At LIV, one of the most glamorous, star-studded nightclubs in one of the world’s biggest party destinations, there’s a velvet-roped VIP area, and then there’s a secret VIP area. The parties at the club are so legendary they have inspired lyrics from Drake, Kanye West and Rick Ross. High rollers spend up to $20,000 just for a table.

Today, LIV sits quiet and empty — a casualty not just of the coronavirus outbreak but of a power struggle between state and local government over how to contain the scourge.

On a recent Friday, the sleek black floors and curved silver snakeskin couches were a sad sight in the harsh light of day. A bottle of hand sanitizer rested on top of the DJ booth, where back in February a man shelled out $120,000 just to sit there during a performance by Cardi B.

The puppeteer behind the parties and arguably the king of South Beach’s nightlife scene, LIV owner David Grutman, stopped by a few months ago to look at new upholstery, but he mostly stays away from the club at the center of his hospitality empire.

“I cried real tears,” the 46-year-old Grutman said of his last visit to the shuttered club and nightlife’s seemingly bygone era. “It’s really been my lifeblood.”

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