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Stacey Rene Russell | Photo: Brett Hufziger | March 26, 2013
With the debut of The Flat, Cedric Adegnika turns the tables on nightlife—and leaves his velvet rope days far behind.
Like many out there, Cedric Adegnika didn’t think South Beach needed another club. After years safeguarding the doors of some of the city’s most exclusive haunts, the man who made a career out of telling people no is changing his velvet rope ways. With The Flat, Adegnika is bringing his South of France flair to South of Fifth—and a much-welcome egalitarian approach to nightlife in the process.
“This is just what I know,” he says. “For this new venture, I am taking what I have loved about my job and putting it all into action... but in a new way.”
A veteran of Miami’s after-dark scene with some 17 years of stories under his belt, Adegnika is determined to leave his gatekeeper ways behind him with his new venue. “The Flat won’t have velvet ropes,” he says. “Being head of security all those years meant being discriminating and not allowing paying customers in. There is nothing worse, but someone had to do it. I was sick of all that. That won’t happen here.”
Simply put, The Flat hopes to bring what Adegnika calls the “before experience” to life. “Before as in before dinner, before a date, before a night out on the town, before, well, just about anything,” he adds.
The pre-11pm concept is one Adegnika and partner Barbara Zuccarelli have been discussing for years. “People are fed up,” says Zuccarelli. “They don’t want to be packed into clubs, but can’t find anywhere in between dinner and dancing that’s worth their time. Too often I hear that fun is hard to find. We want to change that.”
Unlike South Beach’s more-is-more, VIP-or-bust calling card, The Flat will aim to become the kind of low-key place where, yes, everyone knows your name—albeit with a sophisticated, yet bohemian vibe that’s the polar opposite of dive-anything. It’s the kind of grown-up boíte you might still find in Paris or San Francisco with a menu (overseen by Executive Chef Giuseppe “Beppe” Galazzi) of verrines, the European style of artfully layering ingredients in a clear glass, and small bites, as well as a carefully curated cocktail list by mixologist Egor Polonskiy. The space, marked by a Carrara marble bar, was laid out loosely like a living room with furniture groupings that encourage attitude-free conversation between patrons. The soundtrack will be less Ultra and more Hôtel Costes with a house DJ attuned to the patrons and their energy. As for the door policy? It will be more democratic than anywhere else in this neck of the woods.
“We’re going to have a greeter who will actually welcome you to the place,” says Adegnika. “It’s ‘hello’ when you arrive and ‘goodbye’ when you leave. That’s it.”