A Night on the Town: Gallery Night and More

In Which We Explore the Options for Coral Gables After Dark

There is no better night than a Friday night for exploring Coral Gables. It’s when the city’s best entertainment and food goes on display and the normally quiet downtown streets get louder and more crowded — dare we say even rowdy. And there may be no better night than Gallery Night, on the first Friday of each month, a palooza of walkable artistry that stretches from Ponce de Leon Boulevard to the Coral Gables Museum, and, of course, myriad other entertainment options.

On the particular Friday in question, we started not with art but with beer. At Bay 13 Brewery & Kitchen (65 Alhambra Circle), the stalwart Australian brewers had churned out yet another new release — the Laughing Gear hazy IPA. With happy hour prices, a live band, and free appetizers, we fortified ourselves for a visit to Flamingo Fling’s Maker’s Market on the adjacent plaza. This monthly night market features a wide range of local vendors, all set up in white tents (with a pop-up art gallery set to make its debut in October). Here, we picked up a crochet keychain and several ounces of flavored vanilla extracts.

Makers Market Gables Gallery Night
A vanilla extract vendor at the Flamingo Fling’s Maker’s Market

Having sufficiently watered ourselves, we headed out for Gallery Night. We called a Freebee to aid us in our quest and off we went to Cernuda Arte (3155 Ponce de Leon) where a glass of wine and a pianist aided in the attempt to culture ourselves. We explored all three buildings, showcasing works by Cuban masters ranging from colonial to modern times.

Then we jumped into a city trolley and headed down to The Americas Collection (4213 Ponce de Leon) for their exhibit “Tokenized.” The gallery normally displays paintings by Central and South American artists, but this night was a special display of digital “photopaintings” by Panamanian Jean Jacques Ribi. Visually striking, to say the least!

Artwork displayed at the Americas Collection exhibit, “Tokenized.”

Having seen the future, we grabbed a northbound trolley for the ride back to downtown, where we walked a block down bustling Giralda Avenue to Ichimi Ramen Bar (2330 Salzedo St.) for a quick bowl of ramen to balance our food-to-drink ratio. From there we went around the corner to the Coral Gables Museum (285 Aragon Ave.) and found ourselves crashing a party.

Thoroughly underdressed and with a leftovers bag full of ramen in-hand, we stumbled upon a reception for Ellen Uguccioni, the city’s first preservation director. Of course, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to celebrate an esteemed city official, so we happily did our duty by vacuuming up the remaining bites and ordering drinks from the open bar. (Thank you again, Ellen!)

Once the party wound down, we were treated to a live performance as Gallery Night really began. The two-piece band played relaxing tunes as we explored the different exhibitions, including winners from two different photography contests; an educational retrospective on Phineas Paist, one of the first architects of Coral Gables; and “Masters that Changed the City,” a selection of iconic works by artists Jesús Rafael Soto and Carlos Cruz-Diez, known for their public artworks.

The Cuban Sinatra
The Cuban Sinatra performing at ManKind Grooming & Services.

Finally set on going home, we walked outside to find the night wasn’t over yet — not with the smooth sounds of Sinatra wafting from ManKind Grooming & Services across the street (290 Aragon Ave.). Inside, we cheered on the Cuban Sinatra as he sang, and we nursed our final beers of the night over a hilariously horrible round of pool. Only then did we call an Uber home, having enjoyed a night so wonderful it nearly cancelled the next morning’s hangover. Nearly.