South Beach nightlife is renowned for massive mega-venues that funnel an endless stream of house and electronica through expansive sound systems. Clubs like LIV and Mansion even rely on snagging top DJs of the genres — such as Tiesto or Erick Morillo — to ensure admission numbers continue to break records, all of which is fine if you’re a fan of house music. But there’s a vast number of people who aren’t, so what’s a Miami reveler to do if that’s the case?
Enter Coco de Ville. It’s a boutique venue that’s dedicated to a music format reminiscent of New York or Los Angeles’ chicer nightlife retreats. Open for less than three months and situated in the base of the Gansevoort Hotel on Collins Avenue, the intimate space is slowly changing the nightlife scene in this party town. “We modeled it after a NY or LA lounge,” says managing partner Roy Alpert. “And because of that, it’s not the typical Miami experience.”
While the city’s monolithic clubs fly in DJs with European fame, Alpert and partner Sebastian Puga go a different route, choosing to tap into the NYC and LA spinner pool to help add to the vibe. “We had Paul Sevigny last week, and we use DJ Sinatra a lot. Jesse Marco was here a month or two ago. From LA, we have Devin Lucien. We like those guys for the flavor they bring to the room,” Alpert explains.
The result is “an eclectic mix of nu indie, rock, hip hop and electro. It’s open format but it’s more progressive than most other clubs and not as much Top 40,” Puga says.
“We don’t want to alienate people, but we’re not the type of venue that’s good for house music. It’s nothing against house. We love house music. It’s just not that type of room,” Alpert says.
The music generates a house party atmosphere, making it feel as if you’re dancing until dawn in someone’s living room. Further fostering that notion is the size of the venue itself. “We’re full at around 250 people, and we have 13 tables in the whole room,” Alpert says.
Expect to see some famous faces among the elite entrants. “[Electronic pop band] Passion Pit had their after party here following a concert last week. They wanted to DJ, which everyone loved. [Singer] Travis McCoy had his album release party here the week before,” Alpert says.
Those boldface names are perhaps more indicative of the regular clientele. “We have more of an indie crowd, with some hipsters mixed in. However we’re not catering solely to them. They’re part of the flavor we like, but our doorman is trained to go for an eclectic mix,” Alpert says, which means guests could wind up sitting next to a suit, a model, a photographer or a guy in high-tops, skinny jeans and a T-shirt.
With a more cutting-edge music program, trendy crowd and a sleek, intimate space, Coco de Ville has turned heads of the larger clubs. For example, “we noticed other venues have changed their music to a similar format to ours in order to attract a similar crowd, but we take it as a compliment,” Alpert says. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.