114 // INTO THE ORA
Miami nightlife disciples are upping the ante with Ora, a discotheque unlike any other.
“Clubs have become about who is deejaying,” says Opium Group veteran Ryan Van Milligen of the billion-dollar DJ scene that’s catapulted Miami into the international nightlife spotlight. With his new club Ora, however, he’s returning to “the heart and soul of what made Miami nightlife great” with a venue that will add even more of a scene. Van Milligen and his partner Dana Dwyer tell us why…
Ryan Van Milligen: Exclusive, grand, and luxurious. It’s all about the environment, the vibes, the people, and the energy. The goal is for people who fly in on a private jet to walk in and say, “Man, I belong here.”
Dana Dwyer: There’s a lot of patterns and detailed molding work, two-way mirrors, art throughout the venue. There’s no bar, wall, or ceiling that isn’t custom-made.
THE FOCAL POINT: RVM: We have a multimillion-dollar ceiling with 26 eight-foot-wide LED panels that have crystals and smoke mirrors. The whole ceiling moves, waves, and drops.
THE PEOPLE: RVM: Everyone in the club should be a celebrity, local, fun, artsy, or an industry elite person you know, want to know, want to look at or interact with.
THE LOUNGE: RVM: The Anti-social Lounge is warm, dark, intimate—like a New York/ London speakeasy. You can come get a nice oldfashioned with tequila and jalapeño [the No Country for Old Men], have conversation, and [experience] a totally different vibe than the high energy, volume, and show downstairs. DD: It’s a lair of the club where it’s about the people, interactions, and adding a cocktail element. We’re doing a Taschen bookshelf installation so people can bring [books] back to tables and start conversation.
COCKTAILS: RVM: Rodger Gillespie has been in Vegas for the last 10 years at concepts like the Bellagio. He created a really unique and interactive mixology program. DD: In the main room, we’ll have tableside mixology with butlers and hand-shaken martinis.
BEST NIGHT TO VISIT: RVM: Friday is house music night. Saturday is more open-format, collective music, and every once in a while there’ll be a [surprise] performance. We want [people to] wonder, What will happen tonight?
THE MEANING BEHIND “ORA”: RVM: “Ora” is Latin for beach. Miami Beach is the heart and soul of what made Miami nightlife great. We wanted to play on that, so when someone asks, “Where are you going out?,” you say, “Ora.”
THE DOOR SITUATION: RVM: We never charge a cover. We think whoever walks into Ora is a VIP. 2000 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-912-1010; oranightclub.com
MIAMI NIGHTLIFE DISCIPLES RYAN VAN MILLIGEN, DANA DWYER, GREG SEE, AND YANI ONTOS ARE UPPING THE ANTE WITH ORA, A DISCOTHEQUE UNLIKE ANY OTHER.
Partners (from left) Dana Dwyer, Ryan Van Milligen, Greg See, and Yani Kontos have created a club that relies less on celebrity DJS and more on making every patron feel like a VIP.