Does South Beach need another hotel ultra-lounge? Probably not. That's not stopping the EMM Group, the company behind hotspots like Tenjune and Catch Roof in New York, from trying.
SL Miami, the South Beach outpost of the Meatpacking District lounge of the same name, is bring its high-end nightlife experience to the James Royal Palm Hotel, which opened in November.
"The way that it's set up is that you have dinner [at Catch], you walk downstairs and then you walk up another set of stairs, and you walk into a space behind the restaurant that you don't even know is there. It's kind of cool, gives it a very New York vibe," explains Michael Malone, a partner of SL Miami. "I think that's one thing that really sets us apart."
With nods to its Meatpacking District origins, the lounge is set up for optimum bottle consumption and dancing until ungodly hours in the morning.
"The set up of the club, it's built for more energy," adds SL Miami's other partner, Marko Gojanovic. "It's got two different levels. It's got a horseshoe shape, so everyone is kind of involved in the party. Some of the other lounges are one level, flat -- cool spots to hang out in, but you can't really connect with the whole room. This gives us a bigger club feeling in a small venue."
Malone and Gojanovic bring to SL Miami a lot of years of nightlife experience. Both started out as models on South Beach who from time to time would host tables at local hotspots. Eventually, they started working at nightclubs and hotels like LIV, Wall, Mondrian, and SET. With SL Miami, the pair is looking to bring back the intimate nightlife experience to South Beach -- something a lot of new hotel lounges seem to be doing lately, including FDR at the Delano and Rec Room at the Gale South Beach.
So question begs to be asked: Is the era of the South Beach mega club over?
"I don't know if it's trend or just that you have so much competition with the big DJs and the big clubs that people really aren't trying to jump into that game," says Malone. "There's a lot more risk. I feel if anything it's lost a bit of its exclusivity and what Miami Beach used to be, and that's more the route we're going.
"It's kind of a high-end Cheers."
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