Mac's Club Deuce Neon dream

Welcome to the Deuce. See the horshoe shaped bar to your right? It’s the perfect spot to sit and have a cheap beer. Did you notice all of the neon? This place is rough around the edges but really smooth in a grimy kind of way.

Wanna play pool? The table is open and the jukebox stays classic. Who is that guy in the corner of the bar? He looks like Keith Richards!! But his accent is fake and his nose is too big. Let’s just hang out and kick a few back, maybe chat up some people that remember what the beach used to be like.

Locust Projects A plague upon your gallery

Unsure as to the distinction between a gallery and a project space? In a nutshell: Galleries try and sell what they show, project spaces are in it solely for art. Not-for-profit Locust is of the latter ilk, and is all about power to the people. And free entry.

By their own admission they’re dedicated to (proceed with caution, abstract buzzphrase alert) ‘providing contemporary visual artists’ with ‘the freedom to experiment with new ideas’. Translation: They’re giving young artistic guns the chance to throw some crazier-than-usual shit at the walls and see what sticks. The results, while occasionally bemusing, tend to be pretty exciting.

Past throwers have included LA-based Karl Haendel, who created a cacophony of flitting city structures on the walls with automatically advancing slide projectors, and Jillian Mayer, who set up playpark swings in front of a giant cinematic projection. If you’re game for a visit, try and rock up on an exhibition opening night — the drinks flow, there’s live music, and plenty of peacocking more-cultured-than-thou types to poke fun at.

James Royal Palm Custom-fit for a king

Restoration is a tricky process, especially for big hotels. Blending aging styles with new designs and balancing old touches with modern functionality on such a large scale takes taste, vision and a razor-sharp attention to detail. Kudos, then, to The Royal James Palm in Miami, who commandeered three Art-Deco towers looming large over an acre stretch of South Beach and—with a little help from architectural masterminds Rottet Studio and an eye-watering $42 million—transformed them into a 393-room paragon of oceanside comfort and design.

Once you’re in, the slick custom-made touches come thick and fast—with an interactive ‘Art Game’ table that gives guests visual tips on what to do during their stay. And when you’ve finished fiddling you can start to digest the rest: Unique furniture produced especially for the hotel, artworks from notable talents such as Alex Prager, Charles Arnoldi and Michael Dweck, a brain-bending wood-panelled patio area and cavernous industrio-chic restaurant-bar. The rooms, like everything else, are a bespoke touch of class too—crisp, comfortable, white and spacious with panoramic views out over the beach and turquoise seas beyond.

Swine Southern Table & Bar Run pig run featured

One bad behemoth of a barnhouse BBQ joint, Swine Southern Table & Bar is Miami’s master of roasting all things porcine. And they take their grillin’ very seriously, kitting out their kitchen with a giant J&R smoker and a crank-raised, wood-burning grill that munches through 140 logs per service. The rustic rotisserie vibe drifts into the dining room with much of the reconstructed barn’s open-brickwork and wooden boarding remaining, and all the logs that haven’t been fed to the grill fires flavoring the decor further—all presided over by the Swine’s bulb-lit unofficial adage, ‘run pig run’. And run it should unless it wants to end up on the menu as blackened BBQ ribs, pork porterhouse or crispy souse terrine, served alongside russet potato wedges that are worth a trip out for alone. There’s an impressive selection of hard-to-find bourbons on the spirit shelves as well—because as the folks at the Swine say, ‘what bacon and whiskey don’t cure, there ain’t no cure for’. Amen.

The Freehand Oxymoronic brilliance featured

Boasting the title of the first high-end hostel (no longer an oxymoron) in the USA, The Freehand isn’t so much raising the bar for hostels as it is taking that bar, training it to be an astronaut and firing it into space – lock, stock and bleedin’ barrel. Located inside the classic Art Deco India Creek hotel building and with interiors designed by Roman & Williams, this premium grade hostel hybrid has got all bases covered: handcrafted interiors, swimming pool, jungle courtyard, bocce courts, bike rental—the list is endless. They’ve even got themselves a perma-pop-up cocktail lounge, The Broken Shaker, which uses fresh ingredients from the on-site garden, and has rapidly earned a rep for being one of the best beverage-suppin’ spots in the city.

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