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Craft Social Club attempts to stand out in Miami Beach, craft-cocktail scene

Miami Beach's @CraftSocialClub makes a crafty cocktail.

Craft Social Club opened in January in the South Pointe area of Miami Beach, nestled in the laid-back Mercury Hotel. Co-founder LP Steele says the cocktail club specializes in "attainable exclusivity," offering cocktails on draft as well as handcrafted cocktails and bottle service.

"We're in the golden age of cocktails," Steele says as '90s hip-hop blares inside the club. "When you have a cocktail, it's about good recipes, good service, attention to detail. Now, it's about how can we amplify and … bring that craft cocktail niche to the masses. And do it in a fun environment."

Steele describes the intimate, 165-capacity club's aesthetic as "New York City meets Miami." Hard-wood floors and exposed gray brick give off New York's industrial vibe, pink-lit liquor cabinets feel very "Miami Vice." Fake vines hang from the ceiling, while moss covers a few walls.

Craft Social Club specializes in cocktails on tap, which cost $14 each. Steele says the club is about speed and consistency. Carbonated kegs allow for quick pours of classic and reinvented cocktails. Cocktails include the Weekend at Bernie's, a pineapple-infused Bacardi 8 with lime and simple syrup; and the Champagne Supernova, with Belvedere vodka, Veuve Clicquot Rich champagne and blackberry-lime cordial. The drinks' names are inspired by the '90s.

Standard table service consists of a bottle on ice with juice and soda on the side. Craft Social Club's VIP service goes beyond that. There are three types of bottles to choose from per liquor. A vodka drinker can decide from among Ketel One, Absolut Elyx and Grey Goose. Tequila lovers can select Avión, Don Julio or Milagro. Mixers include ginger beer, hibiscus-rose soda water, cucumber-lime jalapeño soda and grapefruit basil. Then, there's the garnish tray, which comes with items such as basil, rosemary, pineapple, raspberries and candied ginger. Guests can elect to create their own concoctions or have a mixologist craft one for them.

Steele calls the tufted, leather booths "cocktail suites." The silver tables have a wheel that cranks the table to about belly-button height. Each VIP station has a built-in minibar with ice trays, buckets, storage for coats, garbage and other amenities.

"[Co-founder RT Murphy and I] are all about bringing more hospitality and more experience-based nightlife to the forefront, instead of just showing up and cramming a bunch of people into a table with glow sticks," Steele says. "We want to take the pretentiousness out of VIP."

There are no roped-off areas separating VIP guests from other customers, because Steele says he wants everyone interacting and having fun whether they're in a cocktail suite or at the bar.

"Once you get in this room," he says, "you're here with us. And it's fun."

Craft Social Club is at 100 Collins Ave., in Miami Beach. The club is open 8 p.m.-5 a.m. Wednesday-Saturday. Call 786-216-7719 or go to CraftSocialClub.com.

TJMedina@SouthFlorida.com@MedinasMedia

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