Last night I had the distinct pleasure of attending the grand opening of the Broken Shaker, a pop-up bar experience by the mad geniuses of Bar-Lab. If you’ve never had the pleasure of soaking in their libations, the Broken Shaker is the perfect opportunity to experience what they do best.
Yes, the Broken Shaker is a pop-up. This means that in six months, it’s out of here. Last night, on its grand opening, two drinks in—a rum punch followed by a spicy tequila drink that Elad just handed to me and said, Trust me, you’re going to like it; he was wrong, I loved it—I had a moment of profound sadness thinking, this thing will soon vanish from us. I can be dramatic like that.
Yes, their cocktails are all priced at $11. Let that sink in. $11. I’ll forever contend that the biggest obstacle to drinking well in Miami isn’t the scarcity of venues, it’s the price gouging. $11 is a dream come true. When you visit, remember to thank the boys. And tip well. You just saved at least $5 on that drink.
And yes, there’s a small food menu as well as a punch bowl option that goes for $70 and can quench between four to eight people. Do the math on that, and say goodbye to bottle service.
If you want to read a more informed article, and certainly a more comprehensive one—an article much better than the one I’m about to write—about the Broken Shaker, click here.
(It’s great, right? I read it last night between brushing my teeth and choosing which v-neck to rock and it got me so pumped that I switched the iPod from Lou Rawls to the new Weeknd record.)
Here’s my one beef from the article:
“Think Paris meets New Orleans and lets New York tag along.”
Maybe Paris, New Orleans and New York were the aesthetic cues the guys were taking as they built the place. That’s fine. I can live with that. I visited the boys for a few minutes two weeks back when the space was nothing, literally nothing, but a green wall and a lone shelf, and having to carefully appoint a venue with the vibe you carry in your heart must require shorthand cues like: think Paris, New Orleans, New York.
But if I were asked that question (as a patron, not proprietor), I wouldn’t think to compare the Broken Shaker to either of those cities. Or to any cities at all. What I’d offer up, instead is: It is the most perfect vision of Miami Miami could ever hope for.
You see, it grates my nerves whenever something beautiful and true appears among us and the very first thing we do is compare it to somewhere else.
Everybody loves The Corner in downtown and the most common reaction I hear is: It reminds me of New York. Check out their Yelp page for Pete’s (who the hell is Pete?) sake. Someone says New York (4xs), someone says Chicago, someone says San Diego, someone says Portland. Hell, someone says, they’d thumb their nose at this place if it were in Brooklyn, but in Miami, it’s kickass!
“It reminds me of New York” has become a euphemism for “this place is so cool, what’s it doing here?”
Dear Miami, when are we going to stop doing this to ourselves? When are we going to finally start comparing Miami to Miami? What’s it going to take for us to finally treat ourselves like a real city, not a stereotype, not hyperbole, but a real place with a real identity?
Let’s start here. Miami is not neon, Cubans, the Miami Heat, or David fucking Carradine.
There are not two sides to Miami: South Beach, and everything else.
There are two billion sides to Miami: Churchill’s Hideaway, nacatamales, Little Israel, gas station Jamaican patties, European man thongs, stray dogs, stray cats, stray chickens, voodoo, amateur pornography, Charles Willeford, El Rey de Las Fritas, air boats, air conditioning, Robert is Here, DJ Laz and five million psychopathic motorists redefining the meaning of death-defying.
And now, you can add the Broken Shaker to that list.
For starters, it’s located inside the Indian Creek Hotel, a gorgeous art deco hotel first built in 1936. Step inside and it’s a vision of Florida that includes seersucker suits and wicker ceiling fans. The floors are terrazzo. The walls are the color of cake. And it’s peaceful inside, cozy and comfortable. You can finally take a break and get back to that Grace Paley collection you started weeks ago.
Walk through the lobby to the outdoor courtyard and you’ll find the Broken Shaker. You can’t miss it. It’s that beautiful little nook you fell for at first site. Really, there’s no understating the tremendous job these dudes accomplished here. You would’ve thought this bar has been here since the hotel’s inception, that’s how carefully Gabe and Elad planned their pop-up.
The cabinets, in fact every shelf you see, was built and installed by the guys. Their glassware collection, collected by them. The insane roster of homemade bitters, syrups and tinctures, theirs and theirs alone. The library of cocktail books, curated. The beautiful assortment of cocktail accouterments, years of hunting and hoarding.
There are a few tables, café-style, inside the actual bar, but the real gem of the space is the hotel’s courtyard and garden. I doubt Paris ever saw palm trees this perfect. I doubt New York ever had a pool as intimate and pretense-free as the one here. I doubt New Orleans has ever pumped Joe Arroyo’s La Rebellion through its speakers as un-ironically as the Broken Shaker did last night.
In short, The Broken Shaker is the bar you’ve been waiting for your entire life. It’s the bar I’ve been waiting for my entire life. No velvet rope. No bottle service. No guest list. Exceptionally-priced drinks made exceptionally well. Outside seating. Surrounded by the kind of jungle foliage that can only be found in the tropics. A perfectly curated set list supplying the tunes. (Fellas, any chance we can squeeze some Joe Bataan in?) And an enormous parking lot, one block away, that’s free after 6 pm.
Dear Miami, go check out the Broken Shaker. Asap. And when you leave (imbibe responsibly, pretty please) I dare you to tell me it’s not the most Miami place you’ve ever been.
In the best possible way.