As is our tradition for our anniversary, we head to Miami at the end of October each year to celebrate. This past October was no different. In years past, we have hosted little gatherings at our apartment there, but with so many dear friends to visit, it’s sometimes easier to gather at a bar or restaurant to catch up. With the proliferation of so many cool, happening hangouts cropping up all over Miami the question was where do we go.
For this night out we wanted to keep it centrally located for all parties by staying in Coral Gables. The Gables is an old historic area of Miami known for its Mediterranean Revival style architecture with streets lined by the famous banyan trees. It's home to such landmarks as the Venetian Pool and the Biltmore Hotel, along with the popular and most noted street; Miracle Mile. And that was exactly where we were headed to try out Copper 29 Bar recommended my our friend, Stephanie. This Coral Gables bar is reviving the idea of the perfect cocktail. Using the art of mixology paired with bar bites to create a relaxed atmosphere of food and drink, which was what we were looking for.
Especially, given that we hadn’t seen each other in awhile, and our goal was to chat and catch up with each other’s lives. However, that was not quite what we got. Well, at least not on a Friday night. Don't get me wrong, it's not because the place wasn't cool. It was cool with an interesting mix of decor including an entire wall of plant life.
But when we opened the door, the music was pumping and the place was jamming and we thought we might not hear each other breathe.
Silly of us to think that a relatively new hangout on a Friday night would be a quiet place to chill. We were told that the owner recently decided to make Friday nights a Happy Hour with DJ music pumping. That said, the music mix was a fantastic groove, prefect for dancing and keeping it interesting for a proper happy hour. If we hadn’t wanted to talk this would have been an ideal spot. And on any other night there, we could have done that. However, Friday’s are made for letting go after a long week of work. So we stuck it out because the vibe was happening, the atmosphere interesting and the menu looked promising. (Spoiler Alert: We were all glad we did!)
Some of us started off with Moscow Mules served in cool copper mugs which keep the drinks nice and chilled. If you enjoy a spicy drink, this one delivers. The ginger beer brings that bite while the mint is refreshing and surprisingly light.
The rest of our group ordered Martinis and Old Fashioned and they were like a good ole fashion should be…good.
From there, we began ordering a dish at a time, each as good as the last.
Jalapeño Corn & Cheese Biscuits
These are decadent balls for yum. Crispy exterior, doughy middle with whole pieces of corn throughout served with a Bourbon Honey Syrup that has even your biscuit begging you to dip for more. I loved watching everyone's expression as they popped these in their mouths.
Eyes wide and then the expressive smile that gleamed; 'what did I just eat and is there enough for everyone else?'. Only wish there was a bit more jalapeño in these biscuits. The Bourbon Honey Syrup provided enough sweet that they could have used a bit more heat… at least for my, and everyone at the table’s taste. Even with that slight spice suggestion, we would order this again in a heartbeat.
Classical and good balance. Slight hint of heat that was a nice play off the creaminess of the avocado. Served with chips for scooping and enjoying each bite. Well done.
We’ve all eaten tons of kale salad. The key is the cut of the kale. The chop on this one rendered the kale tender, and manageable to eat. The Caesar dressing was creamy but not overbearing and softened the salad just the right amount. The Parmesan cheese in nice big shards added the salty sharpness we all want. Then there was the addition of radicchio and sunflower seeds that were subtle while still imparting an effective crunch and earthiness. And last but seriously not least; the croutons, which were more like lightly grilled garlic toasts. Much better than the average crouton who would be ashamed to show up in a salad against this king of crouton. Would you guess that everyone thoroughly enjoyed this salad? Good guess.
Mac n Cheese
Creamy with lovely Fontina and a deep truffle flavor that perfumed the entire dish. Sprinkled with bread crumbs and pancetta, this is a dish worth the calories on a Friday night. And with the music playing, there is no need for guilt since you can get up and dance some of those calories away.
Short Rib Sliders
Oh the juxtaposition of these pretty, almost dainty little sandwiches that deliver a fun rollercoaster ride of flavor. The short ribs were tender and juicy, layered on top of the surprising and interesting addition of polenta. Caramelized onions sweetened the pot while the alioli had a horseradish note that provided the right kick. Needless to say, these were devoured by our group.
Key Lime Pie in a Jar
Tart and Tangy and Luscious. Topped with grapefruit that was a surprising, refreshing touch, this dessert was right on point. Team vote: Approved. Team goal: Polish this off. Goal: Accomplished.
Oreo Cookie pie in a jar
This dessert was decidedly too sweet for my palette and everyone in our group but for those with a true sweet tooth it might just hit the mark.
Overall, the joint was jamming. A great spot for a Friday night Happy Hour if you want to move to the groove of hip swaying music, enjoy good drinks and upscale bar eats. If you want to chat and have a quieter evening, I would highly recommend coming on a weeknight to work your way through the menu and have the mixologist blend you up some cocktails.
The food, good service and overall vibe are definitely worth the trip. So with winter still brewing here in the Northeast, this might just be the right time to head south for more reasons than just the sun.
Cooper29 is located at 206 Miracle Mile, Miami FL / 786.580.4689