Miami Beach isn’t known for hideaway watering holes or avant-garde cocktails. Instead, it’s a land of pitcher Mojitos, mid-afternoon dance parties and velvet-roped club queues. But away from the tight t-shirts and bandage dresses of Collins Avenue and along the skinny divider of Indian Creek, is a bar hidden within an art deco-era hotel reimagined as a bohemian hostel by the design firm Roman and Williams.
Through the Freehand Hotel’s lobby—a bright community hall full of rattan furniture, Mexican blankets and twentysomethings renting bicycles—and into a lush, shaded backyard is The Broken Shaker, the Beach’s equivalent of an alternative drinking scene. Amidst the palms and string lights is a walk-up stand adorned with ripening bananas and daily chalkboard specials. Beyond it is a jewel box of a bar, whose doors swing open to reveal a Santeria-like altar to cocktails.
It’s here that Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi have created a candlelit shrine to tropical drinking. The majority of the year, Miami swelters at above 80 degrees and swells with crowds of European and Midwestern tourists. And the majority of the year, the Broken Shaker is an oasis for locals and tourists alike, looking for a little respite from the crush. Around a tiled fountain and a basic pool, these seekers quench themselves on Caipirinha variations, Miami Vices and other drinks that most serious drinkers have long since dismissed as vacation mistakes, all reimagined for the modern palate.