Much like Cinderella’s rat-drawn pumpkin carriage, Ultra Music Festival - which kicks off in Miami this Friday - comes to a grinding halt when the clock strikes midnight. But let's be honest: even after ten hours of dancing like the possessed in the scorching Florida heat, a little R&R in the hotel room isn’t an option. Fortunately, it’s not called Magic City for nothing, and during UMF that magic is amplified by a few hundred thousand out-of-towners looking to turn it up and keep it turned up for the duration of their stay. The festival also marks the end of the Winter Music Conference, Miami’s week long sleep away camp for EDM industry insiders, which means nearly every major DJ on the planet is in town to get rowdy, too. Whether you're in the mood for a few beers or an all night marathon, we've got you covered.
This pub-style sports bar and live music venue stays open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the kitchen doesn’t know the word “closed.” Food at Ultra is expensive, but from midnight to 7 a.m., Will Call serves up everything from truffle mac and cheese to BBQ pulled pork sliders and loaded baked potato skins, all under $10. The bar is stocked with beer, wine, spirits, and champagne in domestic and imported varieties, good for budgets of all sizes. After a long day of uhntz, Will Call is the place to stretch out and rally. Sure, there’s music, but not the kind with fist-pumping bpms. Rather, Will Call keeps it down and dirty with good old rock’n’roll. The best part? The bar is just a couple of blocks from Ultra, which mean you won’t have to contend with the nightmarish festival traffic.
FDR at the Delano
Still have the energy to party but looking for something slightly less neon, and a little more upscale? The Delano Hotel’s basement-level lounge FDR is your perfect match. It’s dark, it’s cool, and it’s vibe is intimate but with enough room to get your groove on in comfort. Situated across the bridge but in the middle of the action, tell your Uber driver to head for 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. This year, the Delano is the official hotel of Miami Music Week, itself a satellite of Ultra Music Festival’s umbrella company, so this is the most official of the official places to hang. Friday features the dreamy, sophisticated sounds of Odezsa, Rac, Jason Bentley, Lane 8, and Autograf, with Saturday and Sunday lineups to be announced. Unlike Ultra, FDR is 21 and up. Tickets are selling fast and stand now at $50, so plan ahead.
If the idea of heading over the bridge is too daunting, and you’re anxious to rage, there’s no better spot in downtown than Grand Central. The old stoic building at 697 N Miami Ave. doesn’t look fancy, but that’s not the point. Inside, you’ll find a no-frills atmosphere that’ll have the table-service crowd turning for the door – but that’s just the way Grand Central likes it. Little more than a large room with a stage at one end, GC is all about the music. They put their money into a killer sound system, making it a favorite Miami venue for many veteran DJs. The weekend’s festivities have yet to be announced, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary. If this year is like years passed, expect to catch stacked lineups from the Fool’s Gold Records and Windish Agency showcases. Even if those old favorites don’t show up, Grand Central always brings the party.
When most people think South Beach, they think Miami Vice, art deco, expensive cars and expensive women. If it’s that experience you want, head across the bridge to the “isle of white” and to one of the city’s three main megaclubs. LIV is probably the most iconic, recognizable from a number of rap videos. Located in the luxurious Fountainebleau Hotel, it’s here you’ll catch Erick Morillo on Saturday for his big birthday bash, and there’s plenty more that has yet to be announced. LIV’s sister club, Story, is just as grand and posh while offering a more alternative take on house music’s biggest names. Mansion, which is nestled in the heart of South Beach, boasts a large dance floor and two stories packed to the gills with beat-fiends who will be there to catch sets from Martin Garrix, Nicky Romero, and Duke Dumont. There’s tons of late-night grub spots on the main strip, Washington St., to hit along the way, and the people watching is the best in the city. But do expect a line and buy your tickets beforehand.
The true spirit of WMC’s weeklong mayhem is to party until your body shuts down from exhaustion. If you embody that spirit, Club Space is where you’ll want to find yourself right around 4 a.m. (or later). This double-decker emporium of twilight mischief has been ruining sleep schedules since the turn of the 21st century, and its terrace-level dance floor has been the setting of many legendary sunrise sets from the most celebrated names in house music. Ultra weekend features performances from Paul Van Dyk and his Vandit Records crew in the main room and Eric Pryda upstairs in the Terrace. Saturday welcomes Gareth Emery in the Terrace and W&W downstairs, and a special early morning set from Seth Troxler back-to-back with the Martinez Brothers and special guest Pete Tong from 7 a.m. until ??? (according to the flyer). Sunday wraps up with Adam Beyer upstairs and Cosmic Gate downstairs, in case your nervous system is still intact at 3 a.m. Sunday, March 27. Good luck and godspeed.