There is a magical place in South Beach where no velvet rope, no picky doorman, and no cover exists to hamper your fun. Near the entrance, a Harley is parked outside, not for show, but because the person visiting inside is a true biker. Upon opening the clear, glass door of Automatic Slim’s, located on 1216 Washington Ave., you are no longer in the world of over-priced drinks and cold, shady stares. Co-owner Buzzy Sklar set out to leave the pretentiousness often associated with SoBe in the dust. He glances around his sparkling new bar with a relaxed smile of satisfaction.
“Exactly what we wanted to happen here has happened,” he says.
There is a cozy, local vibe about the place that is noticeable the second you walk in. Around the room, bartenders are dancing on top of the bar and the patrons are having the time of their lives. With a menu consisting of $7 drinks, $5 shots, and $4 draft beers, it’s easy to see why. The drink prices are amazing, especially considering Slim’s ritzy location, and the food is top shelf.
Until 4:00 a.m., Automatic Slim’s offers palatable munchies ranging from deep-dish apple pie a la mode, to their signature mouthwatering “naughty nachos.” If you’re up for a late night culinary trip to New York City, one bite of their “NYC street vendor pretzel” will take your taste buds on a romantic tour of Times Square – well almost.
If the snacks and beverages aren’t enough to keep you inside, resident DJ Mark Leventhal’s transitions between crazy funk, hip hop and classic rock n’ roll will keep you dancing into stylish oblivion.
The bar is fashioned to appear straight out of the ’70s, with slanted square mirrors and lights dangling from above. Benches inspired by car seats conjure a charming cool comparable to the faux-diner, Jack Rabbit Slim’s, in Pulp Fiction.
Future stars and strippers in waiting can dance on a stage, complete with a “performance pole,” while being doused in the drunken limelight. Chances are that many UM students will find themselves up there belting out “Born to be Wild” before sunrise.
Automatic Slim’s opened up three weeks ago and is quickly becoming the new hot spot where anything goes. Buzzy often quips that “this is where the beautiful people go to get ugly.” The crowd is as diverse as the lounge’s choice of music, which is stocked with plenty of staple sing-a-longs that are cheesy enough to bring absolute strangers together. Take note that you will never encounter electronic music at Slim’s.
Every evening from 4-8 p.m., all drinks are priced at $4 for happy hour, and tall pitchers of beer are only $7. At 11:00 p.m., the crowd gets thick and chatty, as everyone absorbs the laid-back atmosphere. The early morning hours are worth the wait if you care to polish off leftover Jell-o shots with a guy, who emerges merrily from the kitchen bearing giant trays filled with gelatin rippers. Whether this type of mania occurs every night is unclear, but last Friday night, he returned every 15 minutes, smiling with yet another tray.
If Slim’s strictly enforced motto, “No Cover, No VIP, No Bullshit,” sounds enticing, you will not be disappointed. With no dress code, practically anyone can pop in off the beach wearing board shorts and a t-shirt to kick it with some buds and suds.
If you’re craving free mayonnaise sandwiches from 10 p.m. until midnight, swing by on a Tuesday, or if you’re looking for a girl’s night out, drop by on a Wednesday, where ladies drink free from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m.
Warning: once you walk in and find yourself relaxing with an out-of-this-world caramel apple martini and a plate of “Buffalo Boob’s Bodacious Wings,” you may never want to leave. Too soon enough, girls and guys dancing and mouthing the lyrics to “Bust a Move” will end with pleasant, exhausted 5:00 a.m. “goodbyes” and perhaps some hazy reminiscing over breakfast.
Rachael Henrichsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.