The South Beach Wine & Food Festival Survival Guide
Where to stay, eat, and drink if you're going to SOBEWFF
The South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) returns to the sands of Miami Beach in just one short week.
The festival attracts about 60,000 people to Miami and Miami Beach, who attend over 90 different parties, seminars, tastings, and dinners. And, while this bacchanalia of food and drink might seem like the utmost in hedonistic weekends, SOBEWFF actually raises funds for Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.
The festival also attracts a roster of hundreds of A-list celebrity chefs, who come to host a dinner or two and then bask in the warm Florida sunshine, eat stone crabs, and generally have a good ‘ole time. For this reason, the festival has been dubbed “spring break for chefs”. Indeed, fans of Food Network will have a great time celebrity spotting that weekend. In addition to seeking out your favorite chef at the festival, it’s not unusual to spot celebs at favorite restaurants and bars.
So, whether you live in Miami or you’re flying in for the weekend, here’s where to sleep, eat, and drink during the festival.
Where to Sleep
The first thing you will notice upon entering this chic Miami Beach property is the intoxicating scent, I can’t pinpoint it, exactly: maybe sandalwood and sea air? The 425-room hotel prides itself on its nature-inspired motif, which starts in the public areas with driftwood furnishings and live greenery and continues to the guestrooms. The hotel also offers four pools, and several restaurants and bars including WATR on the rooftop for cocktails with the best view of the ocean in Miami Beach.
If you’re looking for a “good time” rather than a restful commune with nature, this hotel, a partnership between nightlife maven David Grutman and Pharrell Williams fits the bill. The Goodtime is a 266-room hotel set in the middle of South Beach’s high-energy area. Expect a crowd that skews young, pool parties, and plenty of photo ops if you’re looking to up the ante on your Instagram game.
This beautiful Midcentury hotel offers 364 rooms and suites with a 1950s aesthetic. The Confidante is located in Miami Beach’s mid-beach area, so if you like a chill morning walk on the beach, this is the hotel for you. Don’t worry — you’re still a short ten-minute Uber to either South Beach or the Design District.
Where to Eat and Drink
Sure, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival has food galore, but you’re still going to want to grab a nosh or a sit-down meal.
If you want to try Joe’s famous stone crabs in a more casual setting, Joe’s Takeaway offers the same famous stone crabs to go. Joe’s Takeaway is also open for lunch, brunch, and dinner. Order items like a stone crab bisque, fried chicken, or even a stone crab omelet.
This dive bar, located just steps from the SOBEWFF Grand Tasting Village, was Anthony' Bourdain’s favorite hangout. The bar has been serving locals since the 1920s and not much has changed. Get a shot and a PBR and take a look around. You might just see your favorite celebs here after their dinners and demos. Need a little “hair of the dog” after that chefs’ after-party you snagged an invite to? The “Deuce” opens at 8 a.m.
Tucked away inside the Sagamore Hotel in South Beach, Water Lion is a small wine bar featuring vintages carefully curated by owner, Abbe Diaz. There are also oysters, caviar, charcuterie, and plenty of deviled eggs to nosh on. Water Lion feels exclusive, but it’s actually one of the friendliest places to imbibe on Miami Beach.
This charming little restaurant offers a delightful brunch on its outdoor deck. Graze on shakshuka, grilled whole fish, Israeli salad, hummus, and more. Annale is the place to go when you have all the time in the world — or at least that’s how it turns out. You’ll want to order another glass of wine (or lemonade), maybe another dish, or dessert. It’s a relaxing respite from SOBEWFF.
If you’re looking for an Uber right after Burger Bash — forget it! Prices surge, people steal your car — it’s a scene. Instead, walk over to Sweet Liberty and have a couple of cocktails. This bar, which was named one of the World’s 50 Best Bars, is like your neighborhood watering hole on steroids. The vibe is loud (but not too loud), Miami (but not too Miami), and all-around fun and friendly.