Thursday, December 22, 2011

Coconut Grove Is Not a Spot for Nightlife

This is in response to a post I read today over at Coconut Grove Grapevine

I hate to break it to ya, Grape, but the days of the Grove being popular for nightlife are numbered.  It wouldn't matter if the City told every business they could be open until 5am.  It's too late.  Time to focus on something else.  Mo's may have gotten their 5am license back but when was the last time you went to that place?  I hate to be harsh but...it's a dump.  The leather chairs are ripped with stuffing coming out, there's dust EVERYWHERE (look at the A/C vents next time you're there and try not to puke), and the food is, well, let's just say "not good". I think they finally updated some of the TVs that were so old many didnt even have color anymore but they still don't get a crowd for football on Sundays.  That's saying something.  I'm sorry but that's not a place I get excited about spending my hard-earned money at.  To think that 5am closing is going to revitalize the Grove is just plain silly.  Had it never been taken away, maybe things would be different.  But change was made and people adapt to change.  Adapting meant finding somewhere else to enjoy a late night if that is your thing.

The Grove was a happenin' spot for awhile but between the loss of the late nights and the development of South Miami, people have adapted and moved on.  The main nightlife crowd for the Grove was always the college kids from UM.  When I first moved to Miami, I lived in South Miami and couldn't believe that the area didn't cater to college kids located right across US1.  Those kids would come to the Grove to have fun but they'd have to drive, cab, or bus it.  I would do that too as I was only a few years out of college.  Now those college kids can literally walk to bars, restaurants, and clubs in South Miami.  It's far more convenient.

I moved to the Grove 8 years ago because I really liked the laid back vibe and the abundance of vegetation amongst the streets surrounding Center Grove.  There were some cool spots to hang out at, most notably Cafe Tu Tu Tango which I felt did the best job at capturing the spirit of the Grove - the laid back lifestyle, friendliness, funky art, and casual fun of it.  In fact, that's the first place I would take visitors from out of town to get a feel for my Miami neighborhood.  Well, I watched as that space plummeted downhill in terms of the building (during its last CG Arts Festival there were parts of the wooden floor that you would sink into when you walked!!) and soon they were forced to vacate.  Between rising real estate costs and the decline of visitors to the Grove (for multiple reasons, lots of which have to do with the progress of other neighborhoods like S. Miami, Brickell, and the DD/Wynwood area), plus a down economy, the Grove dwindled away.

In the past year or so, I think that there's been a little pickup of activity thanks to some nice events at Peacock Park, parades, etc.  The momentum that these events provide only lasts for a few days and then it's back to the current situation of struggling businesses and many empty storefronts. 

I actually saw a commercial for the Grove on TV last week.  It said, "Why is the Grove so cool?"  I laughed, not because the Grove isn't cool in it's own way, but because the ad was pretty cheesy.  I think the main challenge is figuring out what makes the Grove DIFFERENT.  Late night bars and clubs are a "me too" and, quite frankly, they don't really fit the neighborhood outside of what currently exists.  What I like about the Grove is being outside, seeing the waterfront, clean streets.  There's a few decent spots to eat - Jaguar, Le Bouchon, Sandbar (for tacos and fries and football).  I think being part of the outdoors and the waterfront needs to be played up.  There's this Waterfront Master Plan that is supposed to be a game changer to our waterfront on Biscayne Bay but all I know is that the developers and resident groups are still battling about what is to be done.

Regardless of what happens to the waterfront plan, nightlife is not the answer.  There have been plenty of spots who have tried and failed - Burgundy Room, Central Beer Garden, Central Sushi, just to name a few of the more recent casualties.  The new spot at the Mayfair that wants to do bottle service will likely be the next victim.  Nightlife in terms of bars and clubs are square pegs and the Grove is a round hole.  They just don't fit.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'm Pretty Tired of the Steve Jobs Worshipping but....

