There's a pretty solid reason to make Miracle Mile part of your weekend plans.
Last Friday, August 5, Copper 29 Bar opened to the public. Nestled between Starbucks on the corner of Ponce de Leon Boulevard and french pastry shop Janette & Co., the speakeasy-inspired bar looks to classic New Orleans watering holes for inspiration.
When you walk through the nondescript door, you'll find a lounge area with red leather couches. The space opens to the main room, resplendent with a mahogany bar lined with leather-seated stools. Chandeliers and vintage lamps light the space, but the most eye-catching accents are the two large walls cascading with devil's ivy that sandwich bookcases holding a curated array of select small-batch spirits you won't find anywhere else.
The man responsible for this impressive collection is Eleftherios "Lef" Kraounakis, an up-and-coming mixologist who has been making strides in local competitions such as Bacardi Legacy and Bombay Sapphire. Kraounakis hails from distinct fine-dining restaurants in Greece, and since moving to Miami four years ago, he's worked at Bâoli and managed the bar at Mandarin Oriental's La Mar by Gastón Acurio.
"I want people to taste and have the experience of craft cocktails with different ingredients, some Asian-inspired, South-American inspired, Mediterranean — a little bit of everything," he says about the menu of nine signature cocktails he has crafted.
The Don't Herb Me ($14) cocktail is made with Old Forester bourbon, dry eucalyptus shrub, star anise extract, black walnut bitters, and a cherry-oak-smoked ice-cube served in a glass dome. What makes this a great sipping drink is the unexpected sweetness from the shrub. Kraounakis says of his creation, "I love eucalyptus — it reminds me a lot of my mother and grandmother. When I was a kid, when anyone would get sick, they would boil eucalyptus for its healing properties, and the whole house would smell of it. I found a great combination with the bourbon, and we add a bit of smokiness with cherry-wood smoke. It’s a great show as well for the table."
The food by chef Omar Montero, who worked at the Setai before opening Brickell's Cantina La Veinte, is not to be overlooked either. "The environment of the place, the cocktails, it draws a lot of inspiration from the South — Cajun, spices, shrimp — but obviously with some Miami touches, like the ceviche," Montero explains. "Everyone is doing a Cuban sandwich, so we opted for pork sliders, obviously with the smokier flavors of New Orleans." He's talking about the smoked pork confit sliders ($14) with pickled cucumber slaw, grain Dijon mustard, mango spread, and Swiss cheese.
The spot has already become a new favorite for its happy hour, happening daily from 4 to 8 p.m. (including weekends). You can enjoy wines for $5, select beers for $4, and four cocktail choices for $7. Currently, the offerings include a Moscow mule, a lavender daiquiri, Tommy's margarita, and the house old-fashioned, but there are plans to rotate libations.
Also in the works is turning the bar into an after-hours lounge and offering entertainment in the form of jazz and Latin nights. And if all of this weren't enough, a brunch menu is slated to debut in a month. Expect oysters, crawfish, and okra paired with plenty of cocktails for your day-drinking pleasure.