November 28, 2022

The Refraction Local Guide to Miami

Miami 2022 is one of America’s most diverse and culturally interesting cities—bilingual, international and with a thriving art scene. While many glorify the familiar aura of the city—a portrait of hedonistic crypto vice—an alternative future is emerging among its diverse underground community of electronic and experimental musicians, DJs and fans. Together they are creating new narratives around visual art, sound and experience, while building and growing underground street art communities, music festivals and web3 initiatives like Miami Community Radio.  Miami’s emergent scene is rooted in independent local movements with a global reach, themes that resonate with Refraction’s ethos. In its curation, this week’s Refraction Festival provide an alternative perspective of Miami in this week-long art marathon.

Explore the Refraction Local Guide on Google Maps

Leading up to our 3-day festival during Miami Art Week, we’ve asked some of the local talent on our lineup to share what they love about their city, how it’s changing, and some of their go-to spots. From a 24 hour Cuban coin laundry cafe to the best record shop in the city, locals Bitter Babe, INVT and Nicholas G. Padilla tipped us off on some of their favorite places to eat, drink, shop, and dance this week. They also blessed us with their most iconic tracks that for them represent the sound of Miami. 

Welcome to Refraction’s Local Guide to Miami.

Lede image art by Greg Liburd powered by Generate.

Nicholas G. Padilla

Nicholas G. Padilla is a 1st generation LatAm Mulatto/Mestizo Music Producer/DJ, independent Researcher and interdisciplinary artist based in Milan and Miami. His roots are Taino and his lineage is from Puerto Rico, Cuba and Venezuela. He is a co-founder of Miami Community Radio. 

What makes Miami special to you?

Miami is undergoing a paradigmatic shift right now. The diasporic roots run deep no matter what nationality residents may come from and creative curation/programming is being pushed to their boundaries. Miami has a spirit to it that can’t be escaped, she follows you no matter where you are in the world. 

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen happening in the area that affects art, music & culture?

The biggest change is the diminishing of artist owned/run spaces and DIY spaces. There’s also been an influx of incredible talent passing through the city thanks to promoters/programmers/curators willing to take the risk. 

Nicholas’ local picks:

El Pub on Calle Ocho (8th Street) is a staple for all things Cuban food and colada (Cuban coffee). 

Mary’s Coin Laundry is the go to since they’re 24 hours and have been a go to spot since I was a teen.

Panther Coffee is a big one for me, I have had memorable meetings there and the cold brews are stellar.  

Technique Records is a dope spot to go crate digging, especially if you stop by while Jinks is on his shift. 


INVT is the multidisciplinary art project of Luca Medici and Delbert Perez. The duo specialize in electronic music and fashion design.

What makes Miami special to you? 

Miami got the sauce. The bright colors, salsa playing on the beach, and the sexy Latin energy. Wildest sunsets on earth. Great beaches and tropical weather. Something is in the water, because the creative energy flowing through our city is insane and it is an energy that has been present for generations. We grew up here and the foundation of our project is a reflection of our experiences in Miami.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen happening in the area that affects art, music & culture?

Miami is in a new chapter. In all aspects, but especially for electronic music. The artists are making more noise than ever and putting the city on the map, once again. 

We still need more spaces. However, the spaces we do have and platforms like III Points have provided a lot of advantages for the artists coming out of Miami. 

INVT’s local picks:

Luna Pasta e Dolci - An amazing Italian Uruguayan fusion restaurant with the best Empanadas and Pasta you will ever experience. Every plate is an art piece and served with the warmest welcome as if you were in your own home.

The Corner Bar - A Miami classic. Hanging there you will see all kinds of characters from Miami’s entire Spectrum all while sipping on the best Draft Beers.

Floyd - Miami’s favorite red room. This club has provided some of the most educational experiences of dance music within the last 3 Years. This is where we performed our second live set ever. It's the best place to connect and meet Miami’s native artists, organizers, fans, and more.

Bitter Babe

Bitter Babe is a multidisciplinary artist and DJ who hails from Bogotá, Colombia. Her cutting edge selection blends Latin-inspired percussive rhythms ranging from dembow, raptor house, tribal, guaracha, reggaeton, brazilian funk, with bass heavy, low end groove club music.

What makes Miami special to you?

The community of talented people I've met since I moved here is what made me stay in Miami. This new generation of artists in music, painting, fashion, photography, and design is very prolific and fresh. We are all building and creating together towards something long lasting and it is very special to be part of it.  Also the nice weather all year long, even when it is too hot, and the beach and nature. I also enjoy the mix of Latin cultures and what that comes with like food and the way people relate to each other is warm and affectionate.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen happening in the area that affects art, music & culture?

Miami is getting more and more attention globally and that is creating a certain kind of hope amongst local artists, making them realize that they don't need to move away anymore to be able to be known for what they do. From my perspective, it's one of the main reasons why Miami was a bit in the shadows before, people came and only stayed for short seasons moving away to pursue their arts somewhere where they could get the attention. That made it hard to create something long lasting, but things are changing and I'm hopeful and excited to see what it will be in a few years.

Bitter Babe’s local picks:

Paradis Books & Bread- If you love finding books that can help radicalize you and tasty wine, this place is definitely a must. They also bake bread to die for. It's a cozy, very special bar in north Miami

Dale Zine - Is a zine publisher and bookstore, they also use the space as a gallery where local artists have monthly exhibitions, you can find amazing magazines, prints, books, journals, art and so much more. The curation and vibe feels unique and fresh.

Technique Records - For digging those rare records or buying gear.  (Our number 1 pick!)

The Sound of Miami Song Picks

Nicholas G. Padilla:

  1. Justice A. Gonzalez - I
  2. INVT & Nick León - SWAMP TEK
  3. DJ Magic Mike - Feel the Bass III
  4. Soul Oddity - People Party
  5. Alpha 606 - Samborg / Anarchy In Cuba


  1. Danny Daze - Miami 
  3. Nick León - Bachetrón
  4. Coffintexts & Jonny From Space - Talk To Me 
  5. Soul Oddity - Freq Shift

Bitter Babe:

  1. Uprock - klockwerk oranj 
  2. Ghost Town DJs - My Boo 
  3. Pitbull - Culo 
  4. Nick León - Xtasis Feat. DJ Babatr
  5. Coffintexts & Jonny From Space - Cienfuegos

Carly Eiseman
Carly Eiseman is an LA based digital painter, culture writer and uxr producer. She’s survived web1, web2 and is happily immersed in the imaginative ethos of web3. Since 2018, she has participated in a daily painting practice wherever she is around the world and encourages others to join in the process. A former travel editor, she is always on the hunt for great finds from locals everywhere she goes, especially her favorite curators: DJs and musicians.

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