Lucali, Mark Iacono's famed Brooklyn pizza-parlor outpost in Sunset Harbour, can do no wrong. If you haven't had the spot's inimitable pies (the best in Miami), colossal all-beef meatballs, eggplant parmigiana, and Nutella ricotta calzone, you're missing out.
Sometimes — just sometimes — you find yourself alone on a Sunday night with a hankering for pizza but don't want all 24 inches for your waistline. Or it's Friday night and you want to take your hot date out for drinks and maybe some food but not too many carbs. Satisfy both at Bay Club, the cocktail den adjacent to Lucali.
You might have seen this place before, maybe even entered it accidentally. Since Lucali opened, a mysterious wall/door led to the clandestine and dimly lit space that until recently wasn't ready to be revealed. But with a full and rotating cocktail menu, as well as the Lucali menu and even bar-size pies being offered, Bay Club is in full swing and quickly becoming a go-to place for locals to get their drink on in South Beach.
But back to those bar-size pies: There are bar-size Lucali pies here. That means 12 inches of the tomatoey-and-cheesy goodness you've come to love next door, with all the same toppings, though only one is recommended per pie. "Because of the size of pizza and the fact that the crust is thinner, more than one just weighs it down," beverage director Brian Griffiths says of the toppings. He should know, considering prior to becoming Bay Club's libation maker, the Jersey native was a humble Lucali fan.
"I was actually eating here one day and came through the door by mistake, and I stumbled onto this place and was like, Hmm, what's this?"
He immediately told general manager and friend Cristina Ventura he wanted to be part of whatever was going on in there. And since that moment, little by little, Griffiths, Ventura, and Iacono began building the quaint bar. "Mark and I put up the shelves, the chandelier, everything ourselves," Griffiths says. "Every time he'd be in town, we'd add something." And it finally feels like home, if
But back to the food-and-drink situation: You can go full pie (24-inch) or bar size (12-inche). The bar-size pies run $12, with additional toppings costing $1 to $2 ($3 for artichokes). You also have full access to the entire Lucali menu, as well as a charcuterie platter ($24) that's been coined the "wild game platter." That's because it's made of up things like smoked duck breast, duck salami, wild boar salami, venison, and fennel salami. They're accompanied by manchego and Gorgonzola cheeses (be sure to dip both into Lucali's raw honey), red cerignola and Castelvetrano olives, and organic raw seedless grapes.
As for the drinks, there are about 8 specialty and handcrafted cocktails ($14 each). Griffith plans to shake things up constantly. The Opening Day mixes basil-infused Tito's vodka with black pepper and lemon juice for a to-the-point yet balanced libation.
The Hucker Park packs Rittenhouse rye, cherry herrings, chai tea, and lemon juice.
The Saucy Calypso is saucy indeed. Bacardi Superior, passionfruit purée, ginger, and coconut cream compose the tart cocktail.
The favorite of the evening, the Red Hot Rita, packs watermelon-infused El Jimador, agave, lime, and sriracha for a kick.
The Bombay Original mixes Old Forester bourbon, key lime cordial, orange bitters, and ginger beer.
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Perhaps the most interesting and unique is the A Gostosa, comprising cachaça, passionfruit, guarana reduction, and hibiscus bitters.
A visit to Lucali or Bay Club isn't complete without a Nutella-and-ricotta calzone.