In the courtyard, lights glow golden while white wicker chairs and ample, lush flora frame the scene. As night falls, the buzz in the garden intensifies—the lights burn deeper, and the greenery takes on a distinct shade of Magic City blue. This rarefied area is the patio of Swan, the Miami Design District restaurant owned by Groot Hospitality founder David Grutman and multi-hyphenate creative Pharrell Williams. On most nights—week in and week out—it is one of the city’s hottest doors.
– David Grutman
Grutman, a native of Naples, Florida, is a consummate man-about-town. He drives a Bentley Mulsanne, lives at the Zaha Hadid-designed One Thousand Museum— the only residential skyscraper in Miami with a private helipad—and was once named one of the 50 most important people in electronic dance music by Rolling Stone magazine.
In 2008, Grutman opened the opulent LIV nightclub at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, and by 2014, it was the highest-grossing nightclub in the U.S. Not surprisingly, LIV regularly features A-list talent in its booth and consistently draws celebrity patrons, most of whom are on a first-name basis with Grutman.
Besides Swan, Groot Hospitality’s holdings include Japanese-inspired steak house Gekkō, owned in partnership with musician Bad Bunny; The Key Club, an American bistro in Coconut Grove with Brazilian undertones; Papi Steak, an intimate, star-filled steak house located in Miami Beach’s South of Fifth neighborhood; Komodo, a mega-popular Brickell neighborhood-based Southeast Asian restaurant that just opened its second location in Dallas; and Strawberry Moon, a Mediterranean hideaway at Miami Beach’s The Goodtime Hotel, another Williams/Grutman collaboration.
An avid tennis player and self-professed talker, the affable Grutman knows how to have a good time—and takes pleasure in making sure everyone else does too. “What we try to do is deliver an experience that you can only get at Groot,” says Grutman. “And it comes down to a formula combining upscale dining, luxe decor, incredible entertainment, and highly shareable moments.”
Hints of Swan’s tropical oasis vibes will be found in Grutman and Williams’ newest project—a resort called Somewhere Else, planned to open on Atlantis Paradise Island, the famed Bahamian destination known globally for its conch-pink towers and extensive amenities.
The opening is about a year away, but once Somewhere Else arrives, travelers should expect around 400 rooms and suites, multiple Groot Hospitality food and beverage sites (including both new and existing concepts), and plenty of places for revelry or relaxation.
“We’re aiming for a balance at Somewhere Else,” says Grutman. “It can be a place to really let loose, or a place to find a quiet corner and relax. And it will really accommodate both of those mindsets. The focus is going to be on the grounds and being outside. It’s going to be beautiful.”
With the recent opening of Komodo in Dallas, Groot Hospitality has already started its expansion into other markets. Expect many more cities to follow in due course.
“No matter what concept or theme we’re working around,” says Grutman, “what you’ll always find at a Groot property across the board is an atmosphere that’s high energy, high impact, and highly memorable.” Just like the man himself.