Historically, Miami Music Week is the most lucrative week of the year for nightclubs across the city. World-renowned DJs continue to perform at local venues while attendees come from around the world. Even this year, DJs headlining are: David Guetta, Kaskade, Shiba San, Tommie Sunshine, Jody Wisternoff, Audiofly, and Louie Vega.
But courtesy of the City of Miami Beach, many popular nightclubs on South beach saw their stroke of luck disappear, now that a midnight curfew is to be imposed.
On Monday, in response to several incidents over the weekend — including two separate shootings on Ocean Drive that left five people wounded — Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber announced a state of emergency and imposed a midnight curfew covering all of South Beach that will run through Sunday, March 27. The curfew requires that businesses, including nightclubs to close from 11:59 p.m. to 6 a.m., as well as give patrons enough time to get off the streets by midnight.
Megan Nazari, co-owner of the 17th Street nightclub Do Not Sit on the Furniture lamented, “what we [would have made] this week is the bread and butter for us and our employees. Miami starts to get busy after midnight, and we’re known to be a nighttime nightclub or not a day club.” Although Nazari’s venue is not near the spring break crowds that mob together on Ocean Drive, Do Not Sit on the Furniture still caters to a niche audience of partygoers that still seek out house and techno music at similar nightlife destinations such as Ibiza and Berlin.
And while yes, there’s a distinction between Nazari’s niche and the clubs that cater to the spring-breakers niche, many business owners similar to Nazari still feel as though they’re being unfairly targeted. Specifically, targeted over the incidents that plague Ocean Drive. And though off Ocean Drive, the clubs: Do Not Sit on the Furniture, Story, Treehouse, XXIII Club, Kill Your Idol, Eme, Mr Jones, Mynt, and Exchange.Story, are still unfortunately within the boundaries of South Beach.
“We really need to start a nightlife coalition,” says Nazari, who views the current slate as anti-nightlife, especially considering that local businesses are still trying to stay afloat after the many obstacles they’ve faced since the onset of the pandemic. Nazari also said, “we have had multiple shootings literally in front of police officers. We can’t balance safety against revenue or anything else, frankly. We only implemented the curfew when it became clear we had no other options,” Mayor Gelber responded via email to New Times’ request for comment.
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Photo credit: Joe Raedle
As for clubs and pool parties located at south beach. Below are a few clubs that shared information regarding their hours of operation and any updates.
Story nightclub, located in the South of Fifth neighborhood, has announced on its social channels that it will “temporarily close” Wednesday through Sunday “due to Miami Beach imposed curfew.” The club will automatically refund ticketholders for its scheduled MMW events. Its sister venue, LIV, which is located outside of South Beach at the Fontainebleau, will fortunately still operate as planned.
Treehouse, located at the northern edge of South Beach on 23rd Street, has continued to promote its events this week on Instagram, but from comments being left regarding the curfew, the club’s followers still appear to be nervous. The club has yet to respond publicly.
MMW pool parties at South Beach hotels have been spared, owing to the fact that they’re scheduled to end well before curfew. Additionally, the curfew contains an exception for hotels, “provided they are servicing hotel guests only.”
As for Nazari, she says she has spoken to Do Not Sit’s manager about rescheduling their events earlier in the day or finding a venue across the causeway in Miami that could host the parties. So far, nothing has been decided.
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State Rep. Michael Grieco who served on the Miami Beach City Commission from 2013 until 2017 says, “curfews are a huge government overreach. It’s obviously devastating more businesses than you can count — and the businesses that are not the contributors [to the problem].” He also believes a state-of-emergency declaration should be reserved for natural disasters like hurricanes.
“If they’re having problems managing clubs on Ocean Drive, then manage the clubs on Ocean Drive,” Grieco argues. “Don’t punish the bars, nightclubs, and restaurants that have not been the contributors to whatever is going on in the entertainment district.”
But Mark Samuelian, who replaced Grieco on the commission says otherwise: “While I understand that some business owners may be frustrated over our unanimous commission decision, I will always place public safety ahead of profits,” Samuelian tells New Times via email. Further, Samuelian contends that the current emergency order underscores the city’s efforts to enact a 2 a.m. last call. “If we enact the proposed citywide 2 a.m. alcohol rollback, I hope we will help avoid future similar circumstances.”
“While I understand that some business owners may be frustrated over our unanimous commission decision, I will always place public safety ahead of profits. If we enact the proposed citywide 2 a.m. alcohol rollback, I hope we will help avoid future similar circumstances.”
Nazari, who opened Do Not Sit on the Furniture with her husband, DJ Behrouz, has no intention of going down without a fight. She says, “we need to fight for our rights and fight for business owners’ rights to come. We pay taxes. We have employees with families that have now, especially with the rising costs in Miami and Miami Beach, depend on this on this week and in all other weeks of the year.”
While offered to move her business mainland, this option isn’t an option at all.
“I have people tell me, ‘We have a location for you guys in Miami,’ but I’m not going to give up here,” she insists. “I’m going to keep on fighting for our rights. It’s almost, like, systematic. They’re really trying everything they can to shut us down.”
“I’m going to keep on fighting for our rights. It’s almost, like, systematic. They’re really trying everything they can to shut us down.”
Originally reported from Miami New Times