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Scotty's Landing: Five Reasons to Save It

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Last week we wrote about the possibility that Scotty's Landing might be in jeopardy of going the way of the dodo bird.

The City of Miami, which currently owns Grove Key Marina and the iconic dive bar/restaurant, is seeking bids for a 40-year lease to replace the slightly shabby waterfront with a multi-use space to include a brand-spanking-new marina and restaurant. Though Scotty's operator Scott Wessel (who also manages the marina) has put in a bid for the space, he's likely to compete with major corporations seeking prime Miami waterfront for their chain restaurants and shops. True, Scotty's Landing is no beauty, but it deserves to be saved. Here are five reasons why:
5. Miami Has Enough Multi-Use Entertainment Complexes
How many of you have been to Cocowalk, the Shops at Sunset Place, or Bayside Marketplace lately? These lifestyle and entertainment complexes are fairly new, totally gorgeous -- and filled with vacant storefronts. The tenants that survive are large corporate chains that can afford to have loss leaders to say they have a store in Miami or Coconut Grove. But even these are leaving. Niketown recently pulled out of Sunset Place and Yogurbella closed in Cocowalk. And Bayside is filled with food court vendors and dollar stores. Instead of building a brand new waterfront mall, why not encourage small businesses to fill up the vacant spaces at these already-standing centers?

4. Revere the Dive Bar

Haven't we learned anything from Travel Channel and Food Network? People love dive bars and restaurants just as much as five-star, chef-driven extravaganzas. People travel to New Orleans or New York to explore the dive bar scene in a city. When I travel somewhere, I rarely get locals saying, "ooh you simply must try the Dom at Chateau Fifi." They tell me where to get a good drink at a dark, stanky bar that also makes a decent burger..or fish dip... or oysters. Because that's where most of us have memories of dear friends and good times. We may celebrate our birthday every year at Azul, but we celebrate the end of the work week every Friday at Scotty's.

3. Kid... And Grandma... And Dog Friendly
I have dinner at Scotty's frequently. My husband and I will pack up our mutt Harry and take him for a walk. We pass the sign welcoming well behaved dogs. Harry knows the way and picks up the pace the minute we head for the marina, the salt air filling his nostrils. We come for the beer. Harry comes for the fish dip. As we park ourselves at one of the white plastic tables, I look around. There's not one time that I don't see a melange of tables filled with multi-generational families, groups of co-workers, and people with their hounds (most of them jaunty in bandanas). Everyone's welcome here. The menu isn't farm-to-table, but it's accessible to everyone. Burgers, fish sandwiches, fritters. Oh, and Harry's dip. So my terrier prefers fish dip to a piece of delicately seared ahi. Guess what? So do I!

2. What's Wrong With a Little Nostalgia?

Back in the 1970's South Beach was considered a dilapidated, disgusting wasteland filled with ugly ramshackle old buildings, drug addicts, and the elderly. "Tear it down and put up condos!" was the war cry of developers who saw dollar signs in their eyes. But Barbara Capitman saw the potential in these dive-y, broken down old structures. In 1976 she formed the Miami Design Preservation League and led a drive to save these ugly eyesores. By the way, people come from around the world to see these nasty old structures. It's called Deco Drive now and it's one of the most iconic neighborhoods in the world. I'm not saying that Scotty's Landing is as pretty as, say, the Park Central Hotel on Ocean Drive in South Beach. But I am saying that what's old and ugly to some...is beautiful and nostalgic to others. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I think Scotty's is beautiful.

1. Music With A Killer View On The Cheap

Quick! Name five places where you can listen to good live music (and no, a DJ does not constitute live music) without a cover charge in Miami? Now name five places where you can listen to good live music and get a really good cheap drink? OK, now name five places where you can listen to good live music without a cover, cheap drink in hand -- while taking in the moonlight playing over Biscayne Bay.  Bet you could only name one! Look guys, Jimbo's is gone! The Rusty Pelican has gentrified itself. Monty's plays Yellowbird over and over and over again for the tourists who think they're already on their Carnival cruise. Tobacco Road has no view! Scotty's Landing might very well be the only place left in Miami to listen to live music outside with a drink!

scottyslandingandbeer.jpg
Laine Doss
Killer view. Live music. Cheap beer. Fish dip. Dogs. Come on, guys!
Argue all you want that the place is trashy (it is), the food isn't great (it's not gourmet), or that the bathrooms are filthy (hold it in until you get home). If you want to discuss in person, I'll be at the bar, frosty mug in hand, with my dog as the band plays "Freebird" while the sun sets over the bay.

Save Scotty's Landing!

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Location Info

Scotty's Landing

3381 Pan American Drive, Coconut Grove, FL

Category: Restaurant


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12 comments
blanca_zeledon
blanca_zeledon

Save SCOTTY'S LANDING ... Come and join us. From 8/30/12 to 9/02/12.

Lois Smithers
Lois Smithers

Great article, Laine!  I'm the woman who arrives most Friday nights with my fun boxer, Rhianna, who loves Scotty's as much as I do. All of those who care about our last remaining old Grove establishment staying put should band together and let our feelings be known. Would it help?  Who knows but I do know it is important that we try. 

Knickej
Knickej

It's all about the ambiance, the music, the eclectic mix of patrons at Scotty's. I love a 5 star restaurant just as much as the next guy but Miami needs to support places like Scotty's Landing where everyone can kick back and enjoy an unpretentious, relaxed, 'old Miami' experience...away from Cocowalk's cookie cutter establishments...

Bigtimejones
Bigtimejones

The best reason NOT to replace Scotty's Landing with something "nicer and newer" is found next door at The Chart House. It would be a disaster.

Brendan
Brendan

I agree that the general esthetic of the area should not change, however, the food at the present location leaves much to be desired. Perhaps a less drastic make-over is not a bad idea. I am a restaurant owner who would happily run an establishment with equally approachable pricing with dramatically improved quality. It can be done. With some minor cosmetic improvements and a little realistic imagination, we can avoid another, other, coco walk.

Ernie Roche
Ernie Roche

We sure as hell dont need another touristy spot...  not to mention WASTING!!! more taxes on it... Let it ride as is!!! 

Ernieroche
Ernieroche

We sure as hell dont need another touristy spot...  not to mention WASTING!!! more taxes on it... Let it ride as is!!! 

Yak
Yak

Please not another Cocowalk!

Schwettin
Schwettin

The food is not the issue to the City, rather it is the rent revenue from the property as a whole. With the current leases expiring the question the City faces is how to get the best financial value from this property. This comment assumes, of course, they don't count any money passed under the table or "legally" to well-connected "consultants."

That said, it would be a total shame for the City to let these properties become another CocoWalk. One in the neighborhood is enough.

I love going to Scotty's. I hope they find a way to participate in a winning bid that changes the Marina and Scotty's as little as possible. As for the Convention Center property ... well, pretty much anything could go there as an improvement.

Mysiboney
Mysiboney

Why does the elected establishment think that killing local history as well as local, community establishments is in the best interest of the city. Does the electorate feel the need for a board governed, national chain, "city of Miami " approved tourist trap? Do we as Miamians need another characterless "stadium" or another "Bayside " stop the stupid insanity! !!!!!!!

Laine Doss
Laine Doss

 Let me know - I live in the Grove and I'm there for a beer whenever the mood strikes and the dog is hungry.

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