I am not in the habit of writing about hotel lobby bars. There are too many cool other places in Miami that I can focus on, and lobby bars are usually lame and overpriced. Plus there usually isn’t much to write about if one is reduced to trolling hotel lobbies. But this one is different. This is Bleau Bar.
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Actually even referring to this place as a lobby bar does it a fair bit of injustice. It is better described as a cool, chic, hip, retro-Deco-Mimo bar that has a killer view of the pool, and just happens to be surrounded by a hotel.
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The hotel is the storied and famed Grand Dame of Miami Beach, the Fountainebleau Hotel. Opened in 1954 and designed by Morris Lapidus, it was once considered the most luxurious hotel on Miami Beach. Lapidus once wrote, “If you create a stage and it is grand, everyone who enters will play their part.” Bleau captures that spirit.
[ The steaks and martinis at nearby Red, the Steakhouse, rock! ]
Visually stunning and fresh from the billion dollar total hotel redo and expansion a year ago (why haven’t I been here sooner?), Bleau makes great use of the original hotel footprint. The joint jumps out at you as you enter the hotel lobby. The Studio 54-esque lighted floor squares, cool lighting, gold tiled columns, pink main bar column, retro tie-motif tiles of the lobby (a Lapidus signature), recessed ceiling sconces, and the cool and era-authentic lobby furniture all add up to a great experience. I can’t wait to go back.
[ Zeke’s Roadhouse on Lincoln Road has 400 beers priced at $4 all the time. ]
And if you are at Bleau at night, marvel at the beauty of the redesigned pool (and its reinterpreted tie-design) and the many single “starlights” that dot the pool bottom. Gazing and enjoying a delicious Ketel One Dirty Martini ($15) the other night made me reflect on how much the Fountainebleau has changed since the iconic opening scenes of the hotel from the James Bond movie Goldfinger (1964).
[ Mickey Byrne’s is my favorite bar. ]
This is South Beach, and that means that lobby-bars here charge $7 for a Peroni, but if you are on South Beach I would assume that you know that. I visited Bleau on a Monday night both before (7P) and after dinner (10P) at Hakkasan, and when I left, it was hopping. I am looking forward to going back, as there was no shortage of things to hold the attention besides the gorgeous bartenders, waitresses, and twinkling pool lights.
Bleau Bar is located in the Fountainebleau Hotel, 4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL, 33140-3227. (305) 674-4670. Decide before you drive, visit my blog and please subscribe to my Examiner Bar Articles, thanks!