Miami Beach Convention Center Prepares to Unveil Two Florida-Inspired Venues for Meetings and Special Events
Following a strong performance in 2022, the recently reimagined Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) is kicking off 2023 on a high note with a new event space and restaurant on its campus designed to immerse meeting and event guests in 1920s Florida.
Jointly managed and operated by hospitality partner Sodexo Live! and leading full-service venue management company OVG360, Venu is an elegant 3,300-square-foot event space ideal for intimate gatherings, including upscale meetings and events, while Rum Room is a casual 2,200-sq.-ft. eatery offering enticing Miami-style dishes with a Caribbean twist and South Florida rums.
According to MBCC officials, when they open at the end of February, these new Miami hot spots are sure to impress guests and event planners with their historic location, vintage décor, inspired cuisine, custom menus, premium service and Collins Canal views.
“This next chapter of the MBCC and its amazing campus reimagination will further enhance the guest experience of dining and events in Miami Beach,” said Freddie Peterson, MBCC general manager. “This fantastic restaurant and private event space will allow flexibility in our food and beverage offerings to the neighborhood, our clients and the public.”
He added, “We have already built a strong reputation for unique, exquisite and dynamic food and drink offerings, but matching that to these historic Miami Beach buildings takes us to a whole new level.”
Occupying what was formerly the Miami Beach Municipal Golf Course Clubhouse, built in 1916, Venu is an intimate event space and bar designed for upscale private events as part of the MBCC’s convention offerings for business meetings, cocktail receptions and other special events, including weddings.
Erected just one year after the City of Miami Beach was incorporated, this legendary structure is one of the city’s oldest public buildings. After purchasing it in 1983, the City of Miami Beach approved a more than $3.2 million interior and exterior renovation in 2018 and has now turned the historic landmark into a sophisticated gathering spot offering custom menus that will include handcrafted rum cocktails, flavorful tapas and family-style plates of whole fish, steak, chicken and specially created sides.
Able to host a flexible indoor-outdoor configuration of up to 200 guests, Venu is designed in the spirit of the 1920s and 1930s, with a nod to the days of Al Capone and speakeasies on Miami Beach. When not used by MBCC meeting and convention groups, Venu will be open to the general public for Sunday brunches on holidays, including Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and New Year’s Eve.
“We’re thrilled to take our longstanding partnership with the Miami Beach Convention Center to new heights with the opening of Rum Room and Venu,” said Danny Medina, regional vice president, Sodexo Live! “As the experts in creating unforgettable moments, we’re looking forward to helping guests make everything from a business lunch to life’s biggest celebrations memorable in a unique new way.”
A combined indoor and outdoor 80-seat restaurant showcasing Old World and tropical 1920s Florida décor, the adjacent Rum Room will boast an innovative, seasonal menu inspired by Florida’s history and Miami’s Haitian, Latin and Central American influences.
Led by Sodexo Live! Executive Chef Samantha Cruz, who brings 12 years of experience in fine dining and sports entertainment hospitality to her new role, Rum Room’s dishes will be made with indigenous Florida ingredients. These include local corn, Florida River Gold potatoes and other produce or spices found in Redlands farms and farmers markets, as well as typical Spanish ingredients such as beans and sofrito, a byproduct of Spaniards passing through Miami Beach in the early 20th century.
To enhance these local flavors, the restaurant’s beverage program will feature classic rum cocktails with modern tastes, a large selection of local and imported rums and many other favorite spirits.
“When visitors dine at Rum Room or Venu, I want them to know that Miami is the place to be and something to see and taste,” said Cruz, who previously served as a chef de cuisine at PLANTA in Miami Beach and has worked as a leading chef at events including Super Bowl LIV, Miami Open and Art Basel Miami Beach.
She added, “There’s so much diversity, influence and flavor here, and we’ve created menus that allow guests to experience it with every bite.”
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