The building at 30 NE 14th St. has been a lot of things over the years.
Before becoming Steam Miami, the location was home to popular hipster hotspot The Vagabond. And even earlier, it was downtown destination I/O Lounge. However, gone are the days of Poplife, Revolver, Get Low, Spider-Pussy and Back Door Bamby parties to keep rumps shaking into the early morning hours.
And now that address is also home to Lot 14, Steam's attempt at an outdoor venue.
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Large shipping containers have been used to create an enclosure of sorts behind Steam. There are lawn chairs, tables, and a rickety wooden stage, as well as a pile of bricks that highlights the absence of The Vagabond's once-beloved fire pit.
That so-called "stage" is flanked a meager stack of monitors that hardly look or feel like a sound system. And during Sunday's Lot 14 party with DJ Cevin Fisher, security was forced to use large umbrellas to shield the speakers from an impending drizzle.
Granted, during the day, this all worked a little better. But as night fell and clouds gathered, the patrons all sought shelter under the awning that hangs over the bar and back exit.
Unfortunately, even the music left a lot to be desired, with Cevin Fisher throwing together a mishmash of music, from tropical house beats to Latin-infused moombah to reggaeton and random bottle-crowd house.
Partygoers were divided between a group that decided to try and have a nice time and dance, and those sitting around looking morose while smoking hookah, drinking, texting, and generally ignoring the entertainment.
Oh, and the DJ booth was a simple table with a tent over it.
Much of the night felt like there was no sense of party to it.
Just a small gathering of people who looked bored, Lot 14's Sunday night reinforced the impression that Space, Grand Central, E11even, and the AAA are among the only reasons to visit downtown.
Maybe Lot 14 should have stayed in development a bit longer before opening its doors to Miami's seasoned nightlife crowd.
Luckily, though, there's still a couple of weeks' trial time till Winter Music Conference and Miami Music Week 2015.
-- Steve Vaynshtok
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