Food & Events
Emi Guerra speaks Miami nightlife. We will introduce you to Cecconi's new summer menu. Checkout our list of the "Best Coffee" on the beach. Meet the People behind Miami Beach Pride 2021
Miami Beach Pride 2021 is back
Meet the team behind the scenes
According to The Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures, “The first organized gay pride week was celebrated in Miami Beach in early 1972 with a march on Lincoln Road protesting a city law banning cross-dressing.” Gay Pride has become an international celebration of gay cultures and Pride Festivals around the world boasting rosters of star-studded events, performances, and parades. LGBT+ travelers often choose to visit cities during Pride celebrations to bond with like-minded people. COVID
has affected the world and Gay Pride celebrations have been canceled or postponed in cities around the globe.
This year, Miami Beach Pride returns with an impressive roster of events making it one of the most diverse and colorful Pride celebrations in the world. After last year's cancellation due to COVID-19, this year's party, usually set in April, will take place on the weekend of September 18-19 with events starting on September 10. The Sunday parade running along the iconic Ocean Drive returns along with a COVID compliant festival located on the sands of Lummus Park. Miami Beach became a gay mecca in the '80s and '90s but it wasn't until April 2009 that a city-sanctioned Gay Pride Parade was organized. Miami Beach Gay Pride Festival first event only attracted a crowd of 15,000 people whereas the 2019 festival attracted over 140,000 people. The event has become a highlight of the Miami Beach calendar making organizers proud.
“As the founding executive director of Miami Beach Pride, it gives me great joy to see what it has become,” says Cindy Brown now Senior Program Manager at Lambda
Living. “Pride is one of the only places where all aspects of the LGBTQ+ community can gather in one place. It is vital for a thriving LGBTQ+ community to have these
types of opportunities. Having LGBTQ+ youth and seniors in the same venue helps to create an environment where we can see one another, and how far we have come.”
Pride attracts visitors from all over the world, however this year the U.S. travel ban may have some effect on the festival attendees. Many feel that this year's festival is important to bring people the community together. “There has never been a moment in my lifetime when community was so important,” says David Sexton,
Miami Beach artist and activist. “We have struggled through the past few years and we are going to get through it TOGETHER! Celebrate your Pod, your People, your Pride!” “Miami Beach Pride is a time to honor how far we've come as a community— but also how much further we still need to go,” adds Michael Gongora, Miami
Beach's first openly gay elected commissioner.
“It's important for us to celebrate being able to live freely and love who we love; it's also a reminder that we must continue to support each other and work towards equal rights in employment and housing at the state and federal levels. Love is love.”
George Neary, former President of Cultural
Tourism and LGBT Marketing for the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau and one of Miami Beach's most visible promoters also emphasizes the importance of Miami Beach Pride for the community and hopes all will participate. “The Miami Beach Pride parade is only one aspect of this week long amazing community event and has always
been the Exclamation point of a distinctive
pride week of events,” states Neary.
“We also do a gay flag raising at City Hall
with the Miami Beach Mayor and
commissioners, and conduct a Miss Miami
Beach beauty pageant, and so many events to include all of our community. So many activities occur on historic Ocean Drive with the sand and ocean just feet away! This pride was born from the
ground up and was created for our locals by locals who wanted to support our efforts for equality and inclusion!”
Even though LGBT people and issues have become more mainstream and society has become more inclusive, it's still great to have events like these that are affirming and celebratory, especially for younger LGBT folks coming up. Miami and Miami Beach can always use more LGBT pride. Robert Rosenberg. The Miami Beach Pride parade is only one aspect of This week long amazing community event and has always been the Exclamation point of a distinctive pride week of events. We also do a gay flag raising at City Hall with the Miami Beach Mayor and commissioners, and conduct a Miss MiamiBeach beauty pageant, and so many events to include all of our community. So many activities occur on historic Ocean Drive with the sand and ocean just feet away! This pride was born from the ground up and was created for our locals by locals who wanted to support our efforts for equality and inclusion! – George Neary In miami beach is not only gay pride every day. Its pride day everyday for everyone Cuz we celebrate and welcome everybody No matter who you are Flavio Nisti .
This year's Miami Beach Pride boasts an impressive roster of events ranging from pool parties, flag raising, beauty contests, art showcase, happy hours, dances, galas, dinners, and a Legends Ball. Many of the events feature celebrity DJs and performers like Sweet Spot + Ultra Naté. With so many events, many still label the Sunday Pride Parade, which attracts thousands of spectators – gay and straight to Ocean Drive, as the highlight of the week. For a complete listing of the events and for ticket information visit www.miamibeachpride.com
Emi Guerra speaks about Miami Nightlife.
How covid has changed the Miami nightlife.
