At first glance, the month-old Bottled Blonde Pizzeria + Beer Garden could pass for another hot new import to hit Miami in the past year.
Located off 29th Street, just west of where Wynwood’s traffic begins to thicken and slow down, its open layout with a huge central bar – flanked by 49 HDTV monitors, walls of projectors 24 feet tall and a whimsical pin-up setup – looks like the Wynwood sports bar didn’t know it was necessary. It’s an ambience that invites anyone who passes by to stop and consider having a drink or perusing the menu.
Do that and you’ll find it’s the kind of place you can order chicken wings, a Caesar salad or a pizza for between $14 and $22, dishes that pair well with your choice of cold beer or cocktail for about $8 to $18. .
Get there later in the evening, though, and it’s also the kind of place you can spend a year’s worth of bottle service tuition with a show.
The Arizona-based venue is one of more than a dozen out-of-state imports to target Wynwood as its new frontier. Founded by husband-and-wife team Les and Diane Corieri, the concept — which has locations scattered across Texas and Arizona — epitomizes the couple’s version of a “high-energy” establishment that features a sports bar, Italian-themed lunch and dinner menus and a late-night venue all under one roof.
Originally from Iowa, the Corieris opened their first bar in a small college town in the late 1970s. After getting a taste of the hospitality industry, they opened their first nightclub-inspired venue after moving in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe in 1985.
Over the next decade, a string of two dozen nightlife and dining establishments followed – among them Jetz, Stixx and the Axis nightclub – venues that the couple say helped the once sleepy section of the Old Town Scottsdale to come alive.
The concepts flourished in the 90s and early 2000s, but a wave of change set in around 2010, slowing business as Las Vegas nightclubs began promoting big-name artists in their venues. just 30 minutes away, says Les. new times.
“We noticed that the bigger nightclubs were becoming DJ-centric, and it was too expensive to compete with that,” says Les. “So we decided to come up with a fun concept that was indoors/outdoors with a more laid back atmosphere but still had that late night energy.”
In 2014, the couple opened the first Bottled Blonde in Scottsdale. Les says it was his own vision of a casual sports bar that could turn into an upscale nightclub, a format he has since expanded to multiple locations, including Miami, with Nashville and Las Vegas following suit.
Over the years, Bottled Blonde has stayed true to its original vision, delivering subtle “breastaurant” vibes earlier in the evening before transforming into a high-energy nightclub. To wit: At 11 p.m., a 15-minute makeover transforms the 9,000-square-foot space from waiters in cropped tank tops and cut-off shorts overseeing picnic-style meals into VIP lounges where Miamians can drop up to at $9,500 on “Star Wars,” Pokémon and Ghostbusters-themed bottle service. If those prices seem tame, one of the many bottled liquor packages is $23,000.
In March, new times noted the arrival of a troupe of lingerie-clad young women—propped up on mini-motorbikes hoisted into the air by a team of male waiters—at Bottled Blonde. Partying and cheering their way through the restaurant, the neon lights strobe to the beat of the music, it seemed like that’s what Bottled Blonde is all about.
And maybe it’s okay. While the concept didn’t pan out too well in a quiet Chicago neighborhood, it seems perfectly suited to Miami, where bottle service of this type is usually relegated to the confines of high-end nightclubs like LIV and Story.
Now, since Bottled Blonde has arrived, anyone can enjoy the show, even with a slice of pizza and a beer in hand. And if the pricey bottle wrappers aren’t your thing, the experience continues with $100, 100-ounce mimosa towers for weekend brunch, served in a yard-long glass. If not, then definitely the $17 Adult Capri Sun, an adult-sized Bottled Blonde branded beverage pouch filled with Tito’s fortified strawberry and banana juice that manages to taste surprisingly true.
And what about food? By day, for lunch and dinner or late night, Bottled Blonde deviates from the trope of sports bar fare with its short and sweet selection of antipasti, pizzas, salads and sandwiches. Topping the list of favorites: the vodka pie, a marriage of red cream sauce topped with prosciutto, red pepper and Parmesan cheese ($16). While a simple sauce-only topping might sound good at first, it works, and the only real quirk is how a rich, basted layer manages to perch perfectly on each slice.
Signature dishes found at the brand’s restaurants include dishes like shrimp served in a sambuca-enriched garlic cream sauce. Or Diane’s favorite “bang bang” cauliflower appetizer in Calabrian chili sauce, hailed as a popular favorite at the original location.
But the Crispy Chicken Sliders ($19) are a must here. Rob Gronkowski is said to have eaten 72 of them in one sitting, and here’s why: They’re tender and moist under a crispy shell, compliments of a well-timed brine. and ranch-seasoned breadcrumbs. Sandwiched between two fluffy tufts of sweet Hawaiian roll, they need nothing more than a few slices of pickle and a dollop of the chef’s own “secret” sauce as sidekicks.
So, is Bottled Blonde a casual sports bar or a nightclub? The answer is both. It’s a laid-back place to grab a few beers and watch the game in the afternoon, or a lively place to celebrate a rowdy birthday after dark. And it’s time everyone had a place to splurge on a few thousand dollars on bottle service if the evening calls for it.
Blonde in a bottle. 2838 NW Second Avenue Miami; 786-673-6925; bottledblondepizzeria.com. Monday to Friday from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3 a.m.