The crew behind Emulsifi Hospitality Management has a knack for turning unusual spots into places they'd like to hang out.
After the incredible success of their string-lit, bunker-like taqueria serving some of the best Mexican street food in the city, the guys behind Taquiza have ventured into the realm of drinks, beer, and good vibes. Noting there was a lack of laid-back spots in the vicinity to relax after their long days of masa-making, they partnered with the Beds n' Drinks Hostel on James Avenue to nurture that environment. Just like a sown seed, the result — the Grdn — has been a long time coming. And it continues to grow at a chill pace.
For the past six months, the bar has catered to the backpackers and guests of the hostel, but as of the recent Fourth of July barbecue, it has finally opened to the public. Much like the hidden gems that have turned into some of this town's great imbibing institutions, the space is unassuming and unexpected. What it lacks in indoor seating — it is the lobby of a hostel, after all — it makes up for with plenty of front-porch tables, lots of board games, and even a Ping-Pong and two beer pong tables.
But the real treat of this place is the extensively curated craft beer list. It's a three-page menu filled with some of Miami's best, including MIA's Domino Pilsner ($5) and Miami Weiss ($7), Biscayne Brewing Co.'s Miami Pale Ale ($7), and Wynwood Brewing's Rickenbacker Pils ($6) on draft, as well as nationally recognized suds that aren't readily available in the area. To get the beer geeks excited, Mikkeller's Beer Geek Breakfast, Prairie Artisan Ales' Bomb!, and To Øl's Gose to Hollywood are among them.
You can't beat the happy-hour deals Monday through Friday 5 to 8 p.m., offering $3 PBRs, $5 Coronas (it's still South Beach, folks), and $6 cocktails. For those in the service industry or anyone who likes to start the week on the right foot, a Monday special 305 happy hour offers a rotating selection of one or two local craft beers for $3.05, and come hump day, you'll need the care package: a PBR bottle chased with a select whiskey or rye shot.
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And because this is Taquiza's sister after all, there are some pretty dank bar snacks, including homemade jerky from Masa and the must-try truffle-parm-garlic-flavored popcorn from Brown Paper Bag. Come September, the Grdn is slated to offer more food items, but for now it'll be the perfect spot to drop by with your beachwear and challenge backpackers to a game of beer pong.