Thursday, July 20, 2017

A #ThankYouMiami Ode To Sunset Harbour


It's been almost three years since we've published a neighborhood feature so it was only right that I break the dry spell by writing an ode about one of my favorite Miami neighborhoods: Sunset Harbour. After all, the neighborhood is undergoing a renaissance. I know it's been up-and-coming for quite some time, but it seems like a thousand new and amazing places opened in the last few weeks or are expected to grace us this fall. Alas, there is no better time than now to revel in all of its glory.

While most stories end at Purdy Lounge, my love story with Sunset Harbour starts with Purdy Lounge—six or seven years ago to be exact when I joined my friend Brook there for a girls night out. That night was my introduction not only to the area, but to the crowded, smoky glory of the late night Purdy Lounge scene. It felt like a right of passage, like I finally became a true Miami-an because I'd experienced Purdy after-hours.

The next time I remember going back was to exercise, at either Green Monkey or Flywheel or both. (I went through a period of being heavily devoted to boutique gyms, particularly after Classpass launched in Miami circa 2014.) For a while that's what the neighborhood became: a workout destination. I feel like the residents started wearing nothing but athleisure to fit in with the rest of us visitors. My friend Betsy and I would discuss them and their seemingly illustrious lives ad nauseum when we stopped by Jugofresh to get our daily Saca Lo shots or by Panther Coffee to over-caffeinate with that jet fuel-style cold brew.

A blurry capture from 2014 of a Green Monkey yoga class.
My Panther Coffee morning routine which still continues, although almond milk lattes have long been replaced by macadamia nut milk lattes and nitro cold brew.
Betsy and I during a JugoFresh new product launch event.
Amidst the Sunset Harbour workout frenzy, indulgent food options like Pubbelly, Lucali and Ice Box settled in. Early morning workouts became a daily struggle when a fog of freshly baked True Loaf morning buns became an obstacle between street parking and my favorite exercise studios. Nevertheless, these restaurants paved the way for some of my go-to dining spots like more recent arrivals NaiYaRa and this season's healthier newcomers: vegetarian sensation Soul Tavern (which has an amazing and zen terrace perfect for sunset cocktails) and the most recent DIRT and Dr. Smood outposts.

These days the Sunset Harbour transformation only seems to be picking up speed. In fact, most of my best friends have moved to the area, including Roy (whose stunning condo on Purdy Ave was the setting of this year's Super Bowl party and National Wine Day blind wine tasting) and Betsy (who really lives in Belle Isle but insists the neighborhood includes Belle Isle and West Avenue and, really, who am I to argue?). Now that I'm a West Avenue resident, I run my errands here, have traded in sunrises at South Pointe Park for sunsets at Maurice Gibb Park, and have made Mexican dive bar El Grito my very own version of Cheers. And, well, to come full circle Purdy Lounge is sporting an updated, more put-together look worthy of building another 17 years worth of Sunset Harbour memories.

The stunning Maurice Gibb Park sunsets.
My neighborhood bar, El Grito.
The recently unveiled upgraded, retro look of Purdy Lounge.

What do you like most about Sunset Harbour? What are your favorite places to visit there? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet @ThankYouMiami! Are you an expert on your neighborhood? Share with Miami what makes your neighborhood distictively different in an upcoming segment of the series. All you have to do is email info [at] thankyoumiami [dot] com.
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