Arena, New Entertainment Lounge and Restaurant
Looking for an entertainment lounge with live music in Miami, where you can also go for dinner in a comfortable, attractive atmosphere? I liked the Flat, but that’s just a lounge and doesn’t have a band. Now there’s a new spot to put on your “go to” list, Arena Lounge in South Beach on Washington at 6th Avenue. (T.305-397-8854). The new entertainment spot is the first restaurant venture from Val Povaliaiev, a Jazz and music concert producer whose credits are worldwide including Miami’s own New World Center.The entrance with its own dedicated bar, though featuring prints of Jazz greats and loungey lights, belies what is inside: a contemporary take on a jazz club atmosphere with tiny star-like lights, candlelit tables, a stage and bar that fronts a screen with projections from music history. The night we were there we saw clips of Frank Sinatra in his early years.
Special performers at Arena will include master percussionist Sammy Figueroa, a twice Grammy nominated musician for his superior work in the Best Latin Jazz category. Sammy Figueroa has long been regarded as one of the world’s great musicians. Well-known for his versatility and professionalism, Figueroa is one of the few percussionists equally comfortable in a multitude of styles, from R & B to rock to pop to bebop to Latin to Brazilian to New Age.
Entertainment the night we were there was the ‘Rene Toledo Quintet,’ who is serving as the Arena Lounge Band. Born in Cuba, Toledo has participated in hundreds of recordings with renowned artists that include Miley Cyrus, Celion Dion, Ricky Martin, Mark Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, and Gloria Estefan. He has also been awarded 5 Grammy certificates for his work on songs that have garnered multiple Grammy awards.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (and after Dec.19, Thursday as well) there’s different entertainment nightly. Heading up the kitchen at Arena is Florida native Chef Eduardo Rodrigues whose credits include the National Hotel and the Grand Bay Club on Key Biscayne. The menu features “global eclectic cuisine”. If you like ceviche, don’t miss it here. General Manager Mauro Silva is a native of Peru and takes his ceviche seriously, and it shows. Nightly there’s a three course special that’s a very good deal. We had the coconut shrimp which are not usually one of my favorites, since there are too many bad versions of them, but these were freshly made and super crunchy. Another good choice was the breaded veal chop. Chef Rodrigues has a real way with frying. And the chocolate cheesecake for dessert seemed the perfect conclusion to the meal.
Cover charge is $10, incredibly reasonable in my book. Live music is 8 to 10 p.m. and afterwards, a DJ spins an eclectic mix that’s made for listening and talking. Public parking is around the block on 7th avenue.