The much-anticipated pool bar at Vagabond Hotel is officially open for business. The place received its liquor license just this week and is ready to welcome the neighborhood and hotel guests in the newly renovated, retro-luxe space.
While the pool is open to hotel guests only, the hotel's bar will be serving classic American cocktails to guests and locals alike. Beverage manager Paul Schroeder makes the Vagabond Collins with vodka, homemade lemon lime juice, and simple syrup with angostura bitters.
"We are bringing ingredients in-house and making all our own juice, grenadine, and simple syrups," said Schroeder. He added that there would be no molecular gastronomy at the bar, just simple classic cocktails, and that guests will be impressed with the happy-hour prices and operating hours, which are still in the works.
Regular prices for cocktails range from $12 to $14 with well drinks priced at $10. The pool bar hours are 5 to 11 p.m. Developer and preservationist Avra Jain told us she is taking special care to keep the noise down out of respect for neighbors.
As for the service, general manager Chris Wang, who comes to Miami by way of New York, promises that "the public should love us."
"We came to Miami as outsiders, not knowing much about the town, but we were excited by such a unique opportunity," Wang adds. "When we got a chance to see the space and meet some of our neighbors, we immediately knew that this neighborhood was Miami's next frontier and wanted to be a part of it."
The restaurant, slated to open in late October, is led by Alex Chang, who is fresh off a research trip to France and Belgium. He has been tasting items from around the world and experimenting with the menu which he hopes will reflect the seasons here in Miami.
"It's so hard to grow a lot of things here, but I'm really liking all the mamey, papaya, and mango," said Chang. "I don't see too many people cooking with it, so we'll definitely be doing more of that here at the restaurant. It reminds me a lot of the flavors you'd find in Southeast Asia."
One planned signature dish is kanpachi ceviche, a delicate dish of seriola dumerili, the subtropical fish known as amberjack, infused with yuzu, avocado, and quinoa.
The restaurant space is still under construction. Visionary restaurateur and art collector Alvaro Perez Miranda says the Vagabond will feature an open kitchen and seat 150 guests in the indoor/outdoor space. It will cater to "today's contemporary vagabond," he adds. The Vagabond Motel's original signage will be mounted in the back of the indoor, sunken bar to pay homage to the spot's history. There will also be vertical gardens, designed by Edwige Belomore, filled with bromeliads and other plants from Homestead.
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The restaurant is designed to be a place for neighborhood diners as well as those looking to celebrate a special occasion with high-quality eats. "Respect for each food item in its entirety is essential to us when developing a great dish for the menu," adds Perez Miranda. "Our food won't need to taste more or less than what it is."
Vagabond Restaurant and Bar will take centerstage at the newly renovated Vagabond Hotel in this October and is already receiving requests for reservations. If you want to enjoy the pool while you sip your cocktail, you can book a room for as little as $149 a night and call it a staycation.