This is pretty fuckin' inspirational.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Adam Carolla is a Tad Frustrated with the Occupy Movement & Today's Youth

This is pretty hilarious.  Really tough to take serious but hilarious.  I can agree with the sentiment that kids simply don't want to work though.  I see it almost every day I'm on the road.  I have customers with healthy, thriving businesses and the business owners do all the work themselves because their employees are awful.  It's pretty sad.  Anyways, back to the hilarity that is this rant.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

NFL Survivor Pool - Week 5 Pick

We took a calculated risk last week taking New Orleans on the road but they beat Jacksonville easily as predicted.  So far, Arizona, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and New Orleans are off the board.

This week is another tough one.  There are a few picks for people who like to gamble but luckily there is also one pretty safe play.  Here's what I'm looking at for week 5...

  • Oakland at Houston - I was surprised to see Houston as a 6 point favorite in this game with Andre Johnson sitting out with an injury.  In fact, I think the Texans are in for a bit of a surprise and will have a tough time with Oakland on both sides of the ball.  The Raiders D has improved a lot as has their passing game.  The running game, led by Darren McFadden who is the league's top RB right now, is still strong.  I think Oakland will pull out a win in this game on the road.  But I'm not betting my Survivor life on it...
  • Patriots at home vs Jets - This was another surprising line - Pats by 9.5?!?!  Sure they're at home but against a division rival who's beaten them 3 out of 5 times since Rex Ryan took over as coach?  Bottom line is that the AFC East teams always play each other well.  Patriots will have last year's playoff loss on their minds as well as all the bulletin board material the big mouths on the Jets will give them to fuel their fire.  Jets are intent on stopping Brady and Welker which, if they can do so, could lead to problems for the Pats.  I think the Pats win this one with a balanced rushing attack (Ridley getting more action this week), and Brady hooking up with Welker, Branch, and Gronkowski.  They will score enough to make up for their defense getting shredded by Tomlinson (he will have a big game), Holmes, and I'm also expecting Burress to have a good game since he has a huge size advantage over the Pats meager secondary.  If you're a gambler, take the Pats.  I'll wait...

  • Giants at home vs Seahawks - This is the cupcake for the week.  The Giants made mincemeat of the Eagles a few weeks back, then survived Arizona last week.  This week they're home against one of the worst teams in the league that will be traveling cross-country from the West to the East.  That's something we love in NFL Survivor.  Giants win easy.
The official pick is...

Friday, September 30, 2011

NFL Survivor Pool - week 4 pick

A week full of upsets last week but luckily our pick was a winner as the Chargers held off a late Chiefs rally for the victory.  I told you to stay away from the Pats, didn't I?

This week is another tough week.  We've won with Arizona, Pittsburgh, and San Diego so far so they are off the board.  Here's what games stand out to me:

  • Tampa Bay at home vs Indy - The Bucs played great last week and were able to upset the Falcons.  This week, they get an ailing Colts team at home.  I like RB Blount against Indy's poor rushing D and I think TB Defense can keep the Colts offense off the field.

  • Philly at home vs San Fran - San Fran is struggling this year.  Their offense is awful and once again Frank Gore has some injuries nagging him.  It's also clear that Alex Smith is not an elite NFL quarterback.  They will be traveling cross country to play the Eagles who are coming off of an embarrassing loss to the Giants.  Vick is questionable but will likely play.  Eagles take this one easily.
  • New Orleans at Jacksonville - I usually try to stay away from road teams but this game is a lock.  The Jags have a rookie starting at QB and virtually no defense.  Other than Maurice Jones-Drew, there is no one on this team to score.  The Saints won at Houston in a barn burner last week and I expect them to dominate this week.  
  • Green Bay at home vs Denver - The Broncos have injury woes at the RB and WR positions and have not looked like a team that can score at all this year.  The Packers, on the other hand, do nothing but score.  Their D is one of the league's best as well.  Green Bay is a strong home team and should win handily.
All that said, I'm torn about this week's pick.  I think all of them are locks.  That's usually not good.  I'm going to go against my "road team rule" this week as this is the easiest matchup this team will have all season.  The pick is...