Written by: Restaurants

Mandarin Oriental Miami’s MO Bar + Lounge Shines Amid Stylish Transformation

Copyright Dylan Rives and Ruben Cabrera

Nestled along the glittering waterfront of Biscayne Bay, the Mandarin Oriental, Miami stands as an icon of refined luxury. Within this haven of sophistication lies the award-winning MO Bar + Lounge, a gem that elevates the art of cocktail culture and bar bites to exciting heights. In fact, the eatery recently launched new cocktail and culinary offerings to complement a dazzling makeover of the celebrated space renowned for its stunning views of Biscayne Bay.

The location just underwent a $200,000 redesign resulting in an updated, modern refresh. It has bold details inspired by the vibrant blues, golds and rich earthy colors found in the lush nature and surrounding Biscayne Bay, which are visible from the iconic views from the glamorous bar. The property is located on a small island in the middle of Brickell, which allows for unobstructed views of the area skyline.

The design allows guests to comfortably dine and imbibe at the chic spot during lunch or dinner hours while taking in the beauty of the modern aspects of the renovated interior.

Crafted Cocktails That Impress
Ensconced in the swanky hotel lobby, MO Bar + Lounge offers a backdrop of the Miami skyline and Biscayne Bay. The expansive indoor/outdoor space, adorned with chic furnishings and ambient lighting, sets the stage for indulgence. At the heart of the locale is a dedication to the artistry of mixology. Expert bartenders curate a menu of innovative cocktails that blend classic techniques with modern flair. From signature creations to timeless favorites, each drink is a testament to precision and creativity.

The lounge’s commitment to using premium spirits and fresh, locally sourced ingredients ensures a libation experience that is as sophisticated as the surroundings. The ingredients used in all cocktails here are 100 percent fresh, and it makes all syrups and juices in-house.

The new beverage menu encourages guests to explore Miami at large through nine refreshingly whimsical and luxurious drinks, like the “Brickell Key” made with St. Germain, homemade lychee and hibiscus syrup, topped with prosecco. It’s an utterly refreshing elixir that’ll leave you longing for more.

Other cocktails paying homage to the Magic City include Design District: Crafted with tequila, verjus blanc, crème de peche, and jalapeno, this cocktail mirrors the dynamic fusion of top fashion labels and a burgeoning dining scene; Little Havana: Reflecting the vibrant culture of Miami’s iconic neighborhood, this cocktail combines espresso, guava leather, Liquor 43, Kahlua, rum, and vodka; Miami Beach: A tribute to the city’s glamour, this cocktail features smoky mezcal, tangy passionfruit, lime, jalapeno, and tajin; and Wynwood: Inspired by the artistic hub, this blend of vodka, fino sherry, citrus, ripe raspberry, plum dust, and watermelon captures the creative spirit of Wynwood.

When asked about his own favorite beverage at the destination, Tamir Katsap, Director of Bar Operations at Mandarin Oriental Miami, cited the Oriental Old Fashioned—a cocktail made with a house blend of Japanese Whiskey and bourbon, Japanese brown sugar syrup and walnut bitters. “It’s a delicious, unique twist on the classic drink and probably one of the best Old Fashioned cocktails you can get in Miami,” he said.

Small Bites with Big Flavors
Complementing the libations is a menu of small bites that uphold the service excellence for which Mandarin Oriental is renowned. Here you can delight your palate with a selection of artisanal cheeses, delectable sushi rolls and shareable, tapas-style dishes that harmonize with the lounge’s sophisticated ambiance. Each bite is demonstratively crafted with a focus on quality, flavor, and the pleasure of shared indulgence.

New and notable food items are the “MO Signature Specials” including Dan Dan Noodles made with ground pork, Sichuan sauce, spicy chili crisp, peanuts wheat noodles and Bok choy; Spicy Tuna Bao served with crispy onions, togarashi, avocado aioli and spicy mayo; as well as a quintessential Bento Box served with salmon teriyaki, jasmine rice, tuna sashimi, Asian slaw, vegetable gyozas, miso soup and matcha milk cake for a sweet, final touch. Plus, an indulgent Truffle Honey Grilled Cheese is an irresistible harmony of flavors made with artisan bread, Comté and aged cheddar, arugula, basil and a drizzled truffle honey.

