The Place: A mural called “Eyes of the Stars” by Santiago Rubino is the focal point of the room in a style that blends street-style graffiti with Art Deco charm rendered in graphite, charcoal and oil pencil in multiple panels depicting winged eyes and femme fatales frolicking with peacocks. The spacious bar and lounge was recently redecorated in greys and black and white with smoky antique mirrors behind the bar and views of the outdoor terrace and pool. It is the only Bal Harbour venue with live music in the evening and a temperature controlled wine vault with a tasting area for private parties.
The History: The hotel was originally the Americana, built in the 1950s and designed by Morris Lapidus; it became a Sheraton in 1980. Later it was imploded and the St. Regis was built, opening in 2012. That year Jillian Jacobson partnered with the hotel to do the lounge décor and menu through her company, Luxury Elite Concepts. She recently added happy hour sushi and cocktails and sources the high grade ingredients that executive chef Tatsou Seo from Kyoto uses. Jacobson, who grew up in Miami Beach, is of Russian, Turkish and Italian ancestry. She earned her masters in marketing in Montreux, Switzerland, at a hospitality school; her thesis was on how Nestle chocolate could rebrand its product (she got an A). She hosts events and introduced Champagne sabering, in which a server uses a small sword to cut off the top of a bottle; it’s at 7:30 p.m. nightly.
The Food: Happy hour sushi features plates of spicy tuna tacos with minced tuna mixed with sriracha, avocado and spicy mayo folded in mini flour tortillas skewered with bamboo toothpicks; king salmon smoked salmon “pizza” on rounds of focaccia; shiitake mushroom and asparagus roll with nori inside and a panko-crusted exterior; and deep fried rice balls topped with big eye tuna or hamachi, all good with a lychee martini made with Belvedere pink grapefruit vodka. On the bar menu are four Bloody Mary variations including the Bloody Sunrise with vodka, clamato juice and Key lime ice cubes; zensai (appetizers); sashimi; salads; and specialty rolls made with a choice of sushi rice or brown rice. Start with two panko breaded Alaska King crab cakes with ginger and yuzu or Kobe beef tataki with fresh wasabi and move onto a Maine lobster roll with avocado, spicy mayo and ponzu or the Jules roll wrapped in soy paper with shredded Alaska King crab and cucumber or the rock shrimp roll with curry, garlic and sweet soy sauce. Finish with green tea cheesecake tempura and take an affordable break from Bal Harbour power shopping.
You Didn’t Know This: The flagship St. Regis in New York was opened in 1904 by John Jacob Astor, who named it after a lake in upstate New York where he vacationed. It has the Nat King Cole Bar where the iconic “Old King Cole” painting by Maxfield Parrish is the centerpiece that had been commissioned for Astor’s defunct Knickerbocker Hotel but was moved to the St. Regis in 1932. Two years later after prohibition ended the bartender Fernand Petiot invented a drink he called the Red Snapper known the world over today as the Bloody Mary.
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If You Go
Place: St. Regis Bar & Sushi Lounge
Address: 9703 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
Hours: Bar Sunday-Tuesday noon-midnight, Wednesday-Saturday noon-1 a.m., sushi 4 p.m.-11 p.m. daily, Happy Hour Monday-Thursday 4p.m.-7 p.m.
Prices: Happy hour light bites and cocktails $10 each, bar menu: appetizers $10-$28, sushi $10-$32, desserts $10-$12
F.Y.I. Afternoon tea service by request within 24 hours notice