A thatched roof bar right on the water and cocktails crafted with freshly squeezed juices welcome guests to Creekside Restaurant & Tiki Bar's little corner of paradise. Guests here dine on the ocean's bounty while taking in unparalleled views of mangrove trees, boats floating by, and awe-inspiring sunsets. They can arrive via boat or car.
Creekside's chefs embrace their location and churn out conch fritters, grilled mahi tacos, blackened Key West pink shrimp, and lump crab cakes. For those who prefer something other than seafood, the chefs grill steaks and tuck chicken breasts into sandwiches slathered with honey mustard.
Cinco Cantina & Tequila Bar's agave-savvy staff pours artisan tequilas at a bar softly lit by punched-tin lanterns. Duos or quartets of tasters sample three shots of blanco, anejo, and reposado tequilas crafted in small batches by respected distillers such as Don Julio and Tres Generaciones. Spiced chips surf creamy waves of classic guacamole between sips as patrons strain to overhear salsa-themed knock-knock jokes whispered by brightly colored masks on the walls.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, The Globe's CubaLibre Block Party electrifies the streets with Cuban flair as attendees savor creative cocktails, exotic street food, hand-rolled cigars, and plenty of dancing. From the main stage of the festival, Cuban-born, Miami-raised trio Los 3 de la Habana headlines, playing music for the crowds. The band plays rousing tunes such as the sweeping power ballad “Donde esta el Amor” and the thumping “No te pases de la Raya.” Edwin Bonilla y Su Son will also perform to create more traditional, though no less danceable, melodies. Elsewhere, partiers can take in a salsa lesson and demo, or watch a special tribute to Cuban piano legend Bebo Valdes.
At Open Stage Club, visual and auditory delights share the bill with gustation and olfaction to create an extrasensory dining experience. At first glance, it's a restaurant and bar, with a menu loaded with seafood and steak house-worthy entrees, and a wine selection that seems plucked from a sommelier's dreams. But the star attraction of the club is the talent that blossoms upon its performance stage. Equipped with a professional sound and lighting system and featuring a house band for backup, the open stage draws burgeoning singers, dancers, comedians, and mimes into the spotlight to chase their muses as audiences offer encouragement and friendly critiques.
The breadth of the Atlantic Ocean doesn't impact the reach of Alfredo Patino. As the chef and owner of Bin No. 18, the Miami-based chef draws inspiration from the casual cuisine of European bistros while using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and contemporary technique to lend a bit of New World flair to the ever-changing menus. French, Italian, and Latin American flavors appear throughout Chef Patino's cuisine, adding a global scope to the regionally rooted dishes.
Shareable platters of imported European cheeses and cured meats are served alongside Latin staples, including octopus salad, as well as classic Italian entrees made with homemade pastas. But recreating time-honored classics isn't the only thing that Chef Patino does. He also demonstrates a willingness to experiment by fusing New and Old World influences. This culinary whimsy is evident in the kitchen's modern interpretation of a Cuban sandwich—complete with slow-roasted pork, brie, and fig sauce—which earned a spot on Food & Wine magazine's list of the Best Sandwiches in the U.S.
And much like the European bistros that originally inspired Chef Patino, Bin No. 18 features an extensive wine list. Like his menu, the wine list takes a global approach by including bottles from Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Hungary, Greece, and Austria, as well as Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa, Washington State, California, and Oregon. This variety of options ensures that numerous pairing options are available for diners looking to enjoy a glass with their meal or collection of small plates. CBS Miami was also impressed by the selection, placing Bin No. 18 on its 2011 list of the Best Wine Bars In South Florida.
The Old World inspiration shines through a bit more clearly in the restaurant's décor, which skews more toward a rustic, yet refined ambiance as opposed to a nouveau vibe. Wooden wine barrels sit beside tables with avocado-green chairs, occasionally doubling as small side tables. At the same time, the collection of crystal chandeliers dangling from the ceiling adds a bit of classical elegance to the space.
A man seizes a bottle of liquor by its neck, lifts it off its grooved feet, and hurls it into the air. Eyes forward, he catches it behind his back with his left hand as his right pours the first ingredient in a mixed drink. Off The Hookah's flair bartenders juggle flaming concoctions and fix classic cocktails inside a 14,000-square-foot restaurant with Moroccan décor and cushy beds and couches. After high-fiving the two pharaoh statues stationed by the door, guests can dig into tapas, sushi, and artfully arranged Mediterranean cuisine. Outdoor seating wraps around the entire main hall, providing plush couches from which to exhale hookah fumes and watch mariners tying up their boats or saddling their sharks at the marina. On the weekends, DJs spin Mediterranean, Latin, and American records, while belly dancers undulate around indoor and outdoor areas.