By Paul Rubio
Even in a city world-renowned for its nightlife, few occasions can inspire glitz and glamour quite like New Year’s Eve.
Whether you’re in the mood for mingling at a socialite-studded party near the beach, attending Downtown’s famed concert bash, indulging in a multi-course meal over good conversation and libations, or dancing with your feet in the sand as fireworks erupt, the 305 has got you covered for a New Year’s Eve to remember. Here, five top recommendations for where to ring in 2019.
Novikov Miami, Downtown
If it’s gastronomic decadence you seek, book ahead for dinner at Novikov Miami, the much buzzed-about Chinese-Japanese restaurant by Russian restaurant impresario Arkadiy Novikov. The sole US outpost of the London hotspot — frequented by the likes of Prince Harry and Rihanna — presents a highly curated menu packed with its truffle and foie gras bestsellers (think grilled king crab with honey truffle butter and A5 Wagyu and foie gras nigiri), plus a midnight champagne toast. Elevate the excess with an optional tin of Kaluga caviar, an offshoot of Beluga caviar, in a Novikov-branded tin. For all of the flavors but less of a scene — and less than half the price — consider the early seating at 6 pm. Pricing: $395+ per person main seating; $150+ per person early seating; $350+ upcharge for caviar.
Photo: Libby Volges
Acqualina Resort & Spa, Sunny Isles Beach
Ring in the new year mingling with hotel guests and local glitterati at Acqualina Resort & Spa. Acclaimed restaurants Il Mulino New York and AQ Chop House by Il Mulino unite to host a fête filled with live music, excellent food, and a premium open bar. Guests can alternate between venues but must choose between two options for 2018’s last supper: a more informal buffet at AQ Chop House or a more formal four-course dinner at Il Mulino. The festivities, which are all family friendly, begin at 8 pm and last until 1 am. After ending 2018 in style, rise, shine, and retox during New Year’s Day Brunch at AQ Chop House, toasting to 2019 over unlimited Prosecco, mimosas, bellinis, Bloody Marys, and mojitos. Pricing: $495+ per adult; $395+ per young adult aged 14-20; $250+ per child aged 3-13; brunch $85+ per person; $35+ per child under 12.
Nikki Beach Miami Beach, South Beach
Miami’s favorite French-inspired beach club, Nikki Beach Miami Beach, presents “Flash To The Future” this NYE with a night of gripping live entertainment as aerialists and acrobats light up the stage like fireworks while DJs and live musicians fuel an energetic, feet-in-the-sand dance party. Come midnight, look forward to Miami Beach’s only private fireworks display and a complimentary midnight champagne toast. General admission tickets are on offer but we suggest going VIP with a table, daybed, or cabana. 21+ only. Pricing: $75 per ticket; VIP offerings from $550.
Photo: Nikki Beach
Worldwide NYE at Bayfront Park, Downtown
Miami’s answer to Times Square’s celeb-studded Ball Drop is Worldwide NYE hosted by recording artist Pitbull. Mr. 305 commands a crowd of 150,000 plus as he performs along with other A-list entertainers on an elaborate stage in Bayfront Park. (Past performers have included Enrique Iglesias and Shawn Mendes.) Throughout the night, “Big Orange,” Miami’s 35-foot campy, neon icon, scales the wall of a Downtown high-rise until reaching the summit at midnight, climaxing in a grand fireworks display over Downtown. Though the spectacle is free to the public, to truly enjoy this event consider buying tickets to the VIP Food & Wine Party, which includes a buffet dinner from 15 eclectic food stations, an open bar, a champagne toast at midnight, and a special section to appreciate the best views of the performance. 21+ only. Pricing: $295+ per VIP ticket; $495+ per couple VIP tickets; 395+ per Center Stage VIP ticket (VIP plus Center Stage viewing access).
Kiki on the River, Downtown
Consider spending your final hours of 2018 dining al fresco at chic waterfront restaurant Kiki on the River. Bask in Miami’s balmy weather, feast on family-style Greek cuisine, sip champagne, and dance the night away to DJ-led tunes. The NYE menu features Kiki’s bestsellers like the truffle heirloom tomato salad, grilled octopus, and grilled lavraki and includes a bottle of champagne per two guests. Pricing: $375+ per person main seating; $125+ per person early seating.
Photo: Kiki on the River
Featured Photo: Libby Volges, courtesy Novikov
About the Contributor
Travel journalist Paul Rubio is a Miami native who has lived in nine countries and traveled to 110 (and counting). Rubio’s writing appears in Condé Nast Traveler, LUXURY, Robb Report, Private Clubs, and ultratravel.