Other elevated, bar-friendly appetizers include Burrata Toast with artisan bread, creamy burrata, prosciutto, pesto, heirloom tomato, arugula and balsamic glaze; and a Cheese & Charcuterie Board for two served with fig jam, grissini breadsticks, grain mustard, crackers, and mixed nuts. A selection of fresh salads with protein enhancements is also available to order, along with delicious sandwiches like the classic MO Turkey Club made with roasted turkey breast, smoked bacon, bibb lettuce, heirloom tomatoes and avocado aioli.

Unwinding Amid Live Music and Vibes
MO Bar + Lounge transforms into a haven of live music and vibrant energy as the evening unfolds. Both local and international musicians grace the stage, filling the air with soulful melodies that create a mood without being overbearing. The curated selection of live performances enhances the already enchanting ambiance, creating a lively and dynamic experience.

MO Bar + Lounge entertainment includes piano, playing swing jazz and modern pop on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.; sultry Spanish guitar by the Fox Brothers on Friday nights; and Cuban jazz by Renoir Rodriguez on Saturday nights from 8:30 to 11 p.m.

So amazing the atmosphere, A-listers are known to frequent the locale. “As the only Forbes Five-Star Hotel in Brickell and the entire city of Miami, with the rest located in Miami Beach, we see many celebrities,” Katsap noted. We cater to movie stars, heads of state, musicians, athletes. I won’t name any names because we always protect our guests’ privacy. We care for them the same way we would for any other of our guests–no private areas or hidden tables. I did make one exception once though–I let a Super Bowl champion play our piano, which I usually don’t let guests do, but I really liked the song–and he is one of my favorite players of all time.”

Impeccable Service a Signature Touch
A visit to MO Bar + Lounge is not merely a stopover; it’s a curated experience shaped by the attentive and anticipatory service for which Mandarin Oriental is renowned. The staff’s dedication to ensuring every guest’s comfort and satisfaction adds a layer of refinement that defines the Mandarin Oriental experience.

“We pride ourselves on providing the highest standards of service,” said Katsap.  “More importantly, we like to go the extra mile and personalize experiences. Being in a hotel allows us to learn more about our guests, which we use to enhance their experiences and special occasions. Don’t be surprised if you’ll find your picture on a cocktail upon arrival at MO Bar. I also train my staff to go the extra mile when it comes to local regulars. Every employee is expected to know where the guest likes to sit and his or her favorite drink.”

MO Bar + Lounge emerges from its contemporary refresh as a triumph of elegance and understated opulence. With its revamped space, imaginative cocktails, and elevated dining offerings, is more than a destination. It’s a respite where luxury, libation and breathtaking views converge. Whether seeking a moment of quiet or a upbeat evening of shared revelry, MO Bar + Lounge offers an unparalleled escape in the heart of Miami.

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Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand strategist and analyst who reports on cultural shifts and trends as well as noteworthy industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all categories, both B2C and B2B. This includes field experts and thought leaders, brands, products, services, destinations and events. Merilee is Founder, Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List” as well as Host of the  “Savvy Living lifestyle TV show that airs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta and other major markets on CBS, FOX and other top networks; as well as the “Savvy Ventures” business TV show that airs nationally on FOX Business TV and Bloomberg TV. Merilee also hosts the Savvy Ventures Podcast & Radio show available globally on W4CY Radio—the #1 ranked live streaming radio station—among others as well as all major podcast platforms, including Pandora, Audible, Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Streamyard, iHeart Radio and dozens more.  As a prolific lifestyle, travel, dining and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, Merilee keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. Her work reaches multi-millions worldwide via broadcast TV (her own shows and copious others on which she appears) as well as a myriad of print and online publications. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com and www.SavvyLiving.tv / Instagram www.Instagram.com/MerileeKern / Twitter www.Twitter.com/MerileeKern / Facebook www.Facebook.com/MerileeKernOfficial / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate if this is review editorial, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

Photos copyright Dylan Rives and Ruben Cabrera

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Last modified: November 24, 2023