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Scotty's Landing: Five Reasons to Save It

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Last week we wrote about the possibility that Scotty's Landing might be in jeopardy of going the way of the dodo bird.

The City of Miami, which currently owns Grove Key Marina and the iconic dive bar/restaurant, is seeking bids for a 40-year lease to replace the slightly shabby waterfront with a multi-use space to include a brand-spanking-new marina and restaurant. Though Scotty's operator Scott Wessel (who also manages the marina) has put in a bid for the space, he's likely to compete with major corporations seeking prime Miami waterfront for their chain restaurants and shops. True, Scotty's Landing is no beauty, but it deserves to be saved. Here are five reasons why:

5. Miami Has Enough Multi-Use Entertainment Complexes
How many of you

have been to Cocowalk, the Shops at Sunset Place, or Bayside

Marketplace lately? These lifestyle and entertainment complexes are

fairly new, totally gorgeous -- and filled with vacant storefronts. The

tenants that survive are large corporate chains that can afford to have

loss leaders to say they have a store in Miami or Coconut Grove. But

even these are leaving. Niketown recently pulled out of Sunset Place

and Yogurbella closed in Cocowalk. And Bayside is filled with food

court vendors and dollar stores. Instead of building a brand new waterfront

mall, why not encourage small businesses to fill up the vacant spaces

at these already-standing centers?

4. Revere the Dive Bar

we learned anything from Travel Channel and Food Network? People love

dive bars and restaurants just as much as five-star, chef-driven

extravaganzas. People travel to New Orleans or New York to explore the

dive bar scene in a city. When I travel somewhere, I rarely get locals saying, "ooh you

simply must try the Dom at Chateau Fifi." They tell me where to get a

good drink at a dark, stanky bar that also makes a decent burger..or fish

dip... or oysters. Because that's where most of us have memories of dear friends and good times. We may celebrate our birthday every year at

Azul, but we celebrate the end of the work week every Friday at


3. Kid... And Grandma... And Dog Friendly
I have

dinner at Scotty's frequently. My husband and I will pack up our mutt

Harry and take him for a walk. We pass the sign welcoming well behaved

dogs. Harry knows the way and picks up the pace the minute we head for

the marina, the salt air filling his nostrils. We come for the beer.

Harry comes for the fish dip. As we park ourselves at one of the white

plastic tables, I look around. There's not one time that I don't see a

melange of tables filled with multi-generational families, groups of

co-workers, and people with their hounds (most of them jaunty in

bandanas). Everyone's welcome here. The menu isn't farm-to-table, but

it's accessible to everyone. Burgers, fish sandwiches, fritters. Oh, and

Harry's dip. So my terrier prefers fish dip to a piece of delicately seared ahi. Guess

what? So do I!

2. What's Wrong With a Little Nostalgia?

in the 1970's South Beach was considered a dilapidated, disgusting

wasteland filled with ugly ramshackle old buildings, drug addicts, and

the elderly. "Tear it down and put up condos!" was the war cry of

developers who saw dollar signs in their eyes. But Barbara Capitman saw

the potential in these dive-y, broken down old structures. In 1976 she

formed the Miami Design Preservation League

and led a drive to save these ugly eyesores. By the way, people come

from around the world to see these nasty old structures. It's called

Deco Drive now and it's one of the most iconic neighborhoods in the

world. I'm not saying that Scotty's Landing is as pretty as, say, the

Park Central Hotel on Ocean Drive in South Beach. But I am saying that what's old and ugly to

some...is beautiful and nostalgic to others. Beauty is in the eye of the

beholder and I think Scotty's is beautiful.

1. Music With A Killer View On The Cheap

Name five places where you can listen to good live music (and no, a DJ

does not constitute live music) without a cover charge in Miami? Now

name five places where you can listen to good live music and get a

really good cheap drink? OK, now name five places where you can listen

to good live music without a cover, cheap drink in hand -- while taking

in the moonlight playing over Biscayne Bay.  Bet you could only name one! Look guys, Jimbo's is

gone! The Rusty Pelican has gentrified itself. Monty's plays Yellowbird

over and over and over again for the tourists who think they're already on their Carnival cruise. Tobacco Road has no view! Scotty's

Landing might very well be the only place left in Miami to listen to

live music outside with a drink!

Argue all you want that

the place is trashy (it is), the food isn't great (it's not gourmet), or

that the bathrooms are filthy (hold it in until you get home). If you

want to discuss in person, I'll be at the bar, frosty mug in hand, with my

dog as the band plays "Freebird" while the sun sets over the bay.

Save Scotty's Landing!

Follow Short Order on Facebook and Twitter @Short_Order.

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