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Broken Shaker named America's best hotel bar

Miami Beach's Broken Shaker wins award for Best Hotel Bar

In a decision that rocked bars on both coasts, Broken Shaker won Best American Hotel Bar at the ninth annual Spirited Awards, which recognizes the year's best bars, bartenders and experts.

This is the first time a Florida bar has won the award. Usually, San Francisco or New York bars take the title. 

The Miami Beach bar, blocks away from the swanky Fontainebleau hotel, is anything but a typical hotel bar. It's set inside a hostel, and customers order at a tiki-themed bar top and sit on mismatched chairs by a pool, a scene that resembles a residential back yard rather than a Miami lounge.

"We're not a trendy bar," says Gabriel Orta, co-owner of the 3-year-old bar. "We've always been true to ourselves … We're not the mold of what hotel bars should be."

Ann Tuennerman, founder of cocktail convention Tales of the Cocktail, says the bar reminded her of the vibe in New Orleans, the location of the cocktail convention. Tales of the Cocktail runs the yearly competition, and held the awards ceremony July 18.

"I teased [the co-owners] that they must be only bar in Miami that is not shiny," says Tuennerman. "Everything that they do, they do really well. ...The food is good there, the warmth is there, and the cocktails are good."

The Broken Shaker's cocktails are also not typical. With scores of syrups, bitters, vinegars and fresh herbs on hand, they dole out specials such as the Smoked Banana Old Fashioned, a childhood spin on Don Draper's favorite whiskey drink from the popular show "Mad Men."

Judge and prior winner Jackson Cannon, of Boston bar Eastern Standard, says, "I can't think of any other bar where you can relax in a cushy chair from the '60s and drink an Old Fashioned. It's on par with any other bar's indoor experience."

mcliu@sunsentinel.com; @marianliu

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