Not yet open two years, Heart in Downtown Miami has changed the personality of the city’s nightlife. Featuring dance music on Fridays and Saturdays — which goes far into what would be office hours the next day — the 2,000-capacity, three level club, which is one of the only venues holding a 24-hour license in Florida, is known for its extended DJ sets. Under the experienced supervision of Louis Puig, formerly of Space — located next door — and with the unerring booking skills of Travis Rogers, Heart is just as much about growing talent as it is about hosting already big name selectors. A huge component of the underground club culture Miami is becoming known for, Heart walked away with the Best Afterhours honors from the city’s alt-weekly tome, Miami New Times, this year. Furthermore, the ethos of the club isn’t based around the social media presence of the artists, but what fits best for the varied, lengthy stretch of the party.
On occasion, Heart will host a party for so many hours they are forced to close just so they can clean the club to reopen it again in a couple of hours. Case in point, Miami 20-hour set, or the charity event with Erick Morillo who played for 12 hours with the event stretching out to 40 consecutive hours with 15 other DJs. “It’s exhausting,” says Rogers of Heart’s hours, which condenses what other clubs do in five nights from 11pm to 2am into two hefty nights. “But,” he continues, “I’m personally uninterested in a short set. I don’t get enough out of it. When someone can hold a crowd for five or more hours, that takes some knowledge.”
In its brief existence, Heart’s patio, which is where it showcases electronic dance music, has been through four remodels, which includes beefing up of the sound system, something Puig is involved with firsthand. “People get bored very easily these days,” says Rogers. “We try to change things up as often as possible.”
The other nominees:
Trade (Miami, FL)
Ethics (Austin, TX)
301 (El Paso, TX)
The Music Room (Atlanta, GA)
WORDS: LILY MOAYERI
PIC: STUART TRACTE
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