Navigating New Year’s Eve in South Beach is not for the nightclub novice.
You need the help of Marcus Pelle, gatekeeper to Miami’s posh night life as the doorman, VIP host, concierge and promoter at hotspots such as Baoli, SET, Club Fifty and Nikki Beach.
The fashion plate (he prefers Tom Ford suits) with a British accent has lifted the velvet rope for the likes of Robert De Niro, Daniel Day-Lewis, Robert Downey Jr., Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, and most of the athletes from Miami’s sport franchises.
Here’s a quick Q&A on how to make New Year’s Eve fun.
Q: Should people have planned ahead, or just see where the night takes them?
A: I would start planning now just because of the sheer number of people who come down. Such an influx ... means a lot of people quickly run out of reservations and tickets. I would definitely leave some room in your plans … to do a bit of a walk-around. Think of it as a sort of a pre-party for New Year’s, to see where the crowd goes. But for that moment at midnight, definitely have a plan. And remember, there’s a lot more flexibility after 1 a.m. Step out afterward and move around a bit.
Q: How should we dress to get past the velvet rope?
A: New Year’s Eve you want to dress to the max. You should have one suit or one dress just for New Year’s Eve. For a lot of places there is a stricter dress policy for New Year’s. Basically, don’t give the doorman any reason NOT to let you in.
Q: Any tips on schmoozing our way into VIP?
A: Have a good ratio of girls and guys, more girls than guys. Everyone needs to be very well-dressed. Purchase one bottle. Don’t think you have to first order four or five bottles. Oftentimes, if you are the life of the party, that in its own right will get you in ... Come with determination. Act positive ... Then they will be looking at you as a nice little group that is adding to the party. It’s not always about dollars and cents.
Q: Where are the best places to spot celebs that night?
A: The high-end restaurants and clubs. Baoli, Prime One Twelve always have a high-end crowd. You can sometimes see them in the five-star hotels, in those restaurants starting the night off: Mr. Chow in the W or Scarpetta in the Fontainebleau.
Q: What if you just don’t have the budget for those kinds of places?
A: You’d be surprised with the fireworks we have on the beach. You can have the best time just walking down to the beach and Ocean Drive, and at some of the bars there you really get a feel for that energy, and the ocean is right there. You’re in sandals and romance is in the air. If you can find parking. Good luck with that part. The towing companies are out. If a parking spot looks too good to be true, it usually is. So don’t buy into it. Don’t do it. Don’t even think about it. Get a hotel room.