Miami Bars & Nightlife
Bars & Nightlife neighborhood
Bodega Taqueria y Tequila
1220 16 St., South Beach
The street-facing half of Bodega is a busy taco counter joint set up like a tricked-out auto garage with bright graffiti splashes and neon barstools. At the otherwise unassuming back door (which looks like the exterior to a porta-potty), you’ll see a bouncer occasionally motioning waiting guests into the speakeasy behind it, which has an entirely different feel. Dark and swanky, the space is set up with a wood bar that stretches the length of the bottom floor, and plush couches that create pocket lounge areas for a full, buzzing crowd (that skews young). A winding staircase leads to an upper lounge that's perched above the bar.
176 NW 24 St., Wynwood
This great little Wynwood bar, which famously opened with gator wrestling during Art Basel, somehow manages to feel all-in Miami without offering a hint of South Beach. Part of the formula has to do with owner Adam Gerster, a native Miamian with an excellent sense of humor who named the place after his grandfather. There's live music on a stage in the back most nights, and we recommend arriving a little early so you can skip the line and play bocce on the patio before it gets dark out. Check out the tables in the booths, which feature collages by local creatives under a layer of epoxy.
1701 Collins Ave., Mid-Beach
This Phillipe Starck-designed club in the SLS has ridiculously good food and cocktails courtesy of Jose Andrés and Katsuya Uechi, which is a big part of the reason it's the place to go when you're in the mood for a rowdy, full-on South Beach pool party situation. Located inside the SLS hotel, you'll find beach access, a live DJ, and plenty of bright, striped cabanas and lounge chairs. Check the schedule in advance, as lines can get long (and covers can get expensive) when they have a big DJ on site.
1111 Lincoln Rd., South Beach
Juvia is located at the top of the Swiss designed Herzog & de Meuron Lincoln Road parking garage, which sits at the east end of Miami’s popular pedestrian-only shopping stretch. The kitchen here is helmed by a trio of chefs: Sunny Oh (who spent a decade at Nobu), Laurent Cantineaux (who studied under Daniel Boulud), and Gregory Gourreau (who runs the pastry program after having worked with Alain Ducasse, François Payard, and Boulud, too). It’s a pricier menu—that comes with a fabulous, sweeping view of the city, made for celebratory-feeling cocktails. Try the refreshing cucumis—tequila with cucumber, lime, and a hibiscus salt rim.
9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour
Stephen Starr has been opening Miami restaurants at rapid-fire pace, and one of our favorites by far is the sunny, colorfully decorated Le Zoo in Bal Harbour. There's a lovely French-inspired menu, but we come for the gorgeous (and beautifully designed) drink list, which includes carefully selected wine and beer, plus a few tasteful, straightforward cocktails. It's the perfect place to stop in for a glass of wine or an Aperol spritz to break up a day of window shopping at Bal Harbour's pristine boutiques.
Martini Bar at the Raleigh
1775 Collins Ave., Mid-Beach
Hidden inside The Raleigh Hotel, the Martini Bar has been a Miami staple for more than 70 years. The old-school mahogany bar (backdropped with every bottle imaginable) is staffed with some of the city's best bartenders, who specialize in cocktails made with super fresh ingredients, like the Russian Spring Punch, a vodka drink made with raspberries and lemon juice syrup, or the Never Say Never, a rum drink with strawberry, mint, and basil. Needless to say, an extra-dirty martini is still the order of choice.
709 NE 79 St., Biscayne Bay
This bar, which took over the space formerly occupied by the beloved Magnum Lounge, has a few themes going on—it's part tropical, part '80s, and more than a little kitschy. Themes aside, it's owned by a mashup of notable Miami restaurant alums from places like Broken Shaker, Workshop, and Vagabond, so the cocktails are excellent—pick up rum drinks at the tiki shack outside, or 80's-esque cosmos and appletinis inside near the juke box. Food-wise, you can expect an adventurous menu of bar snacks like a Korean vegetable pancake with kale and kimchi, or a burger with aged comte, caramelized onions, and horseradish crème fraich—they also have nacho fries, if that's more your style.
The Broken Shaker
2727 Indian Creek Dr., Mid-Beach
At the corner of Indian Creek and 28th Street, tucked away behind the Roman & Williams-designed Freehand Hostel (a reimagining of a historic Art Deco building), you'll find the most charming bar in Miami. There’s a romantic, finished tiki-like space at the entrance, lined with vintage wallpaper and wood paneling. Beyond it, a brick patio sits in the middle of a tropical forest of plants and leaning trees, outfitted with mix-and-match chaise loungers and wicker chairs, strings of white lights criss-crossing overhead. A pool completes the feeling of the Instagram-worthy backyard you want to linger in all day. It’s not all adorable ambience, though—the drinks, which change by month and season, are great. Last time we were in town we had a vodka concoction with ginger, carrot, sage, and citrus (for starters), but the daily punch is a go-to for some regular patrons.
2360 Collins Ave., Mid-Beach
This is really a restaurant (they even have brunch), but given the old-school ambiance and excellent cocktails, you're more likely to find yourself here for a drink or happy hour. The décor, taking its lead from the Googie-esque architecture and vintage sign, skews mid-century, with a brightly colored patio, Verner Panton-style acrylic S chairs, and neon green barstools. As for the cocktails, their over-the-top garnishes give good reason to indulge in something fruity, like the Bump & Rind, a blend of tequila, mezcal, watermelon, and mint served with a pink flamingo, or the Dragonfruit Mule, a variation on the Moscow version that comes with dragonfruit purée.
2531 NW 2 Ave., Wynwood
Located in the heart of Wynwood around the corner from the walls, this tavern is filled with street art that rotates seasonally. We love it for the tacos, which are eaten off of picnic tables in the back open-air patio, and the clientele, which includes much of the city's creative class and is blessedly free of the tourists you'll find across the bridge.
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