10 Venues for Company Picnics and Summer Entertaining in Miami

By Rebecca Wallwork May 17, 2011, 9:40 AM EDT

Arkadia at Fontainebleau

Photo: Courtesy of Fontainebleau

Summer is on its way, which means it's time to start entertaining interns, summer associates, clients, and corporate groups. Check out Miami’s new bars, restaurants, hotels, and outdoor and fresh-air-friendly venues for corporate picnics, company gatherings, and other types of summer entertaining.
1. New World Center
This Frank Gehry-designed symphony hall has hosted some of Miami’s most noteworthy events since opening in January. While the performance spaces, assembly rooms, and main atrium are available for rent, the showcase space is the rooftop garden and Patron's Lounge. With foliage-surrounded lounge seating, the space can accommodate a 250-guest cocktail party (or 75 in the indoor Patron’s Lounge alone), or 50 for dinner. The views of Miami Beach and Biscayne Bay from the rooftop are some of the best in the city.

2. Cafeina
This restaurant-lounge-art gallery in Miami’s Wynwood district offers both indoor and outdoor space and an artsy component to an event itinerary. The new Sunday brunch features an open-air market in Cafeina’s 5,000-square-foot garden, a loungelike space that can also be booked for private events. Inside, the options include a 1,560-square-foot interior lounge and mezzanine, and a 1,000-square-foot art gallery.

3. Elle Spa
A joint venture between the fashion magazine and the Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach, this sprawling new spa opens soon after Memorial Day. The 22,000-square-foot space is well equipped to handle groups, with 18 treatment rooms, including V.I.P. suites; a group exercise studio; and a relaxation lounge with floor-to-ceiling views of the Atlantic ocean and the hotel’s pools. The large rooftop deck with cabanas and light dining and beverage service opens later this summer and will be available for event bookings.  

4. Trio on the Bay
Indoor, outdoor, or maybe both? The newest venue in the North Bay Village area, Trio on the Bay, gives planners plenty of flexibility, with a total of 23,000 square feet of event space. Private rooms, the main dining room of the restaurant, and the inside bar offer air-conditioned comfort, while the patio right on Biscayne Bay has waterfront bars, private cabanas, tables, lounges, and fire pits for nighttime cocktail events.  

5. Arkadia
This high-gloss lounge at the Fontainebleau is designed around alcoves of chesterfield-style banquettes. Unlike its upstairs cousin, megaclub LIV (also operated by MMG Nightlife), Arkadia is intimate: There are just 25 tables and room for around 300 people. A mirrored DJ booth and teal pool table add some pop, while right outside, the Arkadia pool and its ultra-cabanas give guests the chance to cool off.  

6. Shelborne Lanai Terrace
As part of its 70th anniversary makeover, the Shelborne South Beach Resort is getting a renovated pool lanai concourse, a revamped lawn between the pool and beach, and a new sun terrace overlooking it all, featuring a catwalk connecting it with a spiral staircase leading down to the pool deck. The sun terrace features artificial turf and can be booked for parties or private dining. The Shelborne event team can also facilitate the booking of tented events right on the sand in front of the hotel.  

7. Mandarin Oriental Miami
The Mandarin Oriental is the only hotel in downtown Miami that has its own beach—20,000 square feet of white sand where events can be hosted with no need for permits. Plus, the hotel’s location on Brickell Key (reached by a bridge from the mainland) makes it extra-private. The beach can accommodate 250 in the round or 450 for a reception. Other outdoor options include poolside space, a terrace, and a lawn that can host 900.  

8. W South Beach V.I.P. Pool
Tucked away behind tall hedges, gates, and a wall decorated with a mural, this intimate V.I.P. pool area quietly opened this spring. You have to be a guest of the hotel to book the space, but once you do, the area is closed to all other guests. Beverage and dining service is available from the nearby WET pool deck. 

9. Epic Marina
The Epic Hotel offers a wide range of meeting and events space, but the space to make the most splash is its marina. On the spot where the Miami River meets Biscayne Bay, the Epic is the only hotel in Miami to offer dockside arrival and moorage, giving planners the potential to host an event involving both on-land and on-water components. (The Epic Lawn is alongside the docks.) The deep-water slips accommodate vessels as long as 900 feet, and the venue has 24-hour staff and security.  

10. Bongos Cuban Cafe, Hollywood
The newest location for this string of Cuban restaurants owned by Emilio and Gloria Estefan opened inside Hollywood’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in December. With a cool, white palette and both indoor and outdoor seating, Bongos is a good choice for summer group events. The 7,000-square-foot open-plan dining room can seat 280, but the rooftop patio can seat an additional 250, and its cabana and lounge decor echoes the feel of exclusive beachfront lounges. A separate V.I.P. section seats 40.  

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