Bleau Bar, the trendy lobby bar at Miami Beach’s renowned Fontainebleau hotel makes me think of Woody Allen’s 2000 movie Small Time Crooks. In the movie, a group of knuckle-headed bandits rent a storefront in order to tunnel a passageway into a nearby bank. To avoid suspicion, the wives of two of the bandits open a bakery selling cookies. The bandits screw up everything possible but the cookie sales unexpectedly become a massive sensation, sending them to easy street—albeit for a short time.
When it first opened back in 2010 (amidst their massive renovation) Fontainebleau probably expected more fanfare for their new, ultra-chic, ultra-exclusive nightclub LIV than their lobby bar. In fairness, Bleau Bar is no ordinary lobby bar and Fontainebleau is no ordinary hotel. But it’s a breath of fresh air that this famous Miami hotel with its billion-dollar renovation is garnering more attention for its lobby bar than perhaps any of its highfaluting restaurants and clubs. Perhaps the recession has knocked some sense into the public, because Bleau Bar has received rave reviews and you don’t need a reservation.
The scene threads the needle between mellow and upbeat with rhythmic music at a comfortable decibel that may provoke dancing at later hours. The décor is more Vegas—Ghost Bar comes to mind—than New York, with contemporary furniture and an inviting airiness that is both soothing and practical. The room has a futuristic feel with its lighted floor and swiveling, teacup chairs. The floor-to-ceiling windows enhance the sense of space further with views of the pool and the famed “Staircase to Nowhere” where celebs and others can be spotted. The bar itself is a spectacle in its own right with a cylindrical column as a centerpiece that displays liquor in blue neon light—and looks like it could beam the bartenders up to the next floor if things ever got rowdy. The only complaint might be the cost of drinks but the well-trained bartenders concoct some of the best cocktails in Miami.
If you’re planning to hit LIV or dine at one of the hotel’s restaurants, stop by Bleau Bar first for a drink with your friends. And let the comparisons begin.
Fontainebleau Miami Beach
4441 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, F.L. 33140