When Miami's Wynwood Arts District was beginning to take shape more than a decade ago, gallery owner Brook Dorsch immediately moved into a 3,600+-square-foot warehouse space and along with a handful of other daring and fellow gallery owners pioneered what is now considered a hotbed in Miami's thriving arts community.
And with that, who better to dish about his favorite Miami spots, hangouts, etc...than someone who's in the thick of it all, making it happen.
What is your favorite season in Miami?
My Favorite time in Miami is the Fall/Winter, it's the best time to be outside, especially since biking is my favorite activity during the winter months. Als, the city is alive those months since it's the time of the art fairs, so it is nice to be able to wear a jacket and not be drenched in sweat. I consider Spring/Summer more of a slow time, a time to relax.
What's your favorite neighborhood for dining out, for nightlife?
My favorite Area for eating out is MIMO, the Biscayne corridor between 50th and 79th streets. Although Wynwood is adding new spots every week. Then there are always the food trucks which don't tie you down to any neighborhood.
For nightlife I like the 14th street area in Downtown Miami, particularly for The Bar and The Vagabond but my personal favorite is Churchills in Little Haiti. West of Wynwood has some new DYI spots that have just opened - Chum Bucket and Beelzebub's Cave - and I can't wait for the opening of Lester's.
Where do you like to shop?
The best place to shop for Seafood is Casablanca market on the Miami river. I don't generally just shop - but I stumble... I usually prefer smaller stores to any big chains. Sweat Records and some small secondhand shops on NE 2nd Avenue are fun. Markys on 79th for all things Russian. Everything else is online.
What inspires you about Miami?
The attitude. Miami has an attitude that most people don't like, and scares away the people that can't handle it. Sort of like being a tough New Yorker, that has been stuck in a Spanish sauna for 44 hours. I have lived in some of the toughest neighborhoods in Miami, and people are great! You just have to go with the flow. I couldn't live anywhere without culture, or a diverse population - I feel that that is how we can become real Americans (by jumping into the middle of the melting pot). Miami has this strange mix of culture, sun and booze to create a place with character. Miami forces you to become resilient.
Do you have an insider tip for tourists visiting Miami for the first time?
Go with the flow. Don't eat on Ocean Drive - unless someone else is paying! Seek the quiet spots, and absorb the local flavor - with an exception of the best tourist destination are the real kitschy ones, everything from Coral Castle way down South to Jimbo's on Virginia Key.
Are you a regular somewhere, have a favorite local hangout?
Churchills, Buena Vista Deli in nearby Buena Vista near the District and Club Deuce and the Abby when I am on the beach. They don't yell "Norm", but they know who I am.
Do you have a secret spot in the city (to unwind, get away, people watch, read a book, escape)?
Simpson Park, Shark Valley, the Bird Sanctuary in Grenoylds Park, and Miami Beach, the actual beach at night...for places to chill and enjoy. For peoplewatching check out the alternative non-profit art spaces -- Locust Projects, Dimensions Variable, Swamp-Space, the Little River Yacht Club and Bas Fisher. And when Lester's in Wynwood - a coffee, beer and wine bar opens - it will be my new second home.
What are your favorite restaurants/museums/parks/ shopping places/bars/etc?
I support all of the Museums - so I can't pick favorites, but I will always recommend them. But the Private Art collections are fantastic as well. The Marguiles, De La Cruz, Rubell and World Class Boxing are great to visit. For Places to eat - Gigi's, Metro Bistro, Magnum (for fun). Did I mention Churchill's?