Miami PAC Launches Gin-Themed Lounge

23 Sep

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami has built out the former 1929 Sears Tower – vacant for more than 25 years – and is getting into the gin game.

In partnership with Miami-based Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., the venue will launch the Bombay Sapphire Lounge on Oct. 19, named after one of the spirit maker’s most popular drinks.

The $1.2 million lounge is the first stand-alone venue themed after Bombay Sapphire Gin, the fastest-growing premium gin brand in the world. Bacardi has made a $300,000 contribution to the project in exchange for five-year naming rights to the lounge.

“It is designed as a destination in and of itself, and provides for a total patron experience,” said John Richard, president and CEO of the Adrienne Arscht Center. “It keeps them here longer.”

The lounge is on the street level of the Art Deco Carnival Tower, on the corner of 13th and Biscayne, an area that is rapidly becoming Miami’s town square, Richard said.

The 60-seat interior design pays homage to the area’s Art Deco history, and features a large-scale collage of vintage Miami photographs. The menu will include specialty cocktails created by award-winning Bombay Sapphire mixologist Milo Rodriquez, and tapas light bites.

“The land [for the Adrienne Arsht Center] donated 20 years ago was the old Sears building, and the Art Deco signature tower was saved, preserved and reinforced,” he said. “It has been empty for 27 years, so we are bringing an incredibly beautiful Art Deco feature back to life.”

Reviving the dormant facility has been part of the performing arts center’s business plan, Richard said, as revenue from food and beverage helps support the arts mission.

Last fall, the center partnered with restaurateur Barton G., opening the on-property Prelude Restaurant.

Between the Barton G. restaurant, the Bombay Sapphire Lounge, and the venue’s bistro bars, Ken Harns, VP of operations for the venue said they expect the facilities’ two kitchens to serve approximately 225 tables before curtain.

“The death knell of many great establishments is fixed costs,” Richard said. “We were fortunate that we banked the capital we needed to do a build out of the tower, so the arts center will not have debt service.”

Richard projects a “modest return” from commissions from the lounge, and the income generated will support the center’s educational missions. – Liz Boardman

Interviewed for this article: John Richard and Ken Harns, (786) 468-2201

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