A jetset lifestyle doesn’t have to be all private planes and decadent digs. In Paste Travel’s Jet-Set Bohemian series, we blend the best of high and low for just the right balance … enticing everyone from backpackers to luxury boutique hotel lovers to come along for the ride.
When it comes to the point in the evening when I’m ready for a nightcap (or two), I don’t even glance at the menu. It typically comes down to two options: Bourbon or beer. Of course friends (or bartenders) can guide my choices in better directions, going for craft brews or cocktails, something much appreciated earlier on in the night but becomes less of a concern as dancing and more drinking ensue.
On the walk home to a friend’s place in Bushwick, Brooklyn, the other evening, she pointed out the new neighborhood go-to spot: Father Knows Best with its movie theater-style street sign proclaiming “Productivity in the am, promiscuity in the pm.” The Wilson Ave. bar is everything Brooklynites in Bushwick have been hoping for: café by day, bar by night with yoga classes hosted on the patio and, of course, cold-pressed juices—a New York staple.
As I shimmied up to the bar and glanced over at the fridge filled with Summers’ freshly bottled juices from Williamsburg, neatly stacked by color and filled with the latest good-for-you spices and shots (which range from bee pollen and turmeric to spinach and spirulina), I decided maybe this was the route that was best to end the night on. Until the bearded bartender asked, “What type of liquor do you want splashed in?”
The question wasn’t so surprising; with craft cocktails becoming de rigueur everywhere from dive bars to more upscale joints across the country, it was only a matter of time before the raw and cold-pressed juice craze made the crossover into cocktail culture. As cities like Miami in particular went away from trendy apothecary-inspired elixirs and classic cocktail speakeasy-style sips, bars turned the farm-to-table concept on its head making this health-conscious and local approach apply to more than just cuisine.
Photo courtesy of Blackbird Ordinary
Over the past five years, Brickell’s Blackbird Ordinary has offered up a reason for the city’s hipster set to venture out of South Beach and Wynwood and into Miami’s business hub thanks to the late-night spot’s vertical garden on the patio. One of the first bars in the city to weave the urban garden element into its cocktail program, the 400-square-foot wall changes with the season so herbs and fruits from spearmint to strawberries are as fresh—and local—as you can get.
Bands and DJs perform on the al fresco stage as bartenders blend ingredients picked that day and bottled in Mason jars, selecting each leaf with the same concentration and precision of a surgeon careful not to hit an artery. Libations like London Sparrow, crafted with Nolet’s Gin, passion fruit, lemon juice and a dash of cayenne, aren’t too far from the elixir I make at home each morning, while others, like the Brazilian Magpie, a mix of cachaça, roasted red peppers and lemon, sound almost like they could double as a vegetable starter in almost any restaurant in town.
Leave it to the geniuses behind Bar Lab, meanwhile, to make Freehand Miami’s latest bar program at 27 even better than the award-winning, free-standing Broken Shaker just across the courtyard pool. Known for weaving in ingredients from the hostel’s onsite garden, the multi-level 27 set in a historic Florida home takes things even further with its three-step bartender’s choice option. Choose your booze then have a Bond moment—shaken or stirred?—before deciding on a three-flavor profile for your custom-crafted cocktail, opting for something more on the herbal and green scale of things or perhaps going for a drink that’s tall, elegant and throws in a twist at the end with a hint of spice. Of course the seasonally rotating cocktail menu is also heavy on the fruit factor, incorporating Florida and internationally inspired flavors in drinks like Across the Causeway (tequila, Italian Strega liquor, Mexican peppers, pressed carrot and local lime) and #B*tch Better Have My Money, which fuses Absolut vodka and Aperol with strawberries, Florida citrus, house-made cinnamon reduction and local opal basil.
Photo courtesy of Adrian Mueller
This spring, Connecticut-born raw food pioneer Matthew Kenney opened up a second outpost of his Venice, Calif. Plant Food + Wine in Miami’s Sacred Space on one of Wynwood’s less gentrified strips. Even the eatery here looks quite California—slick tables and bright lighting that make for a bistro setting day or night—and the plant-based cuisine matches perfectly. The majority of the vegan menu is raw, including the cashew- and macadamia-based truffle cheese and coconut ceviche tacos with sunflower “chorizo.” Not only are the sprouted and smoked seeds on the menu organic, so are the cocktails, with a selection of biodynamic wine, beer and liquor that even crosses over to vegan realm. Wines veer on the international side (Le Figuier rosé from Provence and Montes Sauvignon Blanc from Chile) while beers tend to be South Florida brews from Wynwood and Jupiter. The real winners on the menu here though are the cocktails, as the plant-based philosophy throws in a boozy touch.
Cozy up in a table outside by the palm-encased serenity pool and start with a cocktail that comes with a kick like La Complicada, which mixes mezcal and bourbon with papaya juice, agave, lemon and cayenne, for the closest thing to a cleanse you’ll come to that evening.
Lane Nieset is Paste’s Jet-Set Bohemian columnist and a freelance writer covering all things travel from her home base in Nice, France.