Miami, one of the country’s top nightlife destinations, has a robust on-premise scene. Standing apart in this crowded market can be difficult, but KNR Hospitality Group has carved a niche by focusing on service, design, and rising mixologists and chefs. The company was founded more than a decade ago and is managed by a team of longtime Miami residents who’ve worked in a variety of the city’s on-premise businesses. Their familiarity with the market, along with their knowledge of what works in the city and what best attracts locals and out-of-town guests, has helped make KNR Hospitality Group a respected operator in a saturated environment.
“We’re a small, boutique hospitality company, and our focus from day one has been on elements that make a property unique—design, mixology and young chefs,” says KNR Hospitality cofounder and managing partner Nicola Siervo. “For us, an important aspect is consistency and service. We like to do small, intimate venues—bars, restaurants, clubs—so we can manage them well and make sure our service is good. There’s a lot of competition in Miami, but we’ve lived here for 25 years. Being local is a key factor. We were one of the first companies in Miami to have a global vision for our venues.”
KNR launched its first restaurant in 2006 with the opening of Quattro Gastronomia Italiana in Miami Beach. More than a decade later, the venue is still a popular eatery and is part of a larger portfolio of on-premise concepts that also includes four drinks and dining spots in the W South Beach hotel and an additional Quattro location in Mexico City. Ultimately, Siervo says he’d like to add several more Quattro locations around the globe, as well as establish new concepts. KNR has two new projects slated to open next year—a nightlife destination and a restaurant, both in Miami. The company’s annual revenues are expected to top $20 million this year, with beverage alcohol being a primary contributor.
Located in an open-air mall, Quattro Gastronomia Italiana serves Northern Italian fare and boasts a 300-bottle wine list. The venue’s menu offers starters like thinly sliced veal, grilled octopus, and cheese and Bolognese sauce–stuffed crispy rice balls ($16 to $22), as well as larger fish and meat dishes, including Mediterranean sea bass and ossobuco ($26 to $50). These are joined by a variety of house-made pasta selections, from fresh gnocchi to lobster-topped tagliolini to braised beef ravioli ($18 to $32). Quattro Miami Beach also has a truffle menu that highlights seasonal white truffles from Alba in Piedmont, Italy. The specialty menu lists a Fontina cheese fondue, risotto and beef tenderloin, all incorporating truffles ($40 to $95).
Drinks are a key part of the experience at Quattro, and the restaurant has an expansive beverage program that includes several spirits-forward specialty cocktails, Prosecco-based mixed drinks and wines. The venue’s cocktails ($15) all incorporate Italian influences and Miami flare. Signatures include the Quattrino, which mixes Aperol, Campari, Colle Manora Mila Chardonnay and fresh grapefruit juice, and the Spicy Pear, a blend of Grey Goose La Poire, Captain Morgan’s Original Spiced rum, pear nectar and lemon juice. Prosecco cocktails ($15) range from a Bellini and Spritz to the Royal Blossom, comprising Acinum Extra Dry Prosecco, Pavan liqueur and grapefruit juice.
Quattro’s wine list is equally Italian-focused, with an emphasis on Piedmont and Northern Italy. The lengthy list highlights wines like Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera and Dolcetto, but also includes labels from Tuscany, Campania, Friuli, Alto Adige and Lombardy, among other Italian regions. Winemaker Nicola Schon, the vintner for Colle Manora vineyard in Monferrato, is an owner and partner in Quattro and has considerable influence on the concept’s wine list. The restaurant’s wine offerings range from Ambo Pinot Grigio to Astorre Noti Brunello de Montalcino by the glass ($13 to $25) and Cantine Bertani Soave to Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia by the bottle ($39 to $450). The reserve wine list also includes specialty offerings like the 2001 Tenuta Dell’Ornellaia Masseto ($2,250 a 750-ml.).
“Our company’s leaders have experience in restaurants and nightclubs,” Siervo says. “We put a lot of attention on details, and we bring the details that are important for a restaurant to our bars. We’ve always been interested in having great mixology talent, just like with young and upcoming chefs. We consider our mixologists to be the chefs of the bar. Our mixology team is very dedicated and that makes a difference.”
Joe Weis, KNR Hospitality’s director of food and beverage, notes that the company’s drinks programs have become a lot more creative over the last decade. His bartending staff starts working hours before their venues open to prepare fresh ingredients and they also make their own tonics and juices. “Our bars look like laboratories and if you come in early, it’s intense,” Weis says. “The drinks’ visuals are as important as taste and we encourage guests to use all of their senses for drinks. Beverage is a huge component for us and we’re very committed to it. At one point, we brought in mixologists from around the country to help us create a program that’s ahead of the Miami market so that locals and guests from around the world will seek out our bars.”
