Democratic Republic of Beer's Second Location Soft Opening Weekend (Photos)

Democratic Republic of Beer, Miami's late night beer and wine local featuring over 500 beers from around the world, opened its second location in three years in downtown on Friday night.

Business was slow at first but intensified by 8 p.m., nearly reaching maximum occupancy by midnight. Saturday and Sunday turned out to be a bit slower , but that will soon change as the basketball and football seasons progress.

Any Miami midnight marauder who creeped into the original DRB location on a regular basis will be pleased to know that the second place is better, much better.

For starters, it is at least twice as big as the first, 1600 square feet versus roughly 800. This means more room to kick back.

Two: they have a covered outdoor seating area, although it has only one table. This is better than the last place, which has no covered outdoor lounge save for a couch outside the door. With the addition of more tables on the patio, the seating space

could equal to more than 3000 square feet, according to DRB Manager

Giorgio Saumat.

Tres: free parking for guests. That's right. No longer will you have to struggle through the concrete jungle to park your prized possession, not knowing whether you'll receive any one of several punishments for disobeying the parking space god: a ticket, tow or smashed window. It's probably the best gift to DRB guests besides the huge selection of beers. There are at least 44 spaces with a parking attendant to watch over the lot.

And lastly-perhaps the best part, Saumat confirms that there will be a "brewing and tasting" room, which will contain some sort of brewing setup but would not say any further details except that the room will be used to host beer dinners and cigar pairings at least a couple of times a month. The room is sealed off and not yet accessible to the general public.

The thought of two DRB locations downtown may seem like overkill, but

consider that the first location receives any Arsht Center traffic, and the second one is well positioned to capture any traffic from the

American Airlines Arena, Bayside, the Wolfson campus, and the Metromover.

There seems to be a beer bar arms race of sorts in Miami as several similarly-themed bars are appearing, but where other bars fail DRB seizes the day. The new place has a fully operational kitchen and a menu equal to the first location. Menu items are labeled according to country/region of origin.

Being a frequent traveler, Saumat takes note of what people in other

places eat and drink for beer. The ideas he takes with him provide

inspiration for the menu and theme, which is how he is able to attract a

piece of the international crowd that Miami is known for. 

"Beer is a tool to get to people," Saumat says. "We are a lounge and a restaurant. Beer is an important part of this place, obviously, but it's more about the people -- we like to know where they are from."

The ambiance and vibe of the second DRB is similar to the first: relaxed, hidden and even better--not crowded. It's dark inside but the glare of the TVs reflects off the holstein-covered booths to let you know that you've walked into a swanky cave.

Because this was a soft opening, all of the usual festivities that come with new places will occur at the grand opening during the first week of December. Stay tuned.

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