Cipriani Downtown Miami to Open in May (Photos)

In the 1920s, bartender Giuseppe Cipriani loaned a customer a tidy sum of money (especially for a bartender). Harry Pickering, a wealthy Bostonian, was a "frequent flier" of Cipriani's. Maybe too steady for his American family's tastes. After learning he was frittering away much of the family fortune, Pickering was cut off without a cent, and Cipriani offered a loan.

Flash-forward a few years, and the grateful Bostonian repaid the bartender nearly tenfold, giving Cipriani enough money to open his own place. Thus, the iconic Harry's Bar opened in 1931 and immediately became the haunt of authors, celebrities, and beautiful people in search of a good drink, brilliant conversation, and fun times.

Cipriani has since multiplied, with 19 bars and restaurants located wherever the wealthy, smart, and beautiful congregate. There are Ciprianis in New York, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Monte Carlo, Ibiza, Moscow, and Abu Dhabi, and the Cipriani family still runs the business. Miami will be added to the list with the much-anticipated 20th Cipriani Downtown Miami opening in Miami at the Icon (465 Brickell Ave.).

The location is designed by Florentine architect Michele Bonan, who also designed the Ciprianis in Abu Dhabi, Monte Carlo, and Ibiza, and features a nautical theme. The bar, which is the focal point of the restaurant, features the same layout as Harry's Bar in Venice. The 8,000-square-foot, bilevel restaurant will offer indoor seating and an outdoor waterfront dining space.

Though the Miami menu hasn't been released, expect Italian and continental cuisine and fine cocktails. Cipriani will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner (and, of course, cocktails).

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss