Who’s in and who’s out? Inside Miami’s booming private club scene (2024)

You’re lucky to get into Miami’s glitziest bars and restaurants these days. But the city’s real money-movers shun those oversubscribed venues. They spend their days and evenings in exclusive spaces.

“I feel the vibe of Miami now is centered on private clubs,” said Alana Oxfeld, who moved to Miami from New York in 2018. She first tested the waters, as so many do, at Soho House’s Manhattan outpost and retains her membership. But Oxfeld soon began looking for a club that would offer a beach-centered, family-friendly environment to her 3-year-old son. She landed at the Miami Beach Edition’s Beach Club, where membership gives access to a 70,000-square-foot private beach and two pools.

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The Edition opened its club in 2014, four years after the mothership of modern membership-only clubs, Soho House, landed on Collins Avenue. Soho House, which now has two clubs in Miami, helped spearhead what has grown into a proliferation of private clubs in brand-name hotels and luxury residential developments across the city.

In 2020, Baia Beach Club Miami opened at the Mondrian South Beach — 1 Hotel followed, adding a revenue-boosting members-only enclave. At the Faena Hotel Miami Beach, the arts focused Faena Rose — a select salon at the Faena Hotel Miami Beach — opened in 2016.

New York’s Major Food Group recently opened ZZ’s Club, a private adjunct to its Mexican restaurant Chateau ZZ’s. It’s set in a lavish 1931-built mansion in the Miami Design District.

Miami’s latest club is at celeb dining hotspot Seaspice Brasserie & Lounge, which created the members-only Air this winter on its second floor.

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Overlooking the Miami River, the bright space has the trappings of a luxury yacht complete with porthole windows and a “Yellow Submarine”-inspired sunken DJ booth. Priority boat dockage and waived dockage fees are among the many membership perks.

This spring, the Club at the Moore, located on the second floor of the landmark Moore building in Miami’s Design District, is due to open. The 20,000-square-foot club adds multiple mingling spaces including bars, lounges and a restaurant, all off limits to the hoi polloi.

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And that’s the point: no lines and a guaranteed seat at the table.

But Miami’s oldest members-only club, the Bath Club, opened in 1926 and is all that and a lot more.
“Edition or Baia, these hotel clubs have a different purpose,” said real estate developer Don Peebles, who owns the Bath Club. “They are the hotel’s additional revenue sources. That is not our mission. Our club exists for the purpose of serving our members and they want impeccable service and a predictable environment.”

“We’re not the wild party scene — for people who want to dance on tables, we’re not for them.”

Don Peebles, Bath Club owner

The Spanish Colonial Revival club is once again going strong following a more than $9 million renovation. Its membership list once boasted names such as William Vanderbilt II, and even president Herbert Hoover hobnobbed here.

Peebles joined the Bath Club in 1996 and became its first African-American member. Soon after, he purchased the property. But today it’s an “exclusively inclusive” spot, Peebles said — inclusive in terms of person, but exclusively for those with enough cash and caché to get in.

Members pay “six figures to join,” he says. That’s a lot when considering it only costs $3,000 to $4,000 a year to get into most hotel clubs.

“It’s like Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle, it has that feeling to it,” Peebles adds of the iconic Manhattan spot.

Like Bemelmans, the Bath Club’s is designed to stand the test of time. Something a flash-in-the-pan beach club at the latest trendy hotel can’t hope to replicate. “One member celebrated his 13th birthday here and he’s my age, in his 60s,” Peebles said. “We’re not the wild party scene — for people who want to dance on tables, we’re not for them.”

The Clubstraunt

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Tired of competing with TikTokers for the hottest table in the house? We have good news: The new Delilah Miami doesn’t care how many followers you have.

“We have never done influencer trades,” Milo Frank, marketing director for the club’s owner (Hwood Group), told The Post. “We want everyone to feel comfortable in our restaurant.” That means that like its sister properties in LA and Vegas, this new Jazz Age-themed supper club located in Brickell — opened at last Art Basel — has a strict no-photos policy.

That should please Drake, one of Delilah LA’s biggest fans. The “Champagne Poetry” rapper hasn’t dropped by the Miami location yet due to his upcoming tour, “but he’s definitely looking forward to his first experience with us,” insisted Frank.

Drake and other boldface names will soon arrive via watercraft as Delilah rushes to ready its private boat slip — the only owned by a restaurant in Brickell.

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While serving up usual suspects like Delilah’s “World Famous Chicken Tenders,” new entrees specific to the Miami joint will include lobster ravioli and red snapper. For a glitzy appetizer, indulge in the $230 100-layer potato, smothered in duck fat and garnished with chives and, of course, Kalluga caviar.

Expect prime people watching, pop singers debuting unreleased songs on the custom-built stage, professional athletes at the bar and live jazz.

So how hard is it to get a table? Frank doesn’t sugarcoat it. “It is pretty difficult to get a prime-time reservation,” he said.

Who’s in and who’s out? Inside Miami’s booming private club scene (2024)

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