Milieus, Menus and Mixology and the Fontainebleau
By John Heinz
Jeff Klein, the Fontainebleau’s vice president of food and beverage
With a sprawling, glittering slice of poolslathered paradise wedged between hotel and ocean, the Fontainebleau instantly established itself as Miami’s premier resort destination when it reopened to ecstatic fanfare in November 2008. Since then, it’s also become the first name in Magic City dining and nightlife, with three world-class restaurants and the chicest late-night haunts in Miami. While you and every A-list celeb in town know that having your name on the LIV guest list and scoring reservations at Scarpetta, Hakkasan and Gotham Steak are all crucial these days, you might not yet be aware of the resort’s more under-the-radar haunts, like the cool and casual Bleau Bar, or daylife bar Glow, which is essentially that poolscape’s raison d’être.
So whether it’s chopsticks or steak knives, sandals or stilettos, your Fontainebleau atmosphere of choice can vary wildly from night to day to night again; naturally, the cuisine and cocktail offerings on hand are equally abundant. If there’s any single spot in town to stretch out and explore your options, the Fontainebleau is it.
No one is a better authority on Bleau-hued fun and fare than Jeff Klein, the property’s vice president of food and beverage. Here we get his take on what makes the resort so tasty and intoxicating.
Tell me about your role at the Fontainebleau and how it’s evolved.
Once our three major restaurant concepts were the brand integration between each, making sure that the unique entities flowed seamlessly into one another and into the Fontainebleau culture and lifestyle. I’m responsible for the end product of everything relating to all the restaurants, bars and nightlife at the resort. For example, I’m currently overseeing the launch of arKadia, an upscale bar/lounge concept opening in the fall. I conceptualize the venues, but also oversee every detail—furniture selection, fabrics, colors, menus, etc. And as vice president, my priority is global tactics. I’m constantly developing concepts and evolving new ones, like our 2010 New Year’s Eve countdown and performance with Lady Gaga. It was rated the hottest ticket in the country and the best party of the year many times over.
Speaking of partying: How much is actually going on at the Fontainebleau?
On any given Saturday night, we sell about 15,000 alcoholic beverages.
Are you witnessing many changes in today’s liquor trends?
Vodka still leads the spirits category, but tequila’s shown a lot of growth recently. Actually, we’re seeing a huge trend toward single spirits nowadays. Many guests want simple, classic drinks that complement their personal style. On the flip side, we’re also using more fresh ingredients in drink recipes—jalapeños, cilantro, basil, ginger, black pepper. Our mixologists also all use fresh nectars and hand-pressed fruit for homemade syrups—never pre-made mixers. As far as bottle service goes, the most-ordered bottles at LIV are Grey Goose and Belvedere. And Champagne is always popular across the board, at all our venues. Bleau Bar is the epicenter of our nightlife, and the brands consumed there are pretty diverse, though it does go through a lot of Patrón on a daily basis.
And now for the dirt: Who’s ordering what?
It’s a really long list, but I will say that Matt Damon sticks to good ol’ Sapporos, J.Lo enjoys Kahlúa and cream, and Lil Wayne really likes his Chardonnay.
Fontainebleau Miami Beach, 4441 Collins Ave., 877-854-2033; fontainebleau.com
FROM TOP: The lobby-level Bleau Bar; a view of Scarpetta's dining area; LIV's dazzling interior.
Photographs by hamid kootval (klein); paul warchol (hakkasan); simon hare (liv)
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.