Dragon Lounge—A Miami Vice Without the Price

Miami has recently earned an interesting yet somewhat unwelcome accolade: it now holds the distinction of having the highest inflation rate in the entire country. While the likes of New York or Los Angeles might appear as more probable candidates for such a title, the rampant inflation in Miami shouldn’t come as a shock.

This surge in inflation can be attributed to a confluence of recent trends such as the pent-up demand for travel and the rise of the “work from anywhere” culture. When coupled with longer-term trends like the substantial migration towards southern regions, the outcome is hardly surprising—a larger population vying for a limited supply of goods.

However, amidst the wave of escalating costs, it’s heartening to note that not every aspect of Miami living will dent your wallet by an exorbitant 25-50%. The key lies in knowing where to direct your attention, as hidden gems of affordability still exist, often right in plain view.

Nestled within the upscale confines of the SLS Hotel, the renowned Japanese restaurant, Katsuya, boasts a reputation for serving some of the most exquisite sushi and Japanese cuisine in Miami Beach. While this popular establishment—with additional branches in Los Angeles and New York—may not immediately strike one as a budget-friendly option, there’s a clever secret waiting to be unearthed, quite literally.


dishes of food on table
Assortment of dishes at Katsuya


Ascending to the second level of Katsuya reveals the enchanting Dragon Lounge, home to a happy hour deal that’s truly hard to rival. Every Monday through Friday, from 6 to 8 pm, an opportunity presents itself to satisfy both appetite and thirst with an array of top-tier sushi, delectable small bites, and a spectrum of beverages.


The offerings include an array of classic and contemporary cocktails, an assortment of beers and wines, and of course, world-class sushi, all of which can be relished within a chic ambiance adorned with murals crafted by local Miami artists.


mural of japanese girl
Mural by local artist displayed in Draon Lounge


The undeniable highlight of this experience lies in the affordability factor. With sushi rolls priced at a mere $8 and an array of other delicious culinary delights available at decidedly reasonable rates, this concealed corner within Katsuya stands as an oasis of affordability in the midst of an inflationary desert. In your quest for value, the Dragon Lounge undoubtedly emerges as a destination well worth exploring.


Currently on the Dragon Lounge happy hour menu:


Salmon Lemon Roll Scallion—scallion, asparagus, salmon, masago ($8)


salmon sushi roll on plate
Salmon Lemon Roll Scallion


Spicy Tuna Roll—tuna, cucumber, scallion, masago ($8)


Katsuya Veggie Roll— avocado, asparagus, cucumber, tofu, ponzu sauce ($8)


Asparagus Fries— tofu, yuzu aioli, sesame, furikake, togarashi ($8)


Truffle Fatty Tuna and Spicy Salmon Crispy Rice— Nikiri soy, shaved truffle, furikake spicy mayo ($19)


Sushi on rice
Truffle Fatty Tuna and Spicey Salmom Crispy Rice


Short Rib Fried Rice— jidori egg, leeks, mixed veggies, cilantro ($18)


Crispy Brussel Sprouts—balsamic tsume, toasted almonds, scallions, sriracha, toasted coconut shaving ($8)


Short Rib Bao Bun—steamed bum, ponzu mayo, BBQ sauce, black sesame ($11)