Street Art in Wynwood Miami and Art Hotels

Posted on by Noah Lederman in Somewhere, United States | 1 Comment

Street Art in Wynwood Miami

A decade ago, Wynwood, Miami, was sixteen square blocks of gray walled factories. The neighborhood featured little more than the detritus of a city section ignored. But after famed street artists like Books Bischof and Shepard Fairey—lauded even in the mainstream for his iconic Barack Obama “Hope” poster—started spraying the neighborhood, art galleries, seeking to take advantage of the low rents, moved to town. Then, the late developer Tony Goldman bought property and handed over his walls to muralists, who, using the ephemera of graffiti, left an indelible mark on the neighborhood.

 

Today, Wynwood’s walls and Wynwood Walls—the more revered concrete canvases that are less likely to be painted over—feature art that ranges from the political to the poetic. Yet the murals, as a collective, have done the work of masterpieces: they have singlehandedly revived a once bleak neighborhood. Boutiques and galleries are now abundant, like Boho Hunter, which sells underrepresented Latin American designers, and Plant the Future, a nature-inspired design firm and purveyor of white statues—including Imperial Stormtroopers and angry gators—that double as cacti planters.

 

 

Star Wars is big in Wynwood. Huge murals are dedicated to battle scenes that reduced the droid C3PO to parts. A rainbow-tinted Yoda presides over one corner. And immediately after Carrie Fisher died, a Princess Leia tribute went up.

 

Just as abundant as Star-War- themed walls are craft breweries on 24th Street. Begin east with the J. Wakefield, a brewery that is about two things: beer and, as it happens, Star Wars. Inside are a half dozen painted odes to Jedis and Dark Siders drinking pints, along with twice as many great beers. Their sours and IPAs, which the other breweries also do well, are best. End the Wynwood beer tour on the western and quieter end of 24th , where the neighborhood’s first microbrewy, the Wynwood Brewing Company, pours pints.

 

 

But the largest of the neighborhood’s breweries is Concrete Beach. As the name implies, the brewery is a big concrete slab for imbibers to lounge around on. Beyond the murals, the brewery’s walls are works of art, too. The concrete crumbs—a result of the demolition work to build the brewery—have been restacked into walls and held in place with metal cages. The industrial feel extends to the games, too, like their huge, scrap-made versions of Jenga and Connect Four. Concrete Beach also hosts the best events of all the breweries, including a fortnightly pig roast, and, paradoxically, free yoga paired with four-dollar pints.

 

Street Art in Wynwood Miami

 

As much as artists can revitalize a neighborhood, it is often the chefs that sustain it.
Wynwood, today, is home to some of Miami’s best cuisine, including Alter and KYU. The former focuses on locally sourced and seasonal ingredients; the latter brings Japanese grilling techniques to their eclectic menu. For less formal dining, head to the Wynwood Yard—a massive gravel lot that is home to nearly a dozen food trucks, including Myumi, America’s first omakase sushi truck, and the Michelin-starred Ricardo Saenz’s latest ride, Kuenko, a fusion of Japanese and Spanish cuisines.

 

After dinner, head to the heart of Wynwood for its nightlife. Gramps, one of the elders of Wynwood, is an outdoor dive bar that dishes up “Hot slices, Cuban coffee, Bogus claims.” (They don’t serve Cuban coffee.) But they do host some of the best acts in town. Any one night can deliver the following: stand-up comedy shows, musical performances, and bingo hosted by a drag queen. The Wood Tavern also puts on events, and is the better choice for those who prefer craft beers. Coyo Taco, which serves inventive takes on this Mexican staple—try the octopus or duck tacos—has a hidden bar behind their shop. If you arrive early to the festivities, Panther Coffee, the small-batch roaster and specialty retailer of fine beans, is the best place to waste time. Their courtyard is perfect for watching the speedy evolution of night and neighborhood.

 

Street Art in Wynwood Miami

 

As Wynwood matures, the hotels will appear. But for now, it’s easier to stay nearby. More upscale than the edgier streets of Wynwood, but equally dedicated to the arts, is the Betsy Hotel. This South Beach luxury accommodation places poems on pillows and sets guests up with in-room libraries (that actually have worthy reads). This in-room, literary vibe extends out into the hotel, where salons—often presented by their writer-in-residence, or other revered authors—are run in intimate settings. The hotel triples as an impressive photo gallery, as portraits of celebrated poets, and hundreds of early-years’Rolling Stones and Beatles snapshots hang throughout. The Betsy also harks back to a Miami of yesteryears when it transforms into a jazz hideaway on Wednesdays and Thursdays, or a Yiddish salon on Sundays.

 

If an artsy party is more of an appeal—and proximity to the beach matters little—consider the Langford Hotel in Downtown Miami. There, the rooftop bar, Pawn Broker, buzzes above the building that was once an old bank. Pawn Broker’s bartenders pour creative cocktails. (Best are the gin drinks presented in miniature porcelain bathtubs.) And on the white-walled edifice across the way—a Wynwood dream—the hotel bar plays classic films, sans sound.

 

Whether it’s a stay in South Beach or Downtown, it’s just a quick, cheap ride to Wynwood—Uber Pool, for instance, costs a few cents more than public transport. And the neighborhood that was left the day before is likely a different place entirely upon return.

 

Eating Through Downtown Portland

Posted on by Noah Lederman in I Ate What? | 1 Comment

The Best Food in Downtown PortlandDowntown Portland is not Portlandia. It even seems to have ditched the adage “Keep Portland Weird,” unlike the odder Eastside of the city. But like most downtowns, a visit is necessary or inevitable, and still wholly worthwhile. The area is a strange mix of scrubbed modernity and human scrums. (I can’t even count how many literal piles of people I saw stacked up on the sidewalk. Addicts, I suppose. Or perhaps there is a pastime in Portland–People Piling?–that I’m unaware of.)

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Posted on by Noah Lederman in 37 Hours, Canada & The Caribbean, Somewhere | Leave a comment

37 Hours in Curacao
The island of Curacao sits outside of the hurricane belt and the tourist belt (as compared to Holland’s other Caribbean islands), though it’s got plenty to offer. While you could easily spend a lifetime there, here at Somewhere Or Bust, we give you at least 37 Hours to experience the best of Curacao, just in case there were any other publications out there brazen enough to recommend travelers to a destination for fewer hours than that. Without further ado, here are the best things to do on Curacao. Read more

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Posted on by Noah Lederman in Europe, Somewhere | 2 Comments

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Posted on by Noah Lederman in Baby Voyage | 2 Comments

Drinking Wine in Washington with KidsWine does not pair well with children. Most parents can’t stock their wine racks, as they stand dangerously at toddler height, and Mommy’s nighttime wine consumption is often less about pleasure than serving as a counterbalance against the daytime’s whine.

 

But Washington state, one of the world’s top wine destinations, with its nearly one thousand wineries, has a few that tipplers can tour with their toddlers. Most are found in Washington’s two great wine regions: Walla Walla in the east, and Woodinville, just a half hour from Seattle.

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