For the last 24 years, all I have ever known is the hospitality industry. I have worked in this industry tirelessly, sacrificing weekends and holidays that we all deserve as vacation , and I have dedicated those days to producing events, providing entertainment and hosting tourists and locals alike so that everyone can have a good time. From marriage proposals and graduation parties, birthdays and anniversaries, 4th of July parties, New Year's Eve and so many other special occasions, our industry has been there to host and celebrate you. These curated experiences were produced by a group of hard-working individuals who don't take traditional days o? like the rest of society in order to provide a much-needed and desired service. It's an industry that I profoundly love because there is nothing else (with the exception of
my newborn daughter) that fills my soul with more joy than to see other people having an amazing time and creating a social environment where memories are made.
Many of us have seen our lives changed by COVID-19. For me, I have had everything I have ever worked for
slowly disappear. All the money I have been able to save-up through countless days of sacrifice; the
thousands of hours of planning and creating a concept such as The Wharf; the many sleepless nights
wondering if our next event would be successful… all of it, disintegrating and unavailing in front of my
eyes. Having to look 200 employees in the eyes and lay them o?, knowing full-well that these people are
human beings that love this industry with the same fervor that I do and have no way to make ends meet
otherwise. These are hard-working people, (just like you) with children, husbands, wives and partners
that put in 15-16 hour shifts on the weekends and sacred holidays because they love what they do but
also because it's all that they know. It's how they put food on the table and pay their bills.
"It's an industry that I profoundly love because there is nothing else (with the exception of my newborn daughter) that fills my soul ". Emi
Local governments across our country have responded to this virus in different ways; at least we are blessed that our officials are attempting to keep as many businesses open as possible. Unfortunately, it is a very difficult task to maintain a nightlife and events business such as ours in a world where social distancing seems to be the only relief from this invisible killer, when the very product that we sell IS socialization. We are not a restaurant that can pivot to take out and delivery. The Wharf experience cannot be bottled and ordered through Uber Eats. We cannot conduct our business before a midnight curfew. The Wharf has been successful because it is a venue, like many other nightlife venues, that people come to in order to socialize, to disconnect from work and life's hardships, connect and laugh with friends, talk about their issues, dance and forget about all the negative
e things in their life, celebrate a special occasion with loved
ones and all the millions of reasons that people enjoy nightlife. In just the few nights that we have been reopened, it is clear that there is a desperate thirst by a significant portion of our society that want to exercise their free will and regain their rights to have these moments in this kind of environment. This is the service that we provide to society. This is the service that we take so much pride in. This is the
service that I have worked my entire career for only to see
authorities come in and say, “Thank you for your service but
you can no longer be open.” The Wharf was one of the first venues to close our doors in mid-March, and we were one of the last to reopen in mid-November out of an abundance of caution and concern. Aer more than eight months of
being closed (and for only two of those were we provided PPP relief) we reopened. This past week, we had a group of inspectors from a special COVID task force walk through our venue and tell us that “everything looks ok” to them, only to have a separate inspector from the same task force come in 29 minutes later simply tell us, “close your doors the rest of tonight and tomorrow.”
The fact of the mater is that the current guidelines do not work for our concept or for many similar nightlife and
event concepts – it is like trying to ?t a square peg in a round whole. The citations
e received recently in Fort Lauderdale may have gone viral because we are a bigger and more popular venue, but not because we are the only venue where this is happening. There have been thousands of citations issued since June 1 because businesses just like ours cannot operate their business model while abiding by the current restrictions and
regulations. They do not work for the industry.
What has not been widely reported is that we pleaded with our guests in both Fort Lauderdale and Miami to follow the social distancing
guidelines. We forced everyone to wear masks upon entering and had extras on hand for those that didn't have them. In Miami, we handed
out a paper to every guest that read, “Please help us stay open. Please wear your mask”. At both locations we increased our security labor
force by more than 50% whose sole job was to plead with guests to practice social distancing and wear their masks. We asked our
bartenders not to serve a cocktail if the guest wasn't wearing their mask. We would not let them into the restrooms without wearing
their masks. All of this while operating
well below our allowed capacity
under the Governor's orders. Yet, even still with all these efforts, we were closed down. The truth is that people wanted to congregate,
people wanted to stand up and walk around with a drink in their hand, people wanted to be social and connect with other people. That is why they came to The Wharf in the first place.
"We are a business just like any
other, and we are an ownership
team that believes in doing the
right thing at all cost ". Emi
I understand that our government has a responsibility to protect the public. But we, as local businesses, are receiving mixed messages and the inconsistent enforcement of the rules is destroying the little capital we have left o survive. The State government tells us that we can open and operate at 100% capacity outdoors: The Wharf, as many of you know, is a 100% open-air venue. The Governor stated that our local governments have no choice but to allow us to remain open, but then local authorities issue an table amount restrictions
that are impossible to enforce for our business model. We are not just a restaurant or just a bar. People do not come to The Wharf only to sit down and have a meal or a cocktail. They come to have a good time, dance, walk around, have a drink, celebrate life. This is who we are; this is our DNA; this is what our business model and layout was designed for; this is why we have been so successful. The moment we change this, we are no longer The Wharf. We are some other concept that we did not spend countless hours building. We are
ultimately being forced to abandon what we have tirelessly created and that which our livelihoods depend on. It's like allowing Burger King to open but telling them that they need to change their Whopper recipe to something that is less desirable. Our “Whopper” is the
social experience…that is what we sell…a social environment.
