Underground Miami art party opens only to the rich

Written by Chelsea Daniel, CNN

New York’s iconic hotel The Standard is having a secret party.

Dubbed an “underground lounge and pool,” the indoor venue can only be reached through secret doors. When guests enter, they are led into the spacious, black-and-white lounge. But inside, there is no street or underground way in or out.

“The platform is just a room,” said artist Dylan Gray, who curated the secret environment.

DJs, cocktails and luxury items including towels and pillows are available throughout the night — and so is the chance to party.

“There’s kind of a seriousness and exclusive aura to this, but there’s also a playfulness and freedom and vibrancy,” he said.

Art Basel Miami Beach — Art Deco at the Standard

Partygoers are greeted by a line that stretches around the restaurant and ends with crystal chandeliers, 20 burlap bags of artifacts (such as coins, beach toys and perfume bottles) and a vault of glass bottles.

Every person is given a capsule containing a bottle of water.

More food, more and more sophisticated headgear is encouraged. If you come in a fisherman’s hat or with the head of a baby elephant in your lap, chances are the lighting designers will address it.

The DJ booth, which is the centerpiece of the space, is surrounded by a table and a couch that groups close. The speakers — all speakers! — are one way in and one way out. The DJ booth is angled to maximize your body’s view of the art.

“We want to feel like we’re in this sculpture of our own making,” Gray said.

The DJ booth has crystal chandeliers, covered with sea turtles and candy. Credit: Chelsea Daniel

Expensive art is everywhere: silverwood beach sand is scattered on the floor. And at the counter are bottles of whiskey.

The possibilities are endless. This is the middle of Miami, after all.

“We just kept inviting more art, and more guests,” Gray said.

Eventually, the circular windows of the restaurant were shut down to create multiple entryways. At around 2 a.m., a few dozen bouncers began walking around the room.

Then, around 5 a.m., a group of four in jumpsuits began jumping up and down at the top of the escalators, while hissing, “What is this you say you’re having? I think we’ve found it!”

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