Wood Tavern
Courtesy of Wood Tavern

Self-declared pussy grabber Donald Trump is president, and women still earn about 80 cents on average for every dollar a man makes, with women of color earning even less. Let's face it: Being a lady is no walk in the park. Cheap drinks are the least society can offer, and fortunately for Miami chicas, Wood Tavern will do you one better and let you drink free once a week. From 8 to 11 p.m. every Wednesday, the Wynwood hangout offers women well drinks for the very reasonable price of zero dollars. And don't worry, fellas. Dudes aren't left out on Ladies' Night: The bar offers $6 shots of Jameson to both sexes.

Beneath all the glitz, Miami has always been awash in political corruption and questionable cash. And over the last couple of years, few have done as much to expose the shady side of the Magic City as Nick Nehamas. The business-turned-investigative reporter made a name for himself in 2017, when he shared a Pulitzer Prize with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists for the Panama Papers investigation. The series showed how the rich and powerful — and in some cases, criminal — used offshore shell companies to snatch up luxury real estate in South Florida, driving prices far above what most locals can afford. Nehamas, who joined the Herald in 2014 as an intern, hasn't slowed down since winning journalism's top prize. Last year, he and colleague Joey Flechas revealed that Miami Beach mayoral candidate Michael Grieco had close ties to a secret political action committee that knowingly accepted a donation from a foreign national. The story tanked Grieco's mayoral ambitions, and he ultimately pleaded no contest to a criminal violation of Florida's campaign finance laws. In 2018, Nehamas has already hit another home run with a series exposing how drug traffickers smuggle dirty gold through Miami to turn cocaine into clean cash. His hard-hitting, far-reaching work is exactly the kind of journalism Miami needs.

The 17-year-old daughter of Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber faced the daunting task of addressing thousands of people gathered for the March for Our Lives rally in Miami Beach on March 24. She came through, harshly criticizing the older folks and politicians who have allowed the National Rifle Association to run roughshod over local, state, and national leaders for decades. A week and a half after organizing a walkout at Miami Beach Senior High School and a month after the horrific Parkland mass shooting, Hannah Gelber told the crowd that — after her upcoming 18th birthday — "I will vote against any candidate who takes money from the NRA. They will have to listen to me." Her speech brought down the house. Let's hope Hannah follows her father and grandfather (judge and former Miami Beach Mayor Sy Gelber) into politics.

Best Power Couple
Photo by Alex Rosu

When a Miami hospitality guru and the great-granddaughter of famous Vogue editor Diana Vreeland come together, you know they'll be the talk of the town. Yes, Jason Odio (Ariete, Sidebar, and Baby Jane) and Caroline Vreeland were already getting inches in Page Six in 2016, but it seems like Vreeland only recently adopted Miami as the home base for her jet-setting lifestyle. (Her Instagram page is filled with photos in far-flung destinations and is the stuff of envy for every aspiring social media star.) Odio is not exactly a shy boy himself. With three ultra-successful businesses, he's one of the few people who's made the leap from glitzy South Beach to more authentic experiences on the outskirts of Brickell and Coconut Grove. The couple was recently featured in a video for Harper's Bazaar focusing on Vreeland's favorite places to eat around town, which include Stanzione 87, All Day, and, of course, Ariete, all while her "Cuban papi" provides playful banter about her eating habits. How long before Vreeland starts ending her sentences with "bro"?

"I'm a black man. But my name is Kyle," bespectacled comedian Kyle Grooms told a laughing Def Comedy Jam crowd. "Hard to get respect in the streets when your name is Kyle." But from the stage, this funny man is making his not-so-tough name one to know in the comedy game today. Grooms got his start in Miami working as a Univision art director. Though he recently returned to his home state of New Jersey, Miami claims him as its own because he worked his honest, unique perspective into hilarious acts on Magic City stages for a long time. And after 20 years honing his craft, he's blowing up the New York scene, making rooms like the Comedy Cellar shake with laughter. You may have seen Grooms on his own half-hour Comedy Central standup special, NBC's Last Comic Standing, or Chappelle's Show. He has also been featured on P. Diddy's Bad Boys of Comedy, Jamie Foxx's Laffapalooza, and Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. You don't have to respect Kyle Grooms in the streets, but you will totally respect him after a solid chuckle-fest standup set.

