My job recently took me down to a conference in Miami Beach. While there, I learned something about myself, which I’m guessing will resonate with many of you as well.
It started when I wanted a beer. I had flown in on a Friday night, and had an exquisite sushi dinner with my boss, where I had two Coedo Shiro Japanese Wheat beers. They were lovely, and paired perfectly with fabulous food we were eating. Little did I know this would be all the beer I’d be having on my three-day trip.
After dinner that night, I worked through a hotel snafu. I was booked at a flea bag dive by accident, and was fortunately upgraded to a VERY nice hotel – the Perry South Beach.
It was late once I got settled in, but I was in the mood for a nightcap, so I headed downstairs to the hotel bar to see what craft beers they had on tap. The answer was something I’d see again and again – nothing.
I walked into the place and was instantly assaulted by pounding house music. This was strange because there was no space to dance, just cozy tables where friends could gather. I guess they go there just to look at leach other, because the music made conversation impossible. Or maybe they were texting back and forth, I dunno. SMH, LOL.
While it seemed odd for a cozy bar to have loud club music blaring, it was even weirder that the watering hole opened up to an expensive steak restaurant, where the music was just as loud. I guess you become a good screamer if you live down there long enough.
I was alone, so conversation wouldn’t be an issue, and I still wanted a beer, so I approached the long bar, which had a glittering array of vodkas, rums and other liquors-of-the-moment lined up behind the servers. What I didn’t see was a single beer tap.
I tried to get the server’s attention, figuring I’d see what they had in bottles (I was hoping to score a Cigar City Jai-Alia IPA).
After waiting for a minute or two with the music pumping into my earholes, surrounded by all the young beautiful people pretending they could afford to be there, and watching the bartender grinding out what was probably the 100th Mojito of the night, I realized I didn’t belong there.
Now if this makes me sound old, in my defense I’ve always been old. I’ve never loved going to “da club” to have my head pounded in by thumping music while I gyrate awkwardly on the dance floor. All my best moves are with my mouth (as in conversation, you perverts) and it’s near impossible for a talker to charm a lady or make a new friend when you can’t even hear yourself think.
Like many beer geeks, I wanted the music quiet enough so I could talk to someone, down to earth folks chit-chatting around me, and a server who knows what kind of glassware to serve a coconut porter in, because they have one on tap, along with a dozen other interesting craft brews. This wasn’t my scene, and returned to my room to get some much-needed sleep.
Simply put, Miami Beach isn’t a good place for good beer. Last year’s conference was in San Diego, a beer geek’s paradise, and the year before it was New Orleans, where you can find some great little places with dozen of taps, even on bawdy Bourbon Street. Not so on South Beach.
Now before you go telling me about Abbey Brewing, or this really great beer bar down on Lincoln, understand that I was without a car and work-related activities kept me busy from 8am until 10pm every day I was there. I didn’t have a chance to explore the city, but of the four upscale restaurants and bars I did visit with my co-workers, I never saw a single beer tap.
Of course, me complaining about this is like me complaining that I went to Las Vegas and was surrounded by douchbags. It’s my fault for going into the thing with my expectations out of whack. If you don’t like douchebags, stay out of Vegas.
If you don’t like the club scene and the hooch that comes with it, stay out of Vice City.