The latest trend in leading nightlife destinations isn't "bigger is better." Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York City are all taking a step back from the bombarding pulse of festival-style EDM and taking things to a more sophisticated plane.
Dinner clubs offer the grown-and-sexy crowd opportunities to start their night with delectable food and drink, then finish with stylish tunes and high-end cocktails, all without leaving the dance floor. Soon, south Florida's club-going elite will have the chance to experience the craze. But the place to be isn't in Miami, as you might guess - it's Boca's Karma Sushi Steakbar in Mizner Park.
The well-established sushi and steakhouse has always seen itself as a nightlife destination that has yet to live up to its full potential. In their three years of business, concepts came and went without much success, but this new branding effort is poised for perfection.
A $4.5 million renovation has given Karma a sleek, modern atmosphere, just the setting for the relaxed yet luxurious party experience the owners aim for. They brought in experienced national promoters Nelson Avalo and Dillon Mitchell to guide the venture, and Mitchell said it couldn't have come at a better time.
Tired of the usual big and bright scenario, Mitchell said he sees the uniqueness of the dinner club experience as a challenging breath of fresh air.
"It's appealing to me personally because I've experienced everything there is to experience in the entertainment realm of south Florida and the bigger festivals across the country," he said. "Even with food, I've had a little bit of culture in that background."
Before he was a dance promoter, Mitchell was a boat fisherman in the keys, and he knows fresh fish when he tastes it. In the EDM scene, he's worked with giants LIV, Life in Color, and even dabbles in artist management. Karma's new Friday night dinner club brings his two worlds together in a way he never could have imagined.
"I was willing to put my name to this thing once I saw that, yes, it had the upscale lighting and sound, it had the different visuals, art, stuff like that. The music is going to be on point because of my musical background, and then food wise, because of my Keys background, I know the food's all going to be fresh," Mitchell said. "Basically, it's the best of all worlds."
The rundown will be simple. The club will open for business at 9 p.m., welcoming a dinner crowd with no pressure to stay past their meal. There will be booths in the center of the space, with one long table in the middle of the floor, offering diners a chance to try any of Karma's regular and specialty rolls, as well as they're complete list of signature cocktails, champagne, and all the rest.
A DJ will be on hand, not to rush the crowd or hype them up, but to complement their meal and mingling hours with deep, sexy house music. But once the clock hits 11 p.m., the center tables get cleared away and the kitchen is closed. The music will start pumping louder, the lights will start racing, and the party is on until the 2 a.m. shutdown.
"It's just something that's different, something that's new," Mitchell said. "It's going to have a little taste of Miami, a little taste of New York, and a little taste of L.A. right here in Mizner Park."
But dance music, sushi and champagne aren't the only things being offered. The space will be totally transformed with the help of hired performers, dancers, a 3D mapping projection system, and synchronized light and sound systems, just like you might expect at SoBe's fanciest bottle service spots - without any pretention.
"We really want to focus on an experience versus focusing on what DJs playing and how much the guy next to you is spending on a table," Mitchell said. "A sexy, dark, fun vibe. We like art, we like energy, we're big on love, and we want it all to go together."
Karma's new Friday night celebrates its Grand Opening Jan. 17, and they're going all out with a red carpet, search lights, a photo booth, the whole nine yards. While Mitchell and his partner Avalo have a lot of work to do, they couldn't be more excited to see their vision become reality.
"When I first got asked to do this I wasn't sure because nothing like this had been done before in the area, so there was nothing you could really go off by an example," he said. "It's going to be something people haven't experienced before that they're going to want to experience again. We're bringing good music, good people, good food and good times. We're going back to the roots."
Karma Sushi Steakbar Grand Opening Red Carpet Event. Friday, Jan. 17, at Karma Mizner Park, 346 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Ages 21 and up. The party starts at 9 p.m. Call 302-367-8832 or visit karmasushisteakbar.com.
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