Here is an abbrieviated version of our "must-see" attractions for Miami. If you are interested in buying the full Monk List for this city please CONTACT US for more information about our customized MONK POCKET GUIDE to this featured city. Enjoy!

3801 Biscayne Blvd.

Housed in the former home of the FBI, this fortress of a museum is a memorial to slain cops. Engraved on 400 tons of white Italian marble are the names of over five thousand men, women and police dogs killed in the line of duty. Also on the first floor is a virtual parking lot of squad cars, including the fictional police unit driven by Harrison Ford in Blade Runner. But it's upstairs where things get hairy, if not surreal. Over 10,000 items related to law enforcement are on permanent display. In this sterile setting you come face to face with a guillotine, an electric chair, a stockade, a gas chamber and a "tramp chair" where prisoners sat immobilized by heavy iron restraints, indefinitely. Also, in dozens of glass display counters are housed every imaginable firearm. A sectioned-off murder scene depicting the St. Valentine's Day Massacre invites the viewer to solve the crime. But it's the chirpy jazz-accompanied voice-over that pushes this setting into the "Twilight Zone." A modulated disembodied male voice describes in horrid detail execution and punishment methods, both past and present. As he speaks, your attention is directed toward the device, warned by such inanities as "do not place your head under the blade, or you may be sorry." Throughout the museum you're likewise told, “This exhibit allows for another photo opportunity. So don’t be shy, enjoy yourself.” As you look around at the stone-faced seniors touring the floor you realize they are actually taking this in without a shred of irony. You'll be the only one laughing as you exit the door.

5501 NE 2nd Street

This is one big funky-ass mess of a club that makes Al’s Bar in L.A. and CBGB’s in New York look positively middle class. For over nineteen years this alternative rock venue has seen everyone from Marilyn Manson (who got his start here) to the Mavericks (who went on to Nashville), thanks to owner Dave Daniels' open door policy. If they can plug it in, they can play. The space itself dates back to 1946. Under Daniels, neighboring walls have been gradually demolished creating a scattered floor plan--“firetrap” comes to mind. The walls are hung with a barrage of big marlins, out of the water and off the hook. Decades old murals wrap around the room. Shoved in a far corner are cans of paint and thinner, a few junk TV's, a discarded display case with six packs, and a sea of miscellaneous debris. In the back is an outdoor patio with a laundry room: two washers, two dryers. There’s even a laundry room club of sorts. They call themselves the Laundry Room Squelchers, and now they’re scattered all over the world with people who’ve done time at Churchill’s laundry room. Thursday night is noise night. And Rat Bastard, the “Guru of Noise,” officiates over groups like Mona Trash and Scraping Teeth. If you like Noise, it’s way cool. If you don’t, better come over on Wednesday, a more collegiate night. You can ride the sixty-six seater double-decker bus that makes a college run for the car-less. No cover at the door.

28655 South Dixie Highway

There is no end to what an obsessive love affair can drive a man to do. Take Ed Leedskalnin, who spent the better part of his life working on this ten acre coral fortress, built for his sixteen-year-old sweetheart who jilted him the night before their wedding in 1912. Good 'ole Ed toiled away for the next 25 years carving huge boulders to make this wildly interpretive "castle" in hopes that his darling would return home. And though we offer our condolences, and compassionately relate to Ed’s lovelorn heart, his castle is not what you'd call a "thing of beauty." The likelihood that this ugly gray blob of a structure would entice Ms. Thing to come running back into his arms makes us sincerely doubt whether Ed wanted her in the first place. Scattered around the roofless structure are such awkward creations as the Throne Room, with an 18 ton Mars perched on top a column, the Children's Playground depicting Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Repentance Corner where he could lock the heads of his kids through an opening, wedge them in place with a block of wood and then sit and proselytize for an hour or two. We think Ed might have had a few rocks in his head, but if you want to study coral rock masonry from the turn of the century, this is the equivalent of the tomb of Tutankhamen.

