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Weed Cellars Arrives in Florida, Just in Time for Miami Beach Pride

by Ryan Leeds

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday September 14, 2021

  (Source:Nathan's Bar)

Frequent LGBTQ+ bar-hopping Floridians likely know Nathan Paul Smith from Twist, a mainstay club that has provided South Beach with endless nights of entertainment. In September 2020, Smith switched gears and opened his own business in a nearby venue named Nathan's Bar. The club has been going strong ever since it opened its doors, with customers gravitating towards Smith's eye for new products and an always-welcoming vibe.

Next month, Smith plans to host a launch event for Weed Cellars, one of the only brands that produces wine, spirits, and beer. (There's no CBD or THC in any of the products.) At Nathan's, Smith predicts that his customers will be drawn to the company's eye-catching Pride bottle, an impressively packaged wine that consists of 80% Chenin Blanc and 20% Viognier.

[READ MORE: Weed Cellars Pours Pride With New Release and South Florida Arrival]

(Source: Weed Cellars)

Smith recently spoke with EDGE Media Network about the product. "I was immediately drawn to the label," Smith said. "Any representation of the LGBTQ+ community is important to me, and they hit the mark with that. When I opened, I wanted our motto to be 'Acceptance for all.' Even though I'm a gay man and my staff is gay, I don't like to be exclusive. If we want full acceptance, we have to let certain things go and just be one instead of being dissected. The Weed Cellars brand — and particularly the pride bottle — really represents that sense of unity. If you're at Nathan's, you're accepted. Simple as that. I also like the playful nature that the Weed Cellars brand offers."

It's one of the main reasons Smith decided to take the plunge and open his own space. "I wanted to give people a safe space to escape from the craziness of life. After 2020, I think we learned that we all need to come together and take better care of each other," he said.

Smith explained the origins of the bar. "I had a business plan in mind 10 years ago. My business partner at the time, Richard Trainer, and I had plans to open a video bar, but Richard sadly passed. When this opportunity hit, I took the numbers that Richard had given me to my current business partner, Derek Gonzalez. He had this current location without a liquor license attached to it. I had no idea if it was going to work, but I used to bartend at Twist, and I knew if I went back there, I probably wouldn't be going back to the Twist of March 2020."

Fortunately, the space provides the benefit of outdoor seating. "We have small, TV-themed pods like 'The Big Bang Theory,' 'Friends,' 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta,' 'Will & Grace,' and 'Stranger Things.' Each pod is themed, so it helps give a nostalgic feel. It's an overflow of pop culture that helps keep the attention of the client. We opened on September 28, 2020. We continue to be busy every day. I am eternally blessed and grateful to everybody — and I literally mean everybody. I am also the main veejay for the video bar. I take remixes and use the video of that song or performance of the artist singing that song to create my own video content. What is unique is that I'll show these videos only at the bar. They are unavailable on YouTube or other online outlets. I tend to do more Top 40, but I also do throw-backs."

Smith's emphasis on community is reflected in the bar's ongoing events. "On August 22, we'll be launching a vaccine drive with Care Resource. If it's successful, we'll do it again two weeks later. The easier we make it, the more people we'll get vaccinated. We need to end the stigma that this is political." On August 30, the bar will host a fundraiser for the families of those affected by the Surfside collapse, which happened in June.

Smith and his staff tried Weed's Pride Edition wine a few months ago and instantly fell in love with it. "There were many adjectives people used to describe it: Fresh, crisp, clean, refreshing, earthy, and acidic," said Smith. "One of my bartenders likened it to Sauvignon Blanc. It's a saturated market, but I think they are on to a great thing here."

Smith hopes to execute a product launch and tasting of the Weed Cellars Pride Wine during Miami's Pride, which kicks off with a parade on September 19. "We will be part of the parade. I'm happy that they are still going to do something," said Smith. "There will be a lot of events, and I hope the community gets behind it. It's always a busy weekend."

Traditionally, Miami Pride is held in April, but it's been bumped to September this year, given the pandemic.

"Whatever the month, we're excited to be partnering with Weed Cellars," said Smith.


For more information on Weed Cellars' portfolio, visit weedcellars.com.

Ryan Leeds is a freelance theater, food, and nightlife journalist who lives in Manhattan. He is the Chief Theater Critic for Manhattan Digest and a frequent contributor to Dramatics Magazine and The Broadway Blog. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.