Sometimes all you want from a party is to be entertained. Drinks are nice, delicious food is great, too, but a performance that uplifts and inspires you, that makes you want to go home and create babies named after the performer – now that is worth battling South Beach traffic on a Friday night. Such was the case this past weekend when nightlife-happy hotel group sbe hosted their 3rd annual Taste of sbe event showcasing their signature restaurants and cocktail programs. That’s all well and good because we know they have top-notch restaurants and mixologists, but it also featured a mini-concert by John Legend. And the man delivered. Let’s be clear – the talented performer was there to promote his new rosé brand (it’s very drinkable and the bottle reminds us of Miraval with its sexy curves), which was flowing like liquid rose gold all night long from various bars and private cabanas.
But beyond the rosé-shilling was a soulful, seductive, swoon-worthy 25-plus minutes of Legend crooning his most iconic songs including Tonight (Best You Ever Had), Ordinary People, and All of Me and a very impressive rendition of Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark which had half the crowd singing along.
When he was done, and every woman in the Delano backyard wished she was Chrissy Teigen (more than usual), he graciously toasted everyone in the crowd and celebrated his partnership with the hotel brand. “If you have a drink — everybody grab a glass — if you haven’t tried the rosé yet, we’re very proud of it,” he said raising his own glass of rosè. “Here’s to LVE, and sbe, and a beautiful night in Miami. Thank you so much. We love you guys.” So yes, you can now drink LVE Rosé at the Delano, SLS, Shore Club and any other sbe property around the world.
The iconic Delano, whose interior has lost some of its former Philippe Starck whimsical glory, was actually an inspired choice for this event. The enormous backyard and pool area flanked by bungalows was the perfect backdrop to the shmoozing before and after the performance. There was food (Bar Mitzvah-worthy carving stations and ample passed hors d’oeuvres), well-stocked open bars and a fabulous crowd of stylish people. It was Dionysian in the best possible way.
Former Broken Shaker bartender and now director of beverages at sbe, Gui Jaroschy, was making the best margaritas we’ve ever, ever had. We devoured the lamb flatbread bites from Cleo, and ate so many Impossible burgers from the Umami burger station we almost could call ourselves vegan (almost). The Delano’s own Leynia restaurant was serving up grilled chicken like the best Argentine backyard barbecue (which essentially it is), and Italian butcher and restaurateur Dario Cecchini represented his Carna restaurant (located at the SLS Baha Mar) by serving up copious amounts of cow and jovially ringing a cow bell to happy party goers.
By the end of the night people were doing “bumps” of caviar off their hands, and Japanese chef Katsuya Uechi was hand-feeding guests pieces of nigiri from a just-butchered ahi tuna. If caviar and tuna are the new cocaine we are totally here for it.
But let’s get down to brass tacks: was this event worth the ticket price? Last we checked, tickets started at $215 per person. According to Seatgeek, the average ticket to see John Legend in concert costs $143. And if you figure that one glass of bubbles or rosé in South Beach will set you back at least $20, and one spicy tuna cone at Bazaar costs $7, then you’re in pretty good shape if you ate and drank more than two portions of anything. And we definitely ate at least $400 worth of Impossible un-meat – lord knows what’s in that but it’s tasty.
Plus, in nine months Miami will have a plethora of little “John Legend” infants running rampant, and we’ll have Sam Nazarian to thank for that, won’t we?