4441 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach

Covering over twenty acres of choice beachfront real estate, this is the “world famous” Fontainebleau and they won’t let you forget it. Since its opening in 1954 the Fontainebleau has built a reputation on garish excess. In fact, it could easily take a place on the Vegas strip. Plenty of politicians and stars have passed through their doors, but our favorite factoid is that the enormous resort served as backdrop for the James Bond thriller Goldfinger. The ground floor strives for the upper reaches of gaudiness, with oversized chandeliers, nubile statuary and a dazzling tropical motif. Their Grand Central Station of lobbies is an easy bet for getting, like, totally lost. The hotel’s three separate buildings contain 1,200 rooms--a conventioneer's dream. Cozy, it’s not. The rooms are indistinguishable from your run ‘o the mill Hilton. Yet, in Miami, it’s all about the ocean view, right? And that the Fontainebleau has. In addition, the half-acre lagoon-style rock grotto pool is famous for its enormous waterfall. In a nice Monkish touch, a nearby pool is filled with salt water. Inside, Club Tropigala has the campiest Latin show in town, featuring a pounding orchestra and plenty of long-legged, big-bosomed babes. Don’t forget to check out the mural on the southerly approach. It won’t stay there for long, as rumor has it they’re soon to expand.

1270 NW 75th Street

Someone please get this a woman a can of blue paint! Seen from a block away, in an otherwise low rent suburban neighborhood, you'll think you've arrived in Oz. For the past forty years, Beatrice Sears, a native Miamian and grandmother, has been painting everything she can get her hands on. Trouble is, her two primary color choices are mustard yellow and ketchup red. From the lampposts to the driveway to the plaster flamingos that crowd the lawn, her house definitely stands apart from its neighbors. On the wrought iron fence is posted keep out, painted alternately red and yellow. The red and yellow steps that lead to the red and yellow house pass a menagerie of red and yellow plaster statuary. Her color scheme also bleeds into her living quarters and back yard where you'll find a red and yellow storage shed. As matron of one of the first black families to move into this neighborhood, she's made a career out of red and yellow. When asked why she paints everything this way, Beatrice responds, "because they're my favorite colors." Nothing like a woman who knows what she likes.

1106 SW 8th St.

Welcome to the cigar vortex of Miami. All those Churchills, Torpedos and El Cubanitos you’ve been dreaming of are hand-rolled right here, on this corner, in the heart of Little Havana. If you can overlook the desperate feel of the block--wouldn’t want to be caught smoking here after dark--you’ll find the hand rollers at La Gloria straight off the boat, or the rafts in this case. Behind imposing metal bars on the windows, their presses are busy six days a week. Judging by the layers of accumulated debris lying around, they’ve been busy for the past five decades. Across the street, in a more upscale version of the same, and with only a token tobacco press in the window, the Miami-Havana (1071 S.W. 8th Street, 305-285-6990, has a slightly more orderly presentation of this time-honored tobacco tradition. But next door, the El Titan de Bronze Cigar Mfg. Company (1067 S.W. 8th Street, 305-860-1412) gets the hands down vote for the most original and passionate of the three. Charming owner Carlos Cobas loves his cigars. He spent half the afternoon taking his prize gems out of the wrapper and slowly caressing them as he released the intoxicating aroma of well-cured tobacco. The man knows his stogies. Cigar critics beware: You’ll end up puffing.

5721 West Flagler Avenue

When you walk into this open air market in the middle of a torrential downpour and still have to wait in line with a hundred people you better believe it’s the real deal. This is a bustling Cuban market that crawls in and out of a small roadside store front. Here you’ll find all the SoFlo basics: garbage bins full of bulk rice, black beans, red beans and corn, as well as long vegetable stalls full of yucca, papaya, plantains, prickly pears and cactus. However, it’s not just the bulk staples the crowds are after. There’s also at least four separate food courts where you can get your Pan Con Chorizo, Bistec de Pollo, Congri Yuca, Steamed Tamales, Blended Mango, or just your basic Pollo Asado, all for under $4.00. The steaming food trays and the lack of hype make this the ultimate insider find for securing a decent and really cheap Cuban meal. While it’s more formal competitors print menus and throw on white-starched shirts, the bare bones basics of Jugos creates a lively, elbow-in-your-face atmosphere that is as close as you’ll get to Havana. Everywhere you turn the busy merchants are plying their trade. A diminutive fellow sells cigars from behind a booth. The coconut man is busy halving coconuts, siphoning off their milk. The juice girl is blending fruit smoothies out of papayas and bananas. In back, nine mosaic-tiled tables are crammed with a late lunch crowd. Meanwhile, the downpour roars.

