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Experience old Florida at this new bar opening along the Miami River

Virginia Gil
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Virginia Gil
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The Miami River continues to make a case for the hottest “new” neighborhood of 2017.

After welcoming glittering waterside restaurant Kiki on the River and the perpetually packed pop-up event space The Wharf, it’s closing out the year with another exciting addition: Casa Florida, a charming outdoor lounge and bar tucked inside coliving space Roam, which officially opens this Saturday.

Its lush backyard and vintage accents are a nod to old Florida, which coowners Gastón Gonzalez, Avra Jain and Eduardo Suarez plan to showcase not just through design (the bulk of what you see is antique or second-hand) but also with a menu of traditional Sunshine State fare. “We won’t go as far as serving alligator bites, but we are highlighting authentic Florida cuisine,” says Suarez, hinting at the menu’s Spanish influence. Verdant leaves of romaine lettuce and fresh artichokes, both of which are grilled to order, as well as choripan in a delicate soft bun sourced from a nearby bakery in Little Havana, are the types of small plates you can expect. For now, Casa Florida serves a limited menu of food that’s mostly cooked on a custom outdoor grill, though plans to open a full restaurant are in the works for 2018.

“We want to be a place for people to come have a drink after work and hang out,” says Suarez, pointing to a refurbished 1960s GM bus outfitted with vintage furniture that’s nicknamed “the green bus.” It’s currently the bar’s only covered area and the site of future bingo nights and more expected programming. Just like the photogenic shuttle, the drinks served at Casa Florida are lookers. Boozy slushies with garnishes clothespinned to the rim and expertly made classics, like the bee’s knees and the paloma, are all worthy of an Instagram post.

This Saturday, Casa Florida celebrates its first weekend in business with a champagne brunch beginning at 11am. Stop in for drink specials, games, music and free Veuve Cliquot for ladies until 5pm with RSVP. Now that’s old-school hospitality.

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