Cocktail Culture at Mondrian's Sunset Lounge for the Serious Happy Hour Drinkers

The Place: Sunset Lounge at Mondrian
1100 West Ave., Miami Beach

The Hours: Thursday and Friday 6-9 p.m.

The Deals: "Innovated Classics" cocktail list is $8 (at least half, if not more, what typical cocktails cost). Limited menu from restaurant also $8, as is valet parking which typically $25.

The Scene: If you're looking to pound drinks with more concern for alcohol content and price than taste, then avoid the Mondrian's Sunset Lounge happy hour. If, however, you believe in the concept of "cocktail culture" then sit down and let the bartender's wax alcoholic about what goes into their specially developed cocktail list.

They take their cocktails seriously at the Sunset Lounge. How seriously? How about a $2,500 bar expense on fresh fruit per week (with invoice to prove it.). Speaking of which, the cocktails developed especially for the Thursday and Friday happy hour are as exclusive as the hotel guests. Try the Pisco Dusk Sour which uses fresh crushed blackberries and cardamom pods along egg whites for a frothy treat.

But this isn't just for the big timers that stay at Mondrian; the happy hour was specifically created to attract local South Beachers. And that means halving usual drink prices in what they are calling Crazy 8's, where five specially developed cocktails and limited menu are only $8. Maybe more importantly than that, the usually astronomical $25 valet parking expense is also a cool 8 bucks.

Even with the reasonable prices and eclectic cocktail list the real star of the show is the hotel itself, and at sunset it has few equals. You can enjoy the Crazy 8's at the Sunset Lounge next to designer Marcel Wanders, signature floating staircase or out by the pool.

Conclusion: If happy hour with style is your thing, then you won't want to miss Mondrian and its Sunset Lounge. Crazy 8's makes what is among the most exclusive hotels on the Beach accessible to locals.

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