Felger & Mazz

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Miami, Florida, USA downtown skyline over MacAurther Causeway in the afternoon.

True story: Summer, 2013.

Upon arrival at a swanky South Beach steakhouse that we had made a reservation at MONTHS in advance, me and my five friends were told by the snooty hostess that we’re going to have to wait at least an hour for our table.

But what about the reservation?!
Tough shit.

When we were finally seated, nearly 90 minutes later, we were given a table for 6 located outside, in the rain, in an alleyway, literally right next to the restaurant’s dumpster.

While some of my friends were rightfully pissed off with this situation, all I could do was laugh, because it confirmed everything I’ve ever thought about Miami.

And that is this:

Miami is a place that really only caters to two kinds of people.

1) The obscenely rich.

2) The wildly hot.

Seeing as we were (and still are) neither of those things, being seated next to the trash was exactly what my friends and I so hilariously deserved that night in Miami.

I spin this tale as a warning to those Patriots fans who’ve never experienced the douchiness of Miami Beach, and will be traveling there this weekend looking to have a good time for the season opener against the Dolphins.

This is ESPECIALLY for those of you groups of dudes who’ll be wearing Mac Jones jersey’s and looking to pound Bud Lights non-stop.

Guys, if you keep your expectations minimal (no, you’re not going to get into E11EVEN) and know what to do and where to go, you can still have a relatively good time down there while keeping it pretty hassle free.

So with that, here’s a handy list of 5 “do’s and don’ts” for the Pats fan’s trip to Miami for Week 1.

  • 1) DO: Just spend a day on the beach 

    miami beach

    (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

    Look, for all of my issues with Miami, the weather is undeniably awesome, and South Beach (the actual beach) is as beautiful as it is relaxing.
    There’s few better places I’ve been to in my travels to go to sweat out the poisons of the prior evening, and bring yourself back to life with a refreshing dip in the ocean.

    Just make sure you’ve got plenty of SPF 50, dark sunglasses to enjoy the scenery, and hide your Bud Lights as best as possible as open containers are verboten; the local authorities don’t mess around.

    Also, don’t be a cheap asshole.
    Fork over the money to whoever’s nearby renting beach chairs and an umbrella, and you’ll be good to go.

  • 2) DON’T: Stay on Ocean Drive

    Ocean drive Miami

    (Getty Images)

    Do you value sleep?

    If the answer to that is “no”, and you’re planning to spend your time in Miami as a bunch of vampires emulating Tony Montana, then you can feel free to ignore this recommendation as it certainly won’t apply to you.

    That said, if you’re a normal person or a grizzled old like me, you’ll eventually need to get some much needed shuteye and get away from the madness to rest n’ reset for a new day.

    And to do that, you gotta make sure you never, EVER book your Miami hotel if it’s located on Ocean Drive, in the heart of party central.

    Here’s why:

    -The obnoxiously loud music never stops.
    -The bass drops will shake your walls even if you’re located on the top floor.
    -Thanks to drugs, the hootin’ & hollerin’ will still be going, long after you could think it is humanly possible.

    And you will NOT get a decent night of sleep for the duration of your stay.

    Lemme put it another way.

    Upon check-in to your Miami based hotel, if you find brand new ear plugs sitting on your nightstand, congratulations!

    You’ve just booked a hotel room in Hell.

    Heed my word on this, sleep lovers.

    If rest is important, stay one street (or more) away from Ocean Drive, and pay a little extra for a spot that recognizes the importance of shutting it down after 2am.

  • 3) DO: Make sure you eat at the following places!

    La Sandwich

    (Photo: Big Jim Murray)

    La Sandwicherie, 229 14th St. Miami Beach

    La Sandwicherie is where you absolutely need to go for lunch one of your days in town before you go to the beach.
    It’s a no frills, sandwich stand, where everything from the meats to the bread are incredibly fresh and delicious.
    Get the Italian.

    Ocean Deli, 1941 Liberty Ave. Miami Beach

    There’s a million places all over Miami that you can find a good Cuban sandwich, but if you want one that the locals respect and buy themselves because it’s that friggin’ delicious, go to this hidden gem and get their Cuban.
    I’d also recommend Ocean Deli for their breakfast sandwiches and high octane coffee to start your morning.
    It’s also worth noting that speaking a little Spanish goes a long way here.

    Joe's Crab

    (Photo: Big Jim Murray)

    Joe’s Stone Crab, 11 Washington Ave. Miami Beach

    It’s been around since 1913 for a reason.
    Yes, it’s a tourist trap.
    Yes, it’s gonna cost you an arm and a leg.
    Yes, the wait for a table or seat at the bar will be long.

    But it’s all worth it, every single time.

    If you are a seafood lover, and you’ve never waterlogged your fingers cracking Stone Crab claws, and then dipping them into Joe’s mustard sauce before sending them down your gullet, you absolutely owe this experience to yourself at least once.

    Those damn claws are so good, I paid a foolish amount to have a few dozen overnighted to me this past winter.

    If that doesn’t sell you on them, and the Joe’s Stone Crab experience, I don’t know what the hell else to say.

    Just go.

    Ropaat Versaille

    (Photo: Big Jim Murray)

    Versailles, 3555 Southwest 8th St. Miami

    Versailles bills themselves as “The World’s Most Famous Cuban Restaurant” for a reason.
    It’s a Miami staple, and in many people’s opinion, a must visit every time you’re in town.

    It’s a wonderful restaurant with a vibrant Cuban decor and ambiance who’s food matches that vibrant aesthetic in bold, succulent flavors.

    If you’ve never had Ropa Vieja, the national dish of Cuba, this is the spot to try it for the first time.
    It’s basically slow-cooked, shredded beef in an incredibly flavorful tomato sauce, served with rice and beans and fried plantains.

    Ropa Vieja is a real hearty, stick to your ribs type of meal that makes for a fantastic base in your belly before a night of really getting after it.

    Definitely check out Versailles while you’re also spending a few hours in…

  • 4) DO:  Go to Little Havana!

    Cuban Sandwich

    (Photo: Big Jim Murray)

    Do yourself a favor and get the hell away from the madness of South Beach for a few hours or for an evening, and soak in the electricity of Cuban culture in Little Havana.

    You can eat at the aforementioned Versailles, or bar hop and try rums you didn’t know existed while listening to live music that thankfully isn’t an awful Sublime or Jimmy Buffet cover.

    Or if you want to kill an hour and do something pretty cool, take a hand-rolled cigar factory tour at Casa Habano

    And before you leave, stop by any window where they’re offering Cuban Coffee and give yourself a delicious jolt of caffeine in a teeny tiny cup.

     

  • 5)  DO: Take a Graffiti Tour!

    Jim in Wynwood

    (Photo: Big Jim Murray)

    I know this might not be for everybody (especially if you’re a dopey, meathead bro) but, if you’re not an uncultured slob and you’ve got a few hours in the day while you’re nursing a hangover, head over to Wynwood, Miami’s Art District.

    This neighborhood is in the midst of being transformed from urban hellhole to hipster hub, thanks to some of the most incredible graffiti and street artists on the planet.

    The murals and art you’ll see on the walls and warehouses in this area will straight up blow your mind, and it’s worth seeing all of it in my opinion.

    If the thought of jumping on a golf cart for a guided tour is too much, you can also just jump in an Uber and go to the Wynwood Walls to still see some amazing artwork that’ll suffice any selfie you’re looking to take as proof of your trip.

    There’s decent bars & restaurants in the area as well, so if you’ve got the shakes and need that ol’ hair of the dog, you can certainly find that in Wynwood.