March 2003 – South Beach, Miami, Florida Travel Guide
When we last left our gunslinger, he was just being deported from Costa Rica…
I came rifling into Miami International Airport with $250 in my pocket and the clothes on my back. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. But, I managed. Mostly I managed by living on the beach, getting a job, and winning about $1500 at the craps table on The Casino Majesty (a casino boat that goes three miles offshore so that gambling is legal.) That was February and March 2002.
As I have said before, things are always more expensive when you don’t know what is going on. I bore the brunt of the cost and now you get to receive the benefits. Just as in Costa Rica, I am here to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, as NWA raps: "so help yo’ black ass."
In the interest of time â€“ since coming back to The States, I have amassed a great deal of freelance writing work, and so, I am busy â€“ I will cut to the chase.
Places to stay â€“ Unless you have a bunch of bucks, then you might want to consider The Creek. It is sort of a hostel, at about $150 per week in the season (December-April). It isn’t a bad deal. It reminds me of The Hotel Gran Imperial in San Jose, Costa Rica, except, it is, of course, a lot nicer. They have a bar and internet access, etc.
There are two other hostels in the South Beach area, on EspaÃ±ola Way and Washington Avenue, and 9th Street and Washington Avenue. Both of these are a little more expensive than The Creek, but they are also in the center of the main area of South Beach. The Creek is on about 23rd and Collins Avenue.
There are three main streets in SoBe: Collins Avenue, Washington Avenue, and Alton Road. The thing about Miami and South Beach, in particular, is that it has such a heavily Latino feel that things can be as cheap or as expensive as you want them to be. There are other hotels, without the traveler flair, that run in the same price range as The Creek, or sometimes cheaper.
Places to eat â€“ At any of the Spanish markets, you can get beans and rice with chicken or meat for about $1.25. It is a sufficient amount for a man of my stature. But, the real kicker at these places is that you can get a can of 16oz. Natural Ice beer for 60 cents. (Note: As of today â€“ February 14, 2003 â€“ the cheapest beer on the beach is 65 cents. The price was raised in a fit of greed.) You can’t beat that for starting your night to getting full-scale weird. A breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast and coffee will cost about $3. Also, you can get sushi at a place like Hiro’s for about $6. Of course, there are other, more expensive places, but Hiro’s is the cheapest. It’s not bad.
One of my favorite places to have a bite and start getting "straightened out," is La Parrilla Liberty, Argentine Steakhouse. I like it because it is "off to the side." If you don’t know where it is, then you can’t find it and that keeps the majority of the traveling morons that we all have to deal with, out of the place. My favorite dish is the choripan â€“ a sausage on toasted French bread and an Italian dressing sort of glaze with fries â€“ $3. Can’t beat that. The beer isn’t that expensive either.
Clubs â€“ If you want to deal with the places like LEVEL, crobar, or Liquid, then go right on. Just know that you will pay $20 at the door, plus about $8 per drink. I am too old for the club scene (at 29, no doubt) so I don’t get involved with that sort of thing unless I need to bed some chick and that’s what she’s into. And, if you are ripping down Washington Avenue at 3am on a Saturday night, then you will definitely feel like you are in the middle of the action.
Bars â€“ I have three recommendations. For you pansies that need Harp (I drink Harp at times) or must have Bass, or a Black and Tan, then The Irish Playwright is your one-stop shopping center on Washington and 13th Street. The interior is from a church in Ireland and all of the bartenders (save a couple) are Irish. I generally only go in there when OTHER people are buying.
The next place that I would recommend for you micro brew types is The Abbey, just off of Alton Road and 15th Street. They have quite a selection and the place is quaint. And, I think that, by now, we all know that I am all about quaint. Both of these places are a little pricey.
BUT IF YOU’RE A DRINKING MAN, like me, then the ONLY place to go is Mac’s Club Deuce between Washington and Collins at 14th Street. Happy hour is from 8am-7pm and Bob, the bartender, will not look at you funny when you are banging on the door at 7:59am, clamoring for a beer. I speak from experience. And, you people can even get your Bass, etc., there. But, for all of you Bud men â€“ it’s $4, 2-fer-1 during the "Happy Hours." Rejoice.
And last, but not least â€“ since I have gotten about ONE MILLION EMAILS on this subject in regard to Costa Rica:
Hookers â€“ Work the area on Collins Avenue between 14th Street and Lincoln Road; or call an escort service. It’s all there for the taking. Prices are between $50-$500 an hour, depending. I say this because three hundred of you will email me asking. Those are just the facts, ladies.
Speaking of hookers, my next article for Miami New Times (alternative weekly here) is on prostitution on South Beach. I must wrap this up because I have to go bail out my "main subject." She got picked for about $9000 worth of possession and solicitation charges. So, remember, boys, prostitution IS illegal in the United States of America, with the exception of some parts of Nevada.
If you want more information about this area you can email the author or check out our North America Insiders page.