The Best Wine Bars in Miami
From Champagne and oyster spots to edgy natural wines bars, here’s where to raise a glass.
Nobody is confusing Miami for “wine country.” But what we lack in rolling hills of lush vineyards we more than make up for in places to drink wine. Natural wine bars have sprung up particularly fast over the past few years, and now whether you’re downtown or up in North Miami, you can try organic and biodiverse stuff often with some pretty spectacular food. Whether you’re into French wines or just feel like a glass at the end of your commute, here are the best wine bars in Miami.
The art-filled Sagamore has never been a spot for the understated, but hidden past its front desk and tucked behind walls of unusual art sits this fermented spirits bar with the most unusual wine collection in the Beach. While it might appear like a typical champagne-and-oysters South Beach spot, Water Lion surprises with a list of wines bearing unfamiliar names, and a bar staff that’ll happily explain them all.
What started out as a breezy beachside pop-up next to Nikki Beach is now a permanent space in the Ingraham Building, an unusual-but-welcomed addition to the historic downtown office space. It’s another creation of the Bar Lab team—the folks who brought us Broken Shaker—and boasts one of the Magic City’s best collections of bubbles with over 75 different bottles. Not into sparkling stuff? That’s cool, Margot offers a menu of dozens of wines you’ve likely never seen elsewhere, and it’s the ideal place to try something new. Especially when paired with light bites and Tapas from 27 Restaurant’s Jimmy LeBron.
Key Biscayne/Coral Gables
The Key’s best happy hour destination is this small wine bar and market, where sommeliers run the room and you’ll learn more about wine sitting at the bar than you would in a lot of wine classes. Still, Vinya hosts regular tastings and education seminars if you want to become a serious oenophile. For a more full-service experience—and one that doesn’t involve crossing the Rickenbacker—hit Miracle Mile’s Vinya Table. The massive menu is presented by a team of servers who know exactly what to pair with whatever you order. And the bottle shop in the back is just as impressive as the one across the water.
Surprising it took this long for someone to have the idea of mixing a wine shop and bookstore, as the two go together as naturally as fruity drinks and hotel pools. The concept has caught on, as the mixture of natural, biodynamic wines, books, and fresh baked breads has made Paradis North Miami’s first destination drinkery. It stands as another reason North Miami is quietly one of Miami’s coolest suburbs.
Even a midcentury bedroom community like Miami Shores needs a good, walkable wine bar to relax in after work. Flight over-delivers in this regard, offering a carefully-curated selection of small-batch vintages you’d be surprised to find in a shop so small. If you haven’t heard of most of them, no worries—flight offers monthly tastings where you can stroll in and sample a bunch, so no need to commit to an entire bottle.
People who complain that Miami is too expensive and full of itself clearly don’t venture out west, where you can still find great wine in a funky atmosphere on Calle Ocho and Red Road. This family run wine shop has an epic selection of over 1,000 bottles, set under twinkling Christmas lights and a bicycle on the ceiling. Hit Happy Wine for Happy Hour, where you’ll get legitimately great stuff for $5 glass. Or try one of their tastings where you can get half a dozen samples and a tapa for around $10.
Many Greek restaurants have tried to recreate the ambience of a boisterous seaside Taverna. None succeed quite like BarMeli, where owner Liza Meli stocks mostly natural Mediterranean wines among her bar’s mismatched wooden chairs and dangling bare bulbs. The food spans the Med, thanks to French chef Christophe Bibard manning the kitchen. But Meli is ever-present in the front of the house, bringing her energy, hospitality, and passion for wine to every table she touches.
For lovers of French wine, no bar in Miami can compare to Domaine Souviou, where you’ll find a veritable tour of French appellations lining the shelves. You don’t need to be an expert in the stuff to appreciate what they’re doing, