Redefining the 'real' Miami night life experience

Crowd: An endless supply of young girls with long manicured nails, short skirts and 4-inch heels and men in collared shirts spilled out of Range Rovers and onto the sidewalk.

Highlights: A lineup of famous DJs such as Calvin Harris and Kascade.

Conclusion: Go early and make sure you're on a list. It had that big Vegas feel and could be a fun night out, if you get in.

Info: 136 Collins Ave.; (305) 479-4426, http://www.story.wanttickets.com. Open 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Drink prices vary.

Rec Room

Vibe: The palm trees, circular booths, DJ surrounded by vinyl records, old-school Igloo lunch box, Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" album and vintage wrestler figurines make you feel as if you're at a house party in a friend of a friend's basement.

Overheard: Depeche Mode's "I Promise You I Will" and Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis Eyes."

Crowd: Girls in floral sundresses raised full drinks above their heads and danced on top of their seats; guys sat cross-legged in the corners sipping their beverages; and a group of partyers in the middle sang along to every song.

Highlights: The attention paid to the décor: You're transported to another time, and you can't help but feel a little groovy.

Conclusion: This place, in the Gale hotel, has real character and deserves a clientele that wants something more than an average night out.

Info: 1690 Collins Ave.; (786) 975-2599, http://www.galehotel.com/nightlife. Open from 11 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays-Saturdays. Specialty drinks $12-$16.

FDR

Vibe: The Vegas Strip — Miami style — at the Delano Hotel. Low, tiered chandeliers make it upscale, and the brown leather seats make it comfortable and intimate. You're in a dark, subterranean space, the music is playing and the sun may be up when you finally make your way outside.

Overheard: Classic club songs and top 40 hits.

Crowd: A diverse mash-up looking for different things. Older men in white shirts enjoyed their pretty cocktail server and their bottle service, younger kids danced in groups and stragglers sat at the bar watching the action.

Highlights: The bar had actual stools and was an actual place to sit and have a drink rather than a place to stand and elbow your way to the bartender.

Conclusion: A mega-club feel without the mega venue. Good, stiff drinks, good music and a good crowd.

Info: 1685 Collins Ave.; (305) 924- 4071, http://www.delano-hotel.com. Open 11 p.m.- 5 a.m. Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Drinks $15-20.

Regent Cocktail Club

Vibe: An old-school lounge, also in the Gale hotel, where you're meant to sit back in a luxurious leather booth and sip a cocktail. The music is low, and it's easy to have a conversation with someone next to you or even across the table. Bartenders in tuxes make drinks behind the dark wood-paneled bar. I half expected to spot Frank Sinatra in the corner.