KNR owns the Quattro concept outright and is the managing partner for several of the food and beverage outlets in the W South Beach hotel. The upscale hotel houses four on-premise KNR-managed venues—the restaurant The Dutch, the cocktail den Living Room Bar & Lounge, the nightclub Wall Lounge and the pool venue Wet. KNR has also worked with other hoteliers, including Thompson Miami Beach and Hotel Astor in Miami and Trump SoHo in New York City, but those partnerships are no longer active. One of the company’s forthcoming projects is a similar partnership, though details were not finalized at press time.
“Being in a five-star hotel—and one of the top hotels in Miami—we attract a certain clientele,” Siervo says of the W South Beach. “We mix locals with tourists. This city has been evolving for the last 25 years and now it’s growing so fast. We’ve grown with the city and more opportunities have come our way with that. We hope our venues start as destinations and become landmarks.”
An American restaurant and oyster room, The Dutch features a menu created by New York City chef Andrew Carmellini. Standout dishes from the main dining room include pappardelle topped with lamb ragu, red snapper in a spiced broth and a bone-in New York strip steak (entrées are $22 to $65). The venue’s oyster room focuses on fresh seafood and offers a variety of chilled platters that incorporate oysters, clams, shrimp, ceviche and tartare (oysters start at $3.50 each; caviar is $100; seafood platters are $90 to $140). Cocktails at The Dutch trend toward fruit-centric, refreshing options like the Pineapple Baby, comprising Casa Noble Crystal Tequila, Strega liqueur, pineapple and lemon juices, and cilantro (cocktails are $15). The venue also offers a lengthy spirits menu ($12 to $77 a 1½-ounce pour), a variety of craft beers ($8 to $21 a draft pour, bottle or can) and wines ($12 to $65 a glass; $40 to $7,995 a 750-ml.).
“At The Dutch, our oyster program is doing extremely well,” Weis says. “The seafood towers are a big draw for people. We also created a happy hour at The Dutch with half-off oysters and premium Champagnes like Dom Pérignon, and that’s been a huge driver for people. It’s become a local and hotel guest favorite.”
While wine is a big component at The Dutch, the W South Beach’s other KNR venues are much more mixology focused. Living Room offers a small menu of snacks and shareable plates ($9 to $24) and a list of 20-plus specialty drinks ($16). Signatures include the Grim Fandango, blending Sombra mezcal, fresh-squeezed lime and lemon juices, agave syrup, and egg white, topped with Beringer Quantum Red Blend, and the Eden, made with Fifty Pounds gin, Lillet Blanc aperitif, Giffard Crème de Violette liqueur, St-Germain elderflower liqueur and fresh basil.
Meanwhile, the pool bar Wet has a variety of food options, from snacks and sandwiches ($9 to $24) to oysters and pizzas ($17 to $40), along with standard and large-format mixed drinks and a selection of Champagnes and still wines. Wet’s cocktail list includes alcohol-enhanced lemonades; classics like the Margarita, Daiquiri and Collins; and signatures like the Lazy Daze, comprising Captain Morgan Pineapple rum, orange juice, muddled strawberries and simple syrup, topped with Voga Prosecco (cocktails are $16 a glass and $96 to $116 a pitcher). Sparkling wine bottle service ranges from $65 for a 750-ml. of Voga Prosecco to $800 for Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne.
Weis estimates that beverage alcohol makes up 90 percent of total sales at Living Room and 60 percent of total sales at Wet. “Rum is really coming back,” he adds. “At one time, it was all about vodka, but now we see rums and Tequilas on the rise.”
Living Room and Wet both have late night components, but Wall Lounge is KNR’s largest nightlife concept. The club aims to be a nightlife respite, eschewing some of the more traditional club components like a large and crowded dance floor for a more intimate atmosphere. Wall hosts DJs regularly, but it focuses on table service instead of a large dance space (on some nights, tables have no minimums, but on average tables start at $1,000). The club serves no food and emphasizes bottle service, offering several marques of big-name Champagne labels like Dom Pérignon, Veuve Clicquot, Louis Roederer Cristal and Armand de Brignac (from $400 for a 750-ml. of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label to $15,000 for a 3-liter bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal). Wall also lists a variety of spirits bottles (from $350 to $1,500 a 750-ml.).
“Wall is an intimate, VIP bottle service-club, and we bring bottles out with lights and sparklers,” says Navin Chatani, KNR’s director of nightlife. “People come to Wall for the intimacy of the venue. Five years ago, the nightclub business in Miami was primarily driven by big clubs and DJs, but that’s starting to change. People now prefer more small, intimate and personal venues. Our company has clubs and bars, and our focus is on all of outlets. The clientele is changing, but we have outlets for everyone.