New Copa Room in Miami Beach wants to put on a show

*This article originally appeared on SouthFlorida.com*

A new Vegas-style club joined Miami Beach’s long list of nightlife venues in January. Copa Room Show and Nightclub occupies what was Icon nightclub on Washington Avenue, which replaced Mansion nightclub merely a year ago.

Like Icon, Copa Room is designed to be a show venue, with performances every 30 minutes. The layout is similar to Icon’s, though tweaks are noticeable.

One of the first parallels is the giant mask that projects moving images. Previously, it floated above the stage in the main room. Now, it hangs in the entry above a wall covered in fake vines. In front of the wall is a swing meant for photo opportunities. A man dressed in a gladiator costume lurks nearby for the same purpose.

Shawn Shahnazi came up with Copa Room’s concept. He’s owned 11 other restaurants and clubs, including Prohibition Restaurant and Speakeasy in Midtown, Vision nightclub in Coconut Grove and Alcazaba nightclub in Coral Gables.

At Copa Room, which currently is only open Fridays and Saturdays, the cover charge includes club entry and unlimited beverages from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Upstairs is much smaller, with a capacity of about 200, while Shahnazi says downstairs can serve about 1,200 people.

At the club’s grand opening on Jan. 27, a middle-aged crowd let loose on the dance floor as a Celia Cruz impersonator lit up the stage in a sparkly purple dress. Meanwhile, scantily clad women flowed through acrobatic hoops hanging above the dance floor.

In the downstairs game room, three disco balls hang above leather couches, a pool table and a Ping-Pong table. The bartenders in this room serve popcorn and frozen drinks in addition to the regular cocktails. Two large flat-screen TVs are behind the bar.

“Sometimes, you go to a club,” Shahnazi says, “and you meet a girl and you want to get away but there [is] no place. This is for that. … Or you might want to watch a game on a Saturday night.”

Copa Room features many motifs, including black-and-white chevron patterns on the floor and posters that read, “Your one-night stand starts here.” Shahnazi believes the club’s name reflects its concept.

“Miami had Living Room, Red Room and all that, so I liked that part of Miami,” Shahnazi says. “And then, ‘Copa.’ It’s a Latin flavor. … So from the traditional Copa Cabana from Cuba to all that, that was a name that I thought if you put it together, it tells you we’re a nightclub, we’re in Miami.”

Copa Room is at 1235 Washington Ave., in Miami Beach. Hours of operation are 10 p.m.-5 a.m. Friday-Saturday. Call 786-216-7785 or go to CopaRoomMiami.com.

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