El Vecino To Set Miami Worldcenter En Fuego

Cigar and cocktail bar from Michelin-recognized Ariete Hospitality Group opens its doors in downtown Miami
Photo: Ariete Hospitality Group

The Friday, May 5, 2023 opening of El Vecino (“the neighbor”) will mark the third opening by Miami’s Michelin-recognized Ariete Hospitality Group (AHG) at Miami Worldcenter. EL Vecino’s opening has been preceded by the namesake Ariete, Brasserie Laurel, the group’s modern French brasserie, and Chug’s Express, a quick-service ventanita-style incarnation of AHG’s Cuban diner concept in Coconut Grove. Owned/operated and created by Chef Michael Beltran, AHG is the Miami-based restaurant hospitality group defining dining and proper cocktailing in Miami circa 2023.

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“The concept for El Vecino has been percolating for some time,” he says in a statement, quipping that the concept was a “slow burn idea” for him as he grew AHG from the Michelin-starred restaurant that bore its name – Coconut Grove’s Ariete – to multiple concepts in the Grove, downtown Miami and Miami Beach. Now rounding out a diverse portfolio of restaurants and bars, with a few more in the pipeline for 2023 and beyond.

El Vecino is located at 698 NE 1st Avenue, Suite G-172A at the base of Miami Worldcenter’s Caoba residential tower, next door to Brasserie Laurel. El Vecino features a state-of-the-art air purification and humidification system. The 1,600-square-foot space will feature a comfortable ambiance that encourages lounging. Think vintage décor, rich woods, velvet and leather set against the warm glow of amber-hued lighting; the cigar bar of your dreams in The 305.

“I was born in Miami and being of Cuban descent cigars are a big part of my heritage,” says Beltran, who is personally as passionate about cigars as he is fine food and drink. “Whether it’s a backyard barbecue, a holiday with family or just a Friday night, a great cigar is always part of the picture. Cigars are part of the ritual of community that I grew up with and I want to bring that sense of connection to El Vecino.”

Adds El Vecino’s cigar czar Nicolás Jiménez: “Developing the cigar menu was incredible fun but also a challenge. It was clear from Day One that we wanted El Vecino to be a place for cigar pros as well as those exploring and learning. In the same way you would curate a cocktail list or wine list, you want there to be a sense of exploration and enjoyment. Our goal is not to create a temple of cigar snobbery but a spot for all to come, enjoy, experience and relax.”

El Vecino will also serve as a spot for those seeking a proper pour of any kind. Like all AHG concepts, the cocktail menu (still being tweaked in the days leading up to the May 5 opening) will be thoughtful and provocative with a wine list carefully calibrated to complement the cigar offerings. “People can expect some unusual selections with ports playing a key role as well as glass and bottle selections that promise rich flavors, lush textures and bold yet smooth finishes,” notes AHG wine director Adrián López, who just recently enjoyed the launch of AHG’s bottle/retail shop The Allocation Room, which he curates/oversees.

In addition, El Vecino will offer highly curated corporate and individual memberships with appealing perks such as private lockers, exclusive invitations to members-only events, and concierge service offering preferential access to AHG’s locations.

Hours of operation will be from Sunday to Thursday 12PM – 12AM; Friday and Saturday from 12PM – 2AM.

Lisa Hay

Lisa is a staff reporter for What Now Media Group. She covers new restaurant, retail, and real estate openings across all of our markets. A true foodie, this Air Force veteran has lived all over the world — from Aviano, Italy to Nairobi, Kenya — but her favorite spot is NOLA for its rich history, architecture, culture, and of course, its good eats.
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