First came the residents. Then the restaurants. Now here come the watering holes.
Overlooked amidst the vertical rise of Downtown are the restaurants and bars at street-level catering to a fast-growing daytime population of more than 92,000 residents. It wasn’t long ago that Downtowners had to trek to Miami Beach or Wynwood to get their kicks after dark, but the past year has seen a flurry of cocktail bars open their doors as a new crop of entrepreneurs cater to Downtown’s fast-growing population.
When most people think of going out in Miami they envision the flashy, neon sign covered bars like Mangos and Wet Willie’s on Ocean Drive, but now Downtown has staked its claim as one of the City’s most respectable dining hot spots and nightlife destinations. And the best part? You don’t have to worry about a designated driver. In fact, you can ditch the car altogether. Hop on the free, air-conditioned Metromover or one of many city trolleys and you can explore all around the urban core from Brickell to the heart of downtown Miami.
From a denim shop-turned-lounge in Lost Boy that serves up stiff cocktails, to a neighborhood ‘oasis’ with craft cocktails featuring made-to-order ingredients in Jaguar Sun, and an 80s inspired bar paying homage to Miami sports legends in Black Market, it’s easy to understand why downtown is the new frontier of Miami’s bar scene.
Once the center of Miami life, Flagler Street was lined with cinemas, restaurants, and high-end stores. Today, the urban core’s historic street is seeing a significant revitalization that continues to drive retailers and young people back, making it a perfect home for up-and-coming businesses like Lost Boy.
To get a better idea of what it’s like to run a trending bar in Downtown Miami, we caught up with Lost Boy co-owner Randy Alonso.
Lost Boy started as a denim boutique before pivoting to a bar. What motivated the change?
My family was in retail for many decades in Downtown Miami but as we pivoted the family business away from the globally-changing clothing industry, I thought our denim boutique was a perfect setting for a neighborhood bar. So I brought in a partner who has been in the beverage industry his entire life, Chris Hudnall, and we reinvented Lost Boy.
We’ve seen a sudden uptick in the number of bars and lounges in Downtown over the past year or so. Why now?
The sudden uptick is partially cyclical but it is also a sign that businesses are finally comfortable investing in Downtown. There are more residents than ever as potential customers and the perception of nothing to do in the area is slowly fading away with each success that is opened.