2701 DeSoto Boulevard
Coral Gables

Let's say you're dog tired from running around the clubs, the shark-infested waters of the Atlantic are giving you a hoo-doo scare, and you're itching for some synchronized swimming and water ballet. Then take a nose dive into this sprawling, free-form, stucco-walled lagoon that has had no less than the queen and king of free style, Esther Williams and Johnny Weissmuller, splashing around in decades past. Fed by underground artesian wells, this classic swimming hole is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, which we realize doesn't mean squat when all you want is a decent swim. To further entice you though, imagine three-story Spanish porticos, fountains and waterfalls, intricate tile work, diving rocks, underwater caves and stretches of white sand. You can almost get lost swimming these waters, and considering they completely drain and refill the entire 800,000 gallon pool nightly, you could practically drink the stuff too. Babies in diapers not allowed. Babes in bikinis amply supplied.

3555 SW 8th Street

Welcome to Versaille, the Denny’s of Cuban cuisine. While your rank and file bodegas get away with serving bland rice and beans, fried yucca, shredded beef and fried plantains because they're all dirt cheap, you pay twice the price here for the incredibly dated Louis IV showboat decor. So why bother? It's another one of those Miami institutions, where even the most discriminating travelers must ultimately descend. Outside, the overall look lends a Vegas feel. Inside, the long dining room--with its rows of stately pillars, green drapes, ornate chandeliers, wall of mirrors, French-paned windows and mosaic tile--portends class. The only ones fooled are the mustachioed, heavy built maitre D's (there's several) in black suits and polished shoes who take their job very seriously. They pace the floor like secret service, on the lookout for dropped forks, misplaced crumbs and unbecoming spills. Their cologne is so strong it could decimate a colony of fruit flies. The waiters are annoying and overworked, but talk about speed--these kids are capable of slapping a plate on your table within five minutes of ordering, and that's to a packed house. The result, however, is pure Denny's, heavy on the meat. From the classic Fried Cassava Yucca, Mashed Green Plantains with Pork Rinds, and Boiled Malanga, to the more interesting Shredded Beef in Creole Sauce, there's little chance you'll walk away feeling inspired by Cuban cuisine. Yet the incessant bustle of the dining room, with sexy young women holding onto their mama's arms, and the lively, high decimal chatter, all in Spanish, gives one the odd sense that you've happened onto something authentic, if only because the patrons have convinced themselves it is so.

2038 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach

Not only is this an institution, open since 1947, but it is a virtual rite of passage for any late night imbiber who suddenly realizes they haven’t eaten in three days. Yes, they’re open twenty-four hours. But you have to be brave to eat here. Wolfies' claim to originality lies in the fact that not much has changed here in fifty-two years: the same wrap-around counter with swiveling green stools; the same buckets of pickled cabbage free for the munching; the same hot rolls fresh from their bakery. And the clientele? There’s not much of a change there either. You’ve heard of God’s Waiting Room? Well, this is where they eat. Most of the geriatrics wandering in on walkers are greeted by name. And alongside them are all the freak faces of Miami. As camera-clutching tourists file in, with their Rough Guides in tow, they stand in line with dentured patriarchs in Panama shirts and their prune-faced mates, anxious to chow down on matzo ball soup. As you follow the four-foot-five big-breasted ladies toward the tables you’ll see signage that is so retro you’ll swear you’re on a movie set. As the wait staff offer you a seat, you’ll notice how little talking there is. That’s because it’s like a nursing home cafeteria in here--the patients are focused on their food. Of course, it’s in the food department where things get tricky. Wolfies specializes in Corn Beef and Pastrami. That doesn’t mean you have to order it. Their daily specials look suspicious. They even manage to fuck up on breakfast, consistently delivering over-cooked eggs and pasty home fries barely thawed from the box. The safest bet is the deserts, which look tantalizing in their doorside display case. And just in case you think bad food is cheap, think again. But, even given all of this, Wolfies' character quotient is so high we keep coming back to the best nightmare in town.