For a city bordered by an ocean and a bay, waterfront restaurants and bars are surprisingly hard to come by. And a decently priced one where the food and drinks don't just rely on views, that’s actually good? It doesn't exist—until now.
Pioneering Wynwood bar Gramps expands to Key Biscayne with today's "soft grand opening" of Gramps Getaway, a campy, authentically Florida joint with boat access, skyline views, freshly caught seafood, tropical drinks and all the funky thrills Gramps has come to be known for—with a more "come-in-your-flip-flops" vibe.
“We’re taking Gramps and doing it again, except with a bigger covered outdoor space…and it’s on the water,” says owner Adam Gersten.
Though the layout feels virtually unchanged from what the shuttered Whiskey Joe's left behind (the thatched huts still stand), Gramps' DNA can be traced throughout. I popped in a few days before opening and noted the squiggly lines on neon planks of wood that look like they were drawn with magic dot pens, the schooner-like bar that'll be slinging out craft cocktails and frozens, and an area marked for a stage, because anytime they’re open, you can expect live music and entertainment.
“We’ll have a pretty intense event program," says Gersten. "All the usual gramps stuff—DJs, live music, cultural events—and maybe more arcade games.”
Different at Gramps Getaway will be a deeper emphasis on food. A bigger kitchen in the back lets them whip out exactly what you’d expect from this kind of place: fresh Florida seafood, battered, blackened or grilled and other dockside classics. New, too, is a raw bar specializing in but not limited to oysters from all coasts: East, West, Canadian, you name it.
It’s probably a good idea to start following them on social, because you can expect a monthly lineup of culinary collabs and pop-ups featuring some of Miami's most talented and up-and-coming chefs. And though Gramps Getaway will have its own expansive parking space, the best way to pull up is definitely by boat. They're excited to prep provisions for you to bring on board like snacks, bottled cocktails and canned beers.
Eleven years ago, Gramps opened its doors in Wynwood, promising cocktails, cold beer and air conditioning in a neighborhood that at the time was more sketchy than sketched, and Gersten assures us the O.G. is here to stay for a long, long time. But expect to hear his name more often this year because Gramps Getaway is just the beginning; Gersten's been slowly building out more concepts throughout South Florida, including a Gramps by the Sea on the Miami River.
Opening in the next few months is an art-filled bar and diner in Allapattah inspired by Max's Kansas City, the iconic NYC bar where rockstars flourished and the glamorous went to let down their hair. He's also been working with some friends on something in Fort Lauderdale in a tiny historic house with an outdoor space.
“I’ve been trying to open a bunch of places and in the interim between opening the places I’m supposed to open these other things have sort of popped up and overtaken," Gersten says. “A lot of this stuff is not sudden, it’s just suddenly happening. All the hard work is starting to pay off and things are falling into place.”