Eat, Drink, Chill, Dance: Where to go and what to do in Miami

What are you doing this weekend? If you answered (a) the Grove, (b) the Beach, or (c) all of the above, then you’ll probably run into a bunch of students who claim the Grove and the Beach to be favorite nighttime hangouts. Here’s a rundown on the Grove and Beach scene and a selection of student favorites:

What is the Grove? Well, over a hundred years ago, Coconut Grove was built mainly by West Indian craftsmen brought in from the Bahamas. Attracting writers, artists and non-conformists, this hub of the bohemian arts contributed to Miami’s cultural renaissance. Fast forward a century, and the Grove is still one of Miami’s hottest nightspots, with more than 75 cafes, restaurants and clubs that line the streets. Coconut Grove has it all.

CafE Tu Tu Tango
2nd Floor, CocoWalk
This restaurant encompasses all that is the Grove in its appeal to the starving artist. Its dEcor is a vibrant mix of different painting styles, and the tables and stools are splattered with paint. The food itself is excellent, and instead of ordering a single entrEe, waiters encourage you to order three or four smaller plates per person for the whole table, so that each person can sample a variety of food. With belly dancers, tarot card readers and freelance artists scattered throughout, CafE Tu Tu Tango is definitely a unique dining experience.

1st floor, Mayfair
This is a great place to go in a big group with your loudest friends. After feasting on great (though pricey) Italian food and even better deserts, get ready to dance on top of your table as the lights dim and the music starts. The crowd here is mixed, and you’ll see everyone from the teenagers celebrating a birthday to twenty-somethings out on the town, to your occasional old people dancing way too dirty for their age. Get dressed up and see for yourself.

South Bayshore Drive
Monty’s is a tropical outdoor restaurant and bar, where live bands play island music at night. The parties are free, and Friday afternoons are busy for happy hour from 5-8 p.m. Come here in shorts or jeans and spend all night in a tiki hut drinking beer or tropical drinks and dancing with an eclectic crowd.

Main Highway
The Tavern is a student favorite, where a tight budget can lend itself to a good time. It provides a casual atmosphere and attracts mostly the beer-drinking crowd.

3rd floor, Mayfair
The Improv Comedy Club is unique to the Grove in that it is Miami’s best place to see famous comedians. Weekend shows are Friday at 8:30 and 10:45 p.m. and Saturday at 7:45, 10, and 12 p.m. All shows are for crowds 21 and over except for the Saturday midnight show, which is 18 and over. Be there an hour early to buy tickets, and brace yourself for a hilariously raunchy show.

Color Me Mine
Main Highway
Though it closes early, this is a great place to bring a date. You and your date pick out a plate or a coffee mug and sit down at a table to decorate each other’s pieces. It costs six dollars an hour to paint, in addition to the cost of the item you are painting. Employees are artists willing to help with your masterpiece.

Club 609
3342 Virginia Street
If you don’t mind your clothes reeking of cigarette smoke for a week, Club 609 is not a bad place to spend a Friday night. Ladies pay no cover on Fridays, and Power 96 DJs broadcast live. In addition to the main dance floor, there is a room for Latin music.

2911 Grand Avenue
There’s always something going on at this new Grove club. Located where the Chili Pepper used to be at the Mayfair, Oxygen features a mix of DJs and live music as well as pan-Asian and sushi dishes.
Will Smith was onto something when he said Miami was “the city that keeps the roof blazin’.” Where better to see this than Miami’s most famous hotspot: South Beach. With more than 800 buildings designed in the 30s and 40s, South Beach serves as the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world. It also sets the scene for a nightlife that just won’t quit. Not only does South Beach serve as the setting for some of the most famous of music videos and movies, it is also one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

The Van Dyke
846 Lincoln Road
Located on one of South Beach’s most lively streets, this restaurant serves up modern California cuisine at an affordable price. The Van Dyke is a great place to go day or night, and it features an intimate upstairs loft with nightly live Jazz music.

661 Washington Avenue
A lot of students are talking about Bolero. Inspired by Hemmingway’s Havana, it offers a fine dining experience with live musical entertainment. This is definitely a place to be seen and get dressed up for.

727 Lincoln Road
This is one of the most popular gay and mixed bars in Miami. There is no cover, and the club hosts nightly themed events. In addition to the bar area with a large screen television there is open-air seating.

645 Washington Avenue
Honey is one of Washington Avenue’s newest tenants, and it is quickly gaining popularity. One thing that attracts club-goers is its sophisticated, posh atmosphere and European style music.

Lincoln Road
Lincoln Road is a South Beach street where one can find everything from excellent restaurants to boutiques to one of Miami’s best movie theaters. It is just as right to dress formally as it is to wear rollerblades and a swimsuit at any time of day. Since it’s leisurely, unlike Ocean Drive, one can enjoy the street performers and craft vendors that line the street.

Yoga on the Beach
52 street and Collins
(behind the Alexander Hotel)
On weekdays at 6:30 p.m., yoga classes are offered to students of all ages and abilities for a donation of $5.

1235 Washington Avenue
Level is a South Beach club based on the format of Studio 54. It is for revelers 21 and older and features Latin-Euro sounds on Wednesdays, retro night on Thursdays and international DJs and live shows on the weekends.

Opium Gardens
136 Collins Avenue
This is one of South Beach’s most chic clubs. It is an outdoor nightclub with an Asian garden amphitheater and several rooms playing different types of music, spun by Miami’s best disk jockeys. Unless you’re 21 or know someone at the door, it’s going to be pretty hard to get in.