It’s one of those nights. Club-hopping in the frenzy and delusion of SoBe’s nightlife, indulging yourself to find that ultimate satisfying rush, trying ideally to elude the daily intricacies of your life by submerging into a precarious (and very possibly inebriated) night of escapade and profligacy, and testing the offerings of each disparate pleasure playground-enter the temples of hedonism.
And then you wake up the next morning, hung-over, drearily reaching for the pack of Tylenol’s conveniently placed right next to your bed while downing a whole bottle of water, breathing a sigh of relief, then zooming through your memory to try to make sense of last night’s blur. And you remember vaguely, smiling to yourself at that one last dance, and something stands out in your mind. That one place that made the night. Where the dj was conspicuously spinning the right stuff at the right time, making your heat beat with the tempo, taking you in. Where the people were friendly enough to share their momentary bliss with you, but stylish enough to keep that cool attitude of laid-back debonair. Where you decided to stay an hour longer just to sink in.
On one of those nights, that place for me was W6 Lounge, located at Sixth Street and Washington Avenue. (Yes, that is why the club is called W6). I had gone to a number of different clubs that night and ended up at this one last, staying until it closed at 5 a.m. A spokesman for the club I had met that night, an affable and easygoing Hawaiian named Julian Machua, describes the place as “a high-end lounge without the high-end prices and attitude.”
The interior decor is warm and elegant, a rectangular domain with a small dance floor and bar at the entrance, followed by a long row of lavish sofas and chairs on one side, and another extensive bar on the other; a place that has that typical NYC lounge feel to it, where you can dance if your feeling the rhythm or just lay back and lounge with the music, sipping on your drink, eyeing the crowd.
Across the ceiling, a number of lights surrounded by colored balloons add a feel of lush and velvety delight throughout the club. Even the bartenders are friendly and fun-loving, tending to your order with precision and speed at the bar- or you can sit around lazily and have one of the attractive waitresses tend to your thirsty needs, making you Mr. V.I.P. for one special night.
The lounge offers a distinctive array of drinks, from your favorite cocktails to moderately priced bottles, and proposes some beers for only $3 and $5 (a select and alluring feature compared to the usual steeply priced drinks on SoBe).
The lounge started to arise about a year ago and proffered locals of the beach with a chance to party on a lower scale, in a place with more intimacy and a less hyped, yet still continually modish atmosphere. Machua, who has been on the beach for 12 years, likes to refer to the lounge as “a kind of secret location without being a secret.” That sense of entering an enigmatic aura, losing yourself in a crowd of strangers and ending up vanishing into a subterranean abyss, isn’t what you get at W6. As explained by Machua, the “viability of the place is entrenched by the local people.” Though the lounge isn’t necessarily trying to get the most exposure on South Beach, it welcomes new-comers in the most hospitable way possible to allow new people to discover its very own singular attractions.
It is often a worry to go to clubs, especially in the mammoth night scene on SoBe. You’ll find yourself anxiously doubting that you’re going to get inside, hoping that you know someone at the door or you look hip enough to slide in without any hassle. Though at W6, to a certain extent, the bouncers will select the people they want inside, they are, if anything, convivial as opposed to intimidating and will let you in, without you knowing anyone or anything of the sort, if you are appropriately fashionable (I mean, it’s the least they could ask for!). Also, the lounge only occasionally has a cover charge, so if you’re there at the right time on the right night, you might be getting in for free (another attribute of the place you seldom find on SoBe).
Moreover, the music scene at W6 is also another facet of the lounge that makes it a good place to spend the night. On Wednesdays, it’s “In the Biz”, a local night with local DJ’s; Thursday is an especially happening night , with the emanating sounds of eclectic house music and garage with djs from New York and Los Angeles. Fridays are called “Bubbles Miami” and is characterized by the stirring beats and high energy of funk and R’n’B; Sundays have a cool bash with DJ Patrick Greene spinning deep house.
Saturdays at W6 are quite unique because the lounge uses this night for a number of particular parties. Once a month, the club hosts “Tease”, also called a “Skin Party” for couples and single women. What’s more, the owners’ party on Saturdays is an exciting celebration and, finally, Upsidedown Entertainment presents “UM NIGHT@W6” on some Saturdays with hip-hop in the V.I.P. room. The lounge has also had many notable djs playing on some nights such as Patrick Oliver (who has been considered one of the best on the beach and comes direct from London) and Sasha and John Digweed.
Good lounges or smaller venues around the beach are hard to find. The scene seems to be mostly dominated by boisterous clubs such as Crobar or Level. So, where to go when you want to level down and chill out in a more laid-back environment? Check out Tanja or Club Deep and just try to have fun, but I wouldn’t count on it. W6 seems to fit the good picture.
“This place might be the only real lounge on South Beach,” says Machua, “but the lounge scene here is coming of age, it’s still slowly breaking through.”
Machua claims that the club scene is now in a state of disarray and he seems confident that a lot of people are going to smaller venues like in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. “It is thriving and continuously growing; it’s definitely a big scene.”