Like its imaginative cocktails, Ricochet Bar & Lounge's décor mixes a wide variety of distinct elements to create an alluring final product. Tufted walls, purple marble accents, and reclaimed wood swirls around a 90-foot triangular bar that serves as the lounge's centerpiece. Rotating installations of video art flash across TV screens, and curated drink coasters designed by local artists offer a hip place to rest glasses or elbows during arm wrestling contests. Ricochet's food menu adds to the artistic ambiance, mollifying pangs of hunger with mini paninis, guava and lime lollipop ribs, and other innovative small plates.
Taking shots at the bar is already a performance: the dramatic tossing back of the head, the struggle not to make a puckered, that-was-rough face. Shots MIAMI’s bartenders embrace that theatricality by creating a show around each of their handcrafted shots, outfitting drinkers with silly props like oversized sombreros and sunglasses. The goofy costumes complement more than 150 cheekily named libations, such as Fruit Punch to the Face, a watermelon-flavored vodka shot. SHOTS Miami’s crew mobilizes its liquor, props, and glassware for private and corporate events, where they happily adapt their concept and drinks around each soiree’s specific theme.
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 salsa-dancing hotspot by night and a palate-pleasing eatery by day, Mango Martini’s seasoned chefs churn out a well-rounded menu of breakfast and lunch specialties as bartenders concoct accompanying brews. Palates preferring the yolky flavors of daybreak eats can time travel to prenoon hours with eggs benedict or sausages tucked into pancake blankets. Cuban sandwiches, mac ‘n’ cheese, and salmon with garlic mashed potatoes conquer guests' cravings for savory noontime feasts. As entrees slowly disappear, unlimited mimosas sate unquenchable thirst with nips of bubbly champagne and tangy orange juice that tango atop taste buds or mambo down guests' bibs.
A lot of liquid flows through a lot of beer gardens in the world, but very few of them can say pour enough beer to fill an actual pool. O.k., so the bartenders at Lou’s haven’t actually tried to fill their beer garden’s pool with beer. Still, the dozen taps and 30 bottled varieties on hand run with the stuff, dispensing craft brews in enough varieties to make the prospect of jumping into the swimming hole seem a little more feasible.
Inside the kitchen, Lou himself boasts the titles of both owner and chef, and he spends just as much time crafting his farm-to-table menu as he does curating the beer collection. He pairs his beverages with delicious creations such as New Zealand lamb, seared and served in the same cast iron skillet along with a side of bourbon and mountain honey-roasted squash. Lou’s eccentric palate and staggering panoply of brews has even earned his bacchanalian pleasure dome a nod from Esquire Magazine, which calls it one of 2012's Best Bars in America.