A handful of my friends are in Miami right now. There is a yearly Bacchanalian "music conference" in which there are many parties, all day and night for a week straight. Miami is a great place for it and has very little use otherwise. Fifty-One weeks out of the year it is the most mind-numbingly boring place on earth, and this week is for strictly pro mind-numbing. South Beach mainly attracts the illiterate wealthy. Up until a few years ago it had no book stores at all. I know, I once needed one. You can tell a thing about a place by the amount and quality of books stores that can be found there. By that single standard Miami has rendered itself nearly meaningless. Though this alone makes it a great place to have a music conference. Selah!
There is a dive bar on South Beach that becomes a frequent watering hole for conference attendees. It serves as a home-base for many, almost as a hotel for others. I have witnessed more than a few heartaches there, with a front row seat, even my own. The bar is arranged in an amorphous circle that consumes about 2/3rds of the inside space. It is very easy to interact, or watch, and nearly impossible to hide. The rest is just booths and a pool table, a charming jukebox and some less than charming bathrooms. I miss this bar more than just about anything else at the conference. I pine for it, truly. Sure, there are parties on the roof of the Sony building, pool parties, and restaurants galore, but this little throwback from the 30's is solitary consolation that the world is an older and better place than some will ever know.
It is both noir and pulp. The right place to have fun finding trouble. A place designed to celebrate deficiencies in character. Moral ambiguity being the standard and currency. There is no legal limit here, only loosely enforced guidelines. The best sandwich shop on the beach is located conveniently across the street, if you can brave direct sunlight for a few minutes, to bring some sustenance back to the liquor cave where it might be safe.
Once inside it is difficult to believe that the exterior is getting any direct sunlight. It feels as if it is lit by shadows and neon, like the memory of a fetish. The bar is never quite dirty, though it seems to have not been cleaned in decades. It's not sticky, even though it looks as if it should be. There is no sleeping allowed, not even for a minute. This bar is impervious to insult. Its standards have slid so low as to make snark meaningless.
I don't think I've ever even seen somebody drink a beer in there. Maybe once or twice, if they needed to sober up for some unspoken reason.
I once saw a girl use an online arrest pic as photo ID, a victory for smart-phones.
Well, perhaps I have described it too crudely, though somehow not enough.