It’s that time of year again, when the near-entirety of the dance music world heads southward for Miami Music Week. As far as clubbing is concerned, March has been Miami’s month for more than 30 years — since Winter Music Conference was first held in the city in 1986, artists and club fiends have traveled from around the world to envelop the Magic City in beats, funky-ass bass lines and pure, uncut musical madness.
There was a period at the height of EDMania when Miami occupied the popular consciousness near-solely as the home of Ultra Music Festival (or rather, ULTRAAAAAAA). But as the world mercifully inches towards the end of the 2010s, so too is Miami’s identity — musical and otherwise — moving away from being chiefly associated with tree-groping ravers: as a sunny place for shady people, there’s always something new and bizarre to find beneath Miami’s palm trees and shimmering skyscrapers.
Should you find yourself in the hysteria of Miami Music Week, here’s Mixmag’s guide for spending time in the Magic City:
All Gone Pete Tong Pool Party
Held at the Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel on Miami Beach, the All Gone Pete Tong Pool Party has become a Miami Music Week staple for good reason. The event has repeatedly hosted unexpected and can’t be missed b2bs such as last year’s debut of Black Honey (the name used when The Black Madonna and Honey Dijon simultaneously spin) on the decks. This year’s highlights include Axel Boman mixing alongside Krystal Klear as well as Carl Craig b2b La Fleur; it’s impossible to go wrong with All Gone Pete Tong.
Anything at Electric Pickle
News of the Electric Pickle’s forthcoming closure sent reverberations through the dance music world — the tiny room that could has been the site of many a legendary Miami night for 10 years. Although the venue is shutting its doors for the last time in June, it’s not going out without a bang. The club’s Miami Music Week offerings include visits from Felix da Housecat and Byron the Aquarius courtesy of Soul Clap’s House of EFunk party as well as an all night set from none other than musical madman DJ Harvey.
Visitors seeking an authentic Miami musical flavor should look no further than Lucid. The brainchild of several local labels and collectives, the pajama party will be soundtracked by some of Miami’s best and brightest DJs. Be sure to catch Space Tapes labelhead and GAIKA collaborator Nick León tag-teaming with Nicholas G. Padilla and the "DELIRII11UM STAGE" hosted by beloved queer collective Internet Friends.
Sunrise at Club Space
Any clubrat worth their weight in stimulants remembers their first sunrise at Miami’s Club Space (No, not the other one.) The sensation of watching the venue grow brighter and brighter as night gives way to morning is essential to the Miami musical experience. Whether it’s Miami native Danny Daze’s Omnidisc night or the Martinez Brothers’ requisite 24-hour Miami Music Week closing party, clubgoers can pick at random and be ensured a good time at Club Space.
Virtual Self with Boys Noize
If you’re the type of person who enjoys having their eyes and ears attacked without remorse, there’s only one clear choice for the Saturday of Miami Music Week: between the blinding lasers, anime-inspired visuals and intense song selection, a Virtual Self set is nothing less than an assault on the senses. Sweetening the deal is Boys Noize, who will also be found collaborating with Skrillex as Dog Blood at Ultra as well as Brownies and Lemonade’s Miami Music Week party. It’s the guys who made 'Worlds' and 'Oi Oi Oi' — what do you need, a map?
The Lab Miami
The Mixmag guide wouldn't be complete without a nod to the return of The Lab Miami. This year, the party heads to the Faena rooftop with a powerful line-up made up of ANNA and DJ Pierre, plus an opening set from local favorite Jonny from Space. The Wednesday event is free with an RSVP, so submit yours here.
The Mid-Rave Meals
With locations in Miami’s Wynwood and Brickell neighborhoods, Coyo Taco is the city’s safest bet for delicious Mexican food. Its Wynwood restaurant also boasts an intimate backroom bar and dance floor. In 2018 Amtrac’s record label OPENERS hosted a party featuring Durante and Justin Jay in the not not-so hidden space. It shaped up to be one of the best events of Miami Music Week 2018, so keep your eyes peeled.
Named for its location at the intersection of North Miami Avenue and NW 11th Street, The Corner delicately toes the line between classy affair and shady dive bar. It’s conveniently located next to Club Space, making it the perfect place to tie one on before venturing into the madhouse. In addition, The Corner’s food selections can be best described as traditional bar fare done better; not only are its sandwiches affordably priced, they’re tastier than it has any right to be. Make sure you’ll be able to get reentry with Club Space’s bouncers if you’re stumbling out for a midnight snack.
La Sandwicherie is only a hop and skip away from Mac’s Club Deuce, the most legendary bar on Miami Beach. It’s open until 5am, its French cuisine-derived sandwiches won’t put a dent in your wallet, and it’s appetizing as hell; need we say more?
Technique Records has become a cornerstone of Miami’s musical community since its opening in January 2018. Local DJs can frequently found spinning inside, and it’s even hosted the likes of Charli XCX and Kamaal Williams for meet and greets. But most importantly, Technique features a formidable selection of dance records from across the musical spectrum.
Terrestrial Funk Mobile Record Store
On Tuesday, March 26, Miami DJ and dance floor fixture Brother Dan will be bringing his mobile record store to Gramps for a special Miami Music Week edition of his weekly Terrestrial Funk party. Be on the lookout for a conspicuous 1977 Toyota Chinook.
If you’ve found the mural depicting Aphex Twin, Daft Punk, one half of Gorillaz and other musical greats, you’ve found Sweat Records. Owned and co-founded by Miami native and music scene veteran Lauren “Lolo” Reskin, Sweat provides tea and coffee to give the record shopping experience a kick.
Miami By Day
Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami
Nestled away in Miami’s bustling Design Design District, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami has an array of sights to see. Best of all, the admission is free! Be sure to check out the exhibit showcasing works by esteemed feminist artist Judy Chicago.
The Vagabond Pool Bar
The Vagabond Pool Bar and Hotel is one of Miami’s best kept secrets. Tucked alongside the historic Biscayne Boulevard, it offers the authentic Miami poolside experience without any of the hassle or traffic headaches that come with staying on Miami Beach. Best of all, its outdoor bar and pool are open to the public. If you’re looking for a quiet spot to nurse your hangover (or indulge in a little hair of the dog) you could do far worse than the Vagabond.
Despite the promising name and its proximity to Club Space, All Day is sadly not open 24-7. If you’re looking to replenish your body immediately after running it through the ringer at Space, stumble on over to All Day for a cold brew and delicious Frisée Au Lardon salad.
Luckily for caffeine fiends, Panther Coffee has locations all around the city. The beloved coffee roaster has made sure Miamians will never be far from their fix ever again.
The Unavoidable Walk of Shame
Jimmy's Eastside Diner
Stepping into Jimmy’s Eastside Diner feels like entering the fossilized remains of an America long since gone. It’s as greasy a spoon as they come, where every waitress calls you “hun” or “darlin’” and the eats are as cheap as they are hearty. A pivotal scene in the Academy Award-winning movie Moonlight was shot at Jimmy’s; its movie poster behind the front counter is one of the only details that doesn’t seem ripped straight from the 1960s.
Lemoni Cafe’s tranquil atmosphere is as far removed from the madness of Miami Music Week as it gets. Sitting at the border of Miami’s Buena Vista neighborhood and the Design District, the eatery offers a variety of vegan and vegetarian options to choose from. Keep Lemoni in mind if you’re trying to counter your hangover with a health-conscious brunch.
Zach Schlein is a freelance writer based in Miami. Find more of his work here
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