall in 2008 and then moved into the spacious studio they now call home. Everything an artist needs is available onsite: engineers, state-of-the-art mikes, powerful amps, and instruments like guitars and keyboards. The studio has two main recording rooms, the black and the blue, which are equipped to record, mix, and master tracks. But there's more. Looking for a spot to do a photo shoot? There's a room for that. Need a quiet space to host artist interviews? There's a lounge. Along with offering adequate recording rooms, Mix Masters also boasts an enormous rehearsal space that can be used to re-create performances and concerts of every kind. Despite all of these perks, the place isn't out to bankrupt rising artists. The lowest price that artists (with their own engineers) will pay is $25 per hour. However, if they want to go all out by booking the coveted black room with a Mix Masters engineer, the most they'll pay is $70 an hour. Mix Masters Studios is the perfect resolution for any musician, producer, or singer who knows the frustration of finding a studio that will tend to all of their creative needs at reasonable rates.

Courtesy of Brooklyn Vintage

Wax worshippers, there's a new record store in town. Established in 2016, Brooklyn Vintage & Vinyl specializes in used vinyl. Located in the Artwood Projects building, the shop shares space with the online station Jolt Radio. This cozy spot boasts impressive and affordable selections created by everyone from Destiny's Child to the White Stripes to Tupac to Leonard Cohen. Don't let the store's size fool you. Tons of preloved records await your crate-digging hands. Grab your picks and cuddle up in the comfy chairs while you let that warm wax melt into your ears at the store's listening station. The shop's organized displays and friendly owner make for a pleasant day of vinyl hunting. Every third Sunday of the month, check out the shop's community events. Brooklyn Vintage & Vinyl is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 9 p.m.

Photo by Karli Evans

Sweat Records is part of a global movement to recapture the simple pleasure of sitting down and listening to a record with friends. Classic Album Sundays, a collective record-listening event, began in the U.K. in 2010 and spread over time to record shops around the globe, including Sweat. Every month, the event begins with a warm-up record to set the mood and then highlights a classic album. The sessions at Sweat have included The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, and Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life.

Courtesy of Wragg & Casas

It's not easy to satisfy a major city's appetite for orchestral music, but that's exactly what Nu Deco Ensemble set out to do two years ago with its genre-bending concerts. Two seasons later, it consistently sells out shows at the Light Box in Wynwood. It also recently made its official Arsht Center debut. A typical Nu Deco concert consists of original music composed by the ensemble's Sam Hyken and conducted by Jacomo Rafael Bairos, an orchestral reworking of music by well-known nonclassical artists, and collaborations with artists from diverse parts of the music world. Nu Deco has reimagined music by contemporary artists including Prince, Kraftwerk, and Daft Punk. Collaborators for the ensemble's second season included Kishi Bashi, Danay Suarez, and Monsieur Periné. For its third season, Nu Deco has already announced a collaboration with Ben Folds and a return of Bashi.

Courtesy of Cristina Jerome

Miami has no shortage of hype electronic music parties, Latin dance nights, and the kind of high-energy events expected in one of the world's party capitals. Sometimes, though, people are in the mood to sip a drink, sway to downbeat music, and catch a vibe. That's where RnBae, which takes place every third Thursday of the month at Gramps, comes in. The showcase shines a light on R&B artists in Miami and beyond. The signature purple flower crowns and cotton candy are perks that set the mood for a night out with your bae. RnBae Collective believes Miami is full of untapped R&B talent, and with a showcase that's quickly becoming a breakout event, it is proving that's true. Miami-based rising stars such as Native Youth and Twelve'Len have already made their RnBae debut, and if its popularity continues to rise, the showcase could become the go-to event for young geniuses.

Photo by Alex Markow

Hip-hop festivals in Miami haven't been the same since Dope Entertainment created Rolling Loud. Since its inaugural show at SoHo Studios in Wynwood in 2015, the millennial rap festival has brought fans for a weekend of stellar performances by big acts like Future and Young Thug. Over the years, Rolling Loud has hosted a wide range of revered rappers, such as Curren$y, Queens, NY lyricist Action Bronson, and Top Dawg Ent's ScHoolboy Q on signature stages appropriately titled "Dab" and "Sauce." They've also included underground talent from across the nation, especially Miami internet sensations such as Pouya, Fat Nick, Denzel Curry, and Yung Simmie. The festival is known as a mecca for South Florida rap fans, and has become a coveted ticket for hip-hop heads outside of the state. Like many new festivals, Rolling Loud suffered growing pains and scathing feedback in its first year. In 2016, the festival moved to Mana Wynwood and made major improvements. While there was a lot more space to rage and the acts were impeccable, Dope Ent couldn't escape backlash from attendees and artists alike. This year, organizers did everything in their power to ensure Rolling Loud 2017 would go down well. From May 5 to 7, Kendrick Lamar, Future, Lil Wayne, Travis Scott, Run the Jewels and many others performed at the festival's new location at Bayfront Park in downtown. It was unofficially dubbed the "Ultra of hip-hop" by the Miami-Dade Police Department. The festival even had to beat back the Bayfront Park Management Trust board, which threatened to shut down the event due to internal misunderstandings. But the board relented and the fest went down without a hitch.

Courtesy of Andrew Sandoval

The beat emanates from Wynwood and pumps through your car stereo. It rides airwaves across the city and siphons through speakers and headphones plugged into radio computers and mobile devices. It's the fastest-growing FM station among listeners aged 25 to 54 in South Florida despite its lack of Clear Channel marketing campaigns. It's Revolution Radio, the real dance alternative to the usual pop fare. Owned and operated by Italian radio host Marco Mazzoli, Revolution Radio is a labor of love powered by lifelong music fanatics who understand you because they are you. The Revolution team has worked hard to expand its reach and give listeners the best content possible with live coverage of everything from Ultra Music Festival in Miami to the BPM Festival in Mexico. Daily programming includes programs hosted by industry leaders, from Armada Music to Claptone, Bob Sinclar, Markus Schulz, and others. Tune in for the latest contests, conversations, and a bootylicious blend of classic house anthems and cutting-edge dance tracks. Rest easy knowing your support goes to a dedicated team of locals. Fight the Man, and rave on.

Readers' choice: Revolution 93.5 FM

Courtesy of Ricky's

Ever get a little crunk with your friends and tell them you wish you had a giant plate of mac 'n' cheese in front of you? Then one of your friends sees that and raises you one by adding pulled pork to the dream dish? The drunk-food gods understand your fantasy. They have given you Ricky's. At this South Beach bar, find mac 'n' cheese-stuffed waffles with smoked pulled pork ($11); fries loaded with jalapeño Cheez Whiz, bacon, and fried cherry peppers ($8); and sliders with bacon and tater tots ($4.50). There's also gourmet popcorn and corn dogs because why not? Save room for dessert, and you'll be rewarded with childhood favorites from the "Carnival Sweets" menu: bomb pops and Snickers bars. Add a crafted cocktail menu and videogames, and you're 15 again, but with a credit card and the ability to legally drink alcohol. Whooo! Ricky's is open Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Readers' choice: Tap 42

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®