Best Hip-Hop Act
Photo by Colin Brennan

Hip-hop is a genre typically defined by someone vocalizing with rap. But as Black Violin, Fort Lauderdale's Kevin Sylvester and Wilner Baptiste have turned that idea on its head and stripped it of its literal voice. Known as Kev Marcus and Wil B, the classically trained violinist and violist (respectively) craft hip-hop symphonies with the sound of their stringed instruments and the help of a DJ. Marcus was 9 years old and Baptiste was 14 when they first picked up their stringed instruments, flourishing as performers at Fort Lauderdale's Dillard High School. They were influenced by the sounds of jazz violinist Stuff Smith, who expanded the ways the instrument could be used in music. Black Violin started out playing South Beach clubs in hopes of booking shows. They now travel the world touring and visiting schools to play with local youth orchestras. They've toured with Linkin Park singer Mike Shinoda's side project Fort Minor and worked with Diddy, Tom Petty, Aretha Franklin, and Aerosmith. Most significant, they performed at one of President Obama's inaugural balls in 2013.

Miami Beach native Nikki Kidd has been crooning since she was 4 years old. She grew up singing gospel in church, classical in school, and reggae, rock, and R&B at home. Kidd studied studio music and jazz voice at the University of Miami's esteemed Frost School of Music, and her commanding stage presence has led her to share the stage with big-name acts such as Gloria Estefan, Michael Bublé, KC and the Sunshine Band, and even the Florida Grand Opera in its production of Aida. Though she still performs locally with her Nikki Kidd Band, she has a residency at the Mandarin Oriental's Bamboo Bar in Bangkok, Thailand. Her shows are worth that trip around the globe, but she hasn't forgotten her hometown.

Best Performance Artist
Photo by Karli Evans

Visual and performance artist Sleeper's name is a fitting one. He's low key IRL but takes elements from the universal subconscious, mixes them with nightmares and dreams, and molds them into art. Sleeper has studied his craft since third grade and was the valedictorian at the New World School of the Arts College, where he majored in sculpture. His work incorporates performance and mind-blowingly creative costumes he calls "suits," which become fascinating, surreal sculptural artifacts post-performance. Sleeper also works to foster an alternative queer scene in Miami with Gender Blender, which provides a stage for queer artists and musicians; and the LGBTQ+ monthly night Counter Corner, which he established with bearded drag queens Juleisy y Karla. Both events provide queer performers with a safe space to bring their artistic visions to life. Sleeper is also a member of the noise band Squid Squad, makes a mean cocktail at downtown bar the Corner, and sometimes rides an absurdly tall bicycle around downtown. He is always creating or doing something worth watching.

Let DJ Hottpants, AKA Daniel Blair, help you meet the single girl of your dreams at his new film night, ReelHottpants. The bearded DJ and Miami native takes all the guilt out of guilty musical and movie pleasures and turns them into good times — the main ingredient in the recipe for a love match! He's kept South Florida's booties swaying for 15 years and continues to do so with his residency at Gramps' LGBTQ+ party Double Stubble. But recently, the local celeb partnered with the hip Little Haiti improv and comedy venue, Villain Theater, for an interactive movie experience. If you're not the funniest person, have Hottpants do the heavy lifting for you as he presents hilarious commentary on his favorite campy movies and films, such as Valley of the Dolls and Glitter. There's audience participation and the occasional red carpet, too. You may just hit the jackpot by running into a girls' night out brigade and meet your future wifey.

Orchestrated by the A&E District, the monthly Rooftop Unplugged Sessions at the Filling Station Lofts feature curated, live musical performances under the Miami moon and stars. Romantic, right? The rooftop parties are low key, so you can chat with the solo dudes you meet without having to shout over the music. Showcases are early, from 7 to 9 p.m. on select Thursday nights, so odds are the man you meet probably has a job and likes to go out, but not party too hard. Rooftop Unplugged Sessions feature light food, handcrafted cocktails by booze sponsors, and an unparalleled view of the city's skyline. They're also free, so if you strike out, you'll still have enough dough for your next matchmaking opportunity.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®