What says South Beach more than Art Deco design, a stunning beachfront location, cool celebs and hot VIP parties in the afternoon? Once again, the star-studded Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) presented by Capital One, a five-day foodie and wino destination event, commenced it’s 19th year in true SoBe fashion. On February 20, 2020, festival founder and director, Lee Brian Schrager, hosted his annual invite-only Director’s Welcome VIP Happy Hour located at the intimate garden patio of the chic, boutique Shore Club from 3pm – 5pm, an optimal workday escape.
Guests were greeted at this exclusive kick-off cocktail reception with sunny skies, warm air and a refreshing, adult-rated, frozen Paloma (grapefruit soda and tequila) slushie by Kelvin Natural Slush Co. Beyond the entrance, attendees could make their way to either side of the garden to find a selection of fine wines and bubbles by La Scolca on one side and an open bar of specialty cocktails by Barcelo Rum, Fifty Pounds Gin and Liquore Strega on the other. In between, the balance of high-top table-to-guest ratio allowed guests a resting place to mix and mingle while enjoying elevated Mexican fare by Diez y Seis by SBE with antojitos (apps) of tuna ceviche, deconstructed Mexi street corn and empanadas. And if that wasn’t enough to tame the late afternoon hunger pangs, folks could also make their way to the back garden for a buffet station of dress-their-own quesadillas, unlimited nosh of tortilla chips and home-made quac, savory chicken mole morsels or hot off the grill, whole pig carnitas tacos.
Throughout the affair, Schrager hobnobbed with industry VIP’s and media, closing-out with a brief state-of-the-festival speech about sold-out events and it’s ongoing success; a great lead-off to get party-goers enthused for the remainder of the week’s events.