Freehand Miami bills itself as “a hostel for a new generation of travelers.” Indeed, a visit here confirms that it’s very far from the stereotypical dingy hostel. In fact, were it not for the shared rooms, the Freehand would likely fall into the “boutique hotel” category. Room decor includes vividly colorful modern art and Mexican blankets, and free Wi-Fi is available. There are also private rooms that come with work desks and flat-screen TVs. The complimentary breakfast is popular with guests and includes Cuban pastries and locally roasted Panther coffee. Evenings are well-spent at the hostel’s on-site bar, the Broken Shaker, which in 2014 was listed #22 on Drinks International’s World’s 50 Best Bars list. It specializes in inventive “garden-to-glass” cocktails, which blend familiar spirits with unique homemade bitters and ingredients that aren’t usually found in cocktails, such as green bean juice.
When Freehand launched in Miami at the end of 2012, it became a welcome alternative to the city’s glitzy hotel scene. The retro-inspired, summer-camp-style hotel is housed in a 1930s building outfitted with vintage furnishings and wood paneling by New York design firm Roman and Williams. Laid-back activities (art classes, yoga) encourage mingling, while the Broken Shaker cocktail lounge has become a local hangout and earned two James Beard Award nominations.
One could argue that the stylish, affordable hotel trend was actually ushered in by a pop-up craft cocktail bar in the courtyard of a defunct historic hotel just north of the South Beach fray. Five years later, The Broken Shaker is a permanent fixture of Miami Beach nightlife and the anchor of The Freehand Miami, a hip hotel-cum-hostel with both private and shared rooms designed by Roman & Williams in a subtle nautical theme. It’s also home to 27 Restaurant serving seasonal farm-to-table fare inspired by Miami’s melting pot of cultures. Perennially popular amongst locals, it should be at the top of every traveler’s list. The concept’s proven such a hit that they’ve recently opened hotels in Chicago and L.A. with New York on the horizon.
What used to be the Indian Creek Hotel has been given a brand new paint job, design and name. Reborn as a trendy hostel (with a few private rooms when sharing a shower is just going too far) with the concept by a group of cool folks from NYC. Just in time for Art Basel - it promises a place for stylin’ young ones to save money, mingle and ???
Creative Cocktails at the Broken Shaker
What was once a pop-up bar, The Broken Shaker is now a permanent fixture at the Freehand Miami. The James Beard Award-nominated bar is located in the high-end hostel on South Beach serving up a selection of handcrafted cocktails. The bar itself is a tiny room by the pool with a 1950s Havana look. You can grab your cocktail—made with elixirs, syrups and infusions using herbs and spices from the onsite garden—and drink it in the bar, or head outside to the pool and nestle into one of the lounge chairs. Away from the hustle and bustle of South Beach, The Broken Shaker offers a more intimate setting than the lavish pools at high-end hotels in the area.