A disclaimer. This is not my usual sugar-sweet story. Shit got real in Miami. You’ve been warned.
Taking a limo from Fort Lauderdale to “Bachelorette Party: Miami” was a breeze. I didn’t get a peek at Ocean Drive yet, but it did bring us right to The Shore Club’s front door for the second round of boozing and sun worshipping. Although I thought the W was a little more elevated in its updates, it was clear that The Shore Club had a reputation and a new vibe.
As a place to stay, The Shore Club is perfect in South Beach. I loved that we could walk through a Moroccan-inspired garden space exploding with color to get your our small but comfortable rooms. Back by the pools, there are some pretty lounge spaces to spread out for the day, where you can order top shelf cocktails all day long to the gentle bump of club music.
Well, at least during the week.
The tranquil, chic atmosphere we were welcomed with on a Thursday completely changed as the weekend came in full swing. The time we spent lounging was quickly squashed the following days, as the pool scene became a shitshow of loud music, squealing bikini-clad women and nowhere to stash our stuff. OK fine, this is Miami Beach. But really. There was a clear pecking order established at the pools, and we were banished to the back, joining the families with toddlers. We also were a little miserable and jaded from the evening previous, so maybe this was unfair. But The Shore Club is not relaxing; it’s chaos and a beauty pageant.
Back to our big night in Miami. After great success in Fort Lauderdale, we figured we’d cruise this town the same way. I know nothing about the area, but I assume we’ll just be welcomed like always and a group of cute chicks looking to have a fun time.
We were horribly wrong.
Everything did start out great, though. My girls planned a meal at Larios – the Cuban restaurant coined by Gloria Estefan herself. So cool. We had to wait for a table despite a reservation, but that gave us a chance to swap selfies with a fashionable group we met in the lobby over a couple authentic cocktails. Dinner itself was huge and delicious – massive plates of tamales, maduros and croquettes to share, followed by courses of slow roasted pork. With all this washed down by a couple of bottles of red wine, sleepy eyes and yawns might have been the first sign we were going to be too ambitious tonight.
No way. Go big or go home.
As it’s all so pitiful and sad, I’ll skip over most of these following details. We tried one club, which demanded a massive table fee, and wandered into a seemingly bumping bar with live music. After grabbing drinks, a glance around told us this wasn’t a South Beach hotspot, as there were children running under our feet. Kids are fine but not on a bach weekend. Oops.
One of the girls suggested we hop over to The Delano. She had been there before, had a fun time, and knew it was associated with The Shore Club. We hiked up the front stairs and were met with an icy glare from the doorman. I was told I need to remove my bachelorette sash before being allowed to enter.
If I was in a clear state of mind I should have spun around on my heel and peaced out. Instead we ventured into the bar that was, nice, but nothing spectacular. It was definitely a place to be seen and not to much a place that dazzled. Maybe on a cold night in Boston I’d like hanging out at FDR, but on a beautiful evening on South Beach, this felt like a prison sentence carried out down in a dungeon. Who would be in a dark basement sipping on $30 cocktails in Miami? I found the crowd skeevy and odd, boasting of movie deals and big bank statements none of us clearly cared about. Thanks for the free champagne guys, but it was barely worth it.
It took us about two hours to leave, due to some miscommunication, the group splitting and a lost phone. Defeated, we left the horrible bar and got a slice of pizza to regroup and recount what happened during the separation. One girl called it a night at this point, and the five remaining talked about what to do next.
I debated for a while getting into the final ball-of-fire experience we had, but it needs to be said.
Between us six girls, we had very little to do with these types of establishments so far in life. But everything else was such a bust that evening, I was racking by booze brain for something crazy that could possibly redeem a deflated group. Things were starting to close, but I got a hold of one, er, place, that said it was a small cover and they had bottle service. Great! No guys, but at this point I just wanted to finish my pizza, find a nice place to sit, have a glass of wine and think about our next move. If tits were involved in that plan, so be it.
It’s called Club Madonna. I’m not going to link them, just Google it if you need to check it out. I’m open minded and thought it would be a funny way to close out a worthless night, but we were met with a handful of pretty but sad look strippers and even sadder looking guests staring up at the pink stages. I ordered us a $40 bottle of wine. I had been drinking, but not nearly enough to not notice. The cocktail waitress gave us an alcohol-free bottle of ‘wine’. It said so clearly on the label.
This place does NOT serve alcohol. They LIE and say they do to unsuspecting tourists.
I’ve never encountered something like this. Next she tried to bring over alcohol-free beer, pawning it off as the real deal. Pouting at her inability to swindle us, she then had the audacity to ask for a tip. After causing a small scene the manager came over, looked me up and down like a snake and said, “Sorry. Welcome to South Beach, baby.”
So what happened after that? Two girls were so disgusted they left, rightfully so. I chatted with a bachelor party in front of us, mentioned all their beers were booze free (I might have got convinced to have a lap dance after that by the guys, but it was so, so cringe worthy I prefer not to elaborate. Bad life choice.). The poor maid of honor looked like that scene in Garden State, sitting on a dirty couch and detached from the foolishness swirling around her. Another one of the girls decided she would make this her personal vendetta to stage a revolution, and went around to every person in the club to let them know they were all drinking hundreds of dollars worth of apple juice.
She was promptly kicked out, waving a figurative flag of freedom and democracy. Get it girl.
The rebel rouser, MOH and I continued on into the night, finding a nice pub to just sit down and have a PBR at among the locals. It was fine, pleasant even. They even played Come on Eileen from the jukebox out of pity. What later unfolded was some members of the party, who shall remain nameless, found some cute guys at this pub. Long story short, it led to distraction and a stolen wallet. That was fun getting girls on a plane without identification the next day, battling raging hangovers and regret.
Those who were left were then met with that awful pool scene at The Shore Club, where we met even more weird men who promised a good time and left us feeling stupid. There were a few highlights of finding ourselves in a great high-rise with a pretty view of the sea and skyline, plus a bucket of strong margaritas and a much more relaxed pool scene. We ended up having to sketch-bounce though as the night wore on and we couldn’t escape the desperate company.
Yes, yes I know. This is all mostly our fault.
When you wander into seedy places looking naive, you’re going to have a bad time. Nonetheless, I practically kissed the Boston pavement upon arrival, mentally apologizing anything I ever called my city a tough, unfriendly place to live. There are much, much worse places to call home.
Since the debauchery of “Bachelorette Party Miami”, I have returned to the city. Ironically, there was an opportunity a few months later and I felt it was the cosmos ensuring me this place wasn’t all that bad. I needed to give it a second shot. Stay tuned for another round of Miami madness.