Surfside, a quiet stretch of ten blocks just below Bal Harbour, is known for it’s family-friendly atmosphere, a world away from the trendy bars of South Beach. But the 2014 opening of The Grand Beach Hotel and it’s “Sky Bar” at 94th and Collins Avenue has brought a bit of South Beach swank to it’s northern neighbors.
While the hotel opened in January 2014, the beautiful bar has been slow to build a local following, due in part to the time restrictions in place from the surrounding community – first having to close at 7pm, then at 9pm, and just recently extending to midnight. In contrast to the many crowded bars of Miami Beach, finding a seat at the Sky Bar on a Saturday night between 9pm and 12am is an easy feat, at least for the time being.
It’s easy to pick out the Grand Beach Hotel in Surfside, not to be confused with it’s sister establishment further South at 48th Street, due to its dozens of rootop palm trees visible from the street. Just looking up, you can tell there is something special upstairs. And the 12th floor rooftop doesn’t disappoint- offering panoramic views of the city and beaches, plenty of comfy couches, a gorgeous pool area, and a couple of friendly bartenders ready to pour you a delicious beverage.
While the Sky Bar does seem to be working out a few of their new-establishment kinks – a lack of cocktail menus, food arriving in room-service style plastic boxes, an absence of any music – the wonderful service, led by the very friendly bartender Kel, and beautiful scenery more than make up for it.
As the night progressed, locals and tourists alike we able to strike up some friendly conversations at the bar over tasty sliders and shrimp quesadillas. Close to midnight, the crowd ultimately split between those just kicking off their night before heading down to South Beach and those enjoying a relaxing nightcap. We closed out a fairly reasonable bill – $6 beers, $7 glasses of wine, and appetizers ranging from $10 – $15, waived goodbye to our new friends, and vowed to come back to the Sky Bar soon.