Contributing editor Alyssa Shelasky finds out where best to eat, drink, and show off that post-workout body in south Florida.
BAL HARBOUR, Florida – There I was, knee deep in guava smoothies and chicken sausage at the St. Regis Bal Harbour breakfast bar, scarfing food in a sports bra. I was famished from Tracie Vlaun's morning Aeroga class, where we did planks, push-ups, and power-dancing, barefoot on the beach, while belting out Pink and Phil Phillips, feeling hyper-present and empowered. Tracie, and her business-partner-slash-hot-husband, Chris, have all the soulfulness that I thought south Florida lacked. Now, they run a proper Wellness Program at the sublime St. Regis Hotel, which is why I came down in the first place. (Fitness freaks, get there, and fast.) But since I was already in Bal Harbour, where glamazons gather to splurge, spa, and mostly shop, I decided to explore the area outside the opulent mall. Here are ten more terrific finds beyond the bling.
6752 Collins Ave., North Beach; +1-305-865-1752
A dive bar with sand on the ground, where the owner offers free food during happy hour.
Lou's Beer Garden
7337 Harding Ave., North Beach; +1-305-704-7879
A beer garden where you can blow a ram's horn every time you take a shot.
St. Regis Bal Harbour Bar
9703 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour; +1-305-993-3300
For a theatrical, nightly champagne sabering ceremony. (And free flutes of fizzy!)
9703 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour; +1-305-993-3333
For the best sweet and salty ice cream sundae ever imaginable.
6934 Collins Ave., North Beach; +1-305-865-5665
For fresh, superb seafood caught that morning.
3881 NE 163 St., North Miami; +1-305-947-0064
For late-night sushi with industry guys like J&G Grill's outstanding chef de cuisine, Richard Gras.
2920 SW 30 Ave., Hallandale;+1-954-455-8318
For an even-later-night strip club situation where such industry folk may or may not be found.
10800 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour; +1-305-947-3525
And speaking of, a nude beach.
Oleta River State Park
3400 NE 163 St., North Miami; +1-305-919-1844
For a cool state park where you can rent kayaks, bring coolers, and get crunk.
The Ancient Spanish Monastery
16711 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami; +1-305-945-1461
For seriously mystical, non-Miami-like, meditation and redemption.
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Inset Photos, from top: Photo courtesy of Lou's Beer Garden; photo courtesy of J&G Grill; photo courtesy of Scarlett's Cabaret