Esmé managing director James Stuart tells New Times his team took inspiration from the Spanish-Mediterranean architecture of Española Way, using that influence to create the hotel's food and beverage venues.
Inside, Bar Pintxo will offer tapas, the Roof bar will serve a wide array of house-made sangrias, and Miami-themed "greatest hits" dishes and specialty blended spirits will be served at El Salón.
Stuart, who oversaw Gemma and the Lobby Bar at the Bowery Hotel and the Ballroom at the Jane Hotel among other projects in New York City, says he's most excited to revitalize the energy of the original Spanish Village on Española Way.
"When developing the Esmé brand, we wanted to honor both the history of the buildings as well as reimagine a bit of the bohemian spirit of the property’s original incarnation," Stuart explains. "The buildings that make up Esmé Miami Beach are almost 100 years old and were a part of developer N.B.T. Roney’s vision to create an artists' village in Miami Beach. His goal was to form a colony where artists could live, work, and create, inspired by Greenwich Village and the old artist quarter in Paris. The challenge was to find the right approach for each outlet that would help set the vibe of the hotel for our guests while just as importantly appeal to locals and neighbors alike."
Alongside Stuart, Miami-based Lost Boy & Co. co-founder Chris Hudnall helped to spearhead the conception process for the venues at Esmé. For more than a decade, Hudnall has been building and operating some of Miami’s iconic food and beverage concepts, from his eponymous Lost Boy Dry Goods bar to his role as national bar director for Soho House.
The signature restaurant at Esmé, El Salón, is located along a walkway that connects the property’s historic buildings. It will offer a menu of iconic Miami dishes, from arepas and empanadas to chicharrones.
"Blending spirits within the same categories was inspired from an old bartender trick of blending sweet vermouth to build the best negroni," Hudnall tells New Times. "I had always wondered why bartenders only experimented with sweet vermouth and why we didn’t use the same practice with all spirits — for example, blending gins together for the best gin martini and tequilas with orange liqueurs for the ultimate margarita."
The Roof at Esmé will be composed of a series of rooftop decks that house a bar and restaurant, a pool, cabanas, and the hotel's wellness space. During the day, guests can take a yoga class, enjoy cold-pressed juices, or lounge by the pool and sample an all-day menu of healthy and nutrient-focused bowls, salads, and sandwiches.
At night, the Roof will specialize in large-format cocktails, called "Spirited Jugs," featuring house sangrias and reimagined classics like the French 75 and the paloma.
"We are using traditional, small-vineyard Spanish wines and balancing them to perfection with fresh fruit, herbs, spices, vegetables to create our sangrias," Hudnall says. "We're also taking it to another level of experimenting with Spanish vermouths, sparkling wines, and sherries to use as the base of our sangrias."
A short distance down the hotel's walkway, guests will find Bar Pintxo, a modern interpretation of a Spanish pintxo bar that will offer a rotating array of snacks along with Spanish beers and wines. The bodega-style concept will pair small bites such as pulpo pinchose (octopus with smoked paprika) and gilda (anchovy, pickled pepper and olive) with Estrella Damm beer, Spanish txakoli wines, and Basque ciders served from a porrón. The space will also feature weekly activations by local artists and musicians, as well as chef takeovers.
"Our inspiration was to develop an all-day unique journey for our guests, a sensory journey," Hudnall sums up. "We asked ourselves, 'How would we want to spend a day eating and drinking at Esmé?' The idea was to have a culinary and beverage experience that was simple, yet significant."
Esmé Miami Beach. 1438 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; esmehotel.com. Opening March 2021.