Ours is a unique industry that generates many of the jobs in this state and what makes South Florida such an amazing tourist destination. The nightlife, entertainment, and events industry and the millions of dollars we pay in taxes helps keep government in place and the South Florida economy going. Without us, Florida would not be what Florida is…yet in our biggest time of need when we have been hit the hardest of any industry, we have been demonized and discarded. At a time in which our country is so divisive, we need to come together -- society, businesses, industries and government authorities -- and try to work on viable solutions instead of vilify and attack each other. We are a business just like any other, and we are an ownership team that believes in doing the right thing at all costs. We are also human and with that comes mistakes. I am not perfect, nor do I have all the answers. I am willing to collaborate with officials to create policies that actually work and are applicable to our industry and business model. If the ultimate answer is
that we should not operate in this COVID environment because there are no rules that work for a business such as ours that relies on socialization, then please ell me that; but at the same time, provide us with some significant relief so that we may continue to be a part of your society and be here for you when you need us when this is all over. This letter is by no means intended to be harsh, nor critical, but instead to shed light to what is truly happening in our industry before it is too late. This is NOT about the Wharf, this is about the industry
that brings the sparkle to the magic city. We need protocol that is enforceable and realistic and that is our business model. We need clear guidance based on a collaborate effort and a clear understanding of who we are and what we do, OR we need financial relief.
CECCONI'S SUMMER MENU.
Get ready for a tasty summer at Cecconi's.
Checkout our list of the "Best Coffee" on the beach.
Sushi by Bou has arrived!
Checkout the new hot spot to eat in town.
Best Bar Food on the beach.
Checkout who made our list of the best of the best bar food.
Taco Tuesday's on the beach.
Miabites announces their favorite taco spots for a Tuesday.
Italy in North Beach.
Capri New Style is a tasty new addition to North Beach
South Beach Mango Festival
Meet the guys behind the festival.
Top Vegetarian spots in town.
Eat healthy and look good.
Global Arts Project is here.
See why locals love these events.
South of 5th Restaurants
Checkout some of South of 5th Best Spots to Grub!
New Spots on the Beach.
Best spots to eat for visitors and locals.
Brunch you want, brunch you got.
Get ready for some of the "Best Brunch" spots on Miami Beach
Restaurants: Our Choices in Miami Beach
Get Prime pasta at Prima Pasta
If you grew up in North Beach some of your best food experience was and is at Prima Pasta. Founded in 1993 by a comtemporary Argentine family, Prima Pasta gives you a tasty dish, at a great price in a family atmosphere. As you walk into Prima Pasta your greeted with a warm smile by one of the owners and you slowly start to realize why this spot has lasted more than 20 years. Before North Beach became the "Hot New Spot" in Miami Beach, Prima Pasta was building their reputation on a simple format, make great food, at a great price and treat everyone like family. After more than 20 years in business, not much has changed, yes they got bigger and rented the two addtional businesses next door, yes they developed a large sidewalk seating area and yes you can still come by for dinner and checkout all the great pictures on the walls inside the restaurant.
Events: Miami Beach events to look out for
Walk & Grub coming to South Florida
Did you ever wanted to hangout, walk around Miami Beach and sample foods from various restaurants? Walk & grub is here for you. Pay one price and walk around various restaurants in Miami Beach and samples foods. Perfect for a nightout, date night or just to try new spots. Price is $50pp, includes map of restaurants (all within walking distance), wristband pass and unlimited food samples.
Read full article in November issue
Miami Beach Comedy Fest presents "Comedy on the Beach"
Who does'nt like to laugh and have drinks!! The Miami Beach Comedy Fest is bringing "Comedy on the Beach" to Miami Beach. Yes, there is South Beach Comedy Fest (nothing to do with this event), and now you can laugh with friends at this two day comedy festival taking place in north beach. Once the dates and location are released, we will be sure to keep you posted.
South Beach Bike Week
With it's 2015 postponed due to bad weather, South Beach Bike Week is back. With it's first year being a huge success, over 10k bikers in three days, we believe that this event will bring in tons of revenue and fun activities to Miami Beach. There is talks about partnering with the motorcycle show that's been taking place at the convention center for the past two years and talks about bringing this event to north beach or 23rd street and collins. Stay tuned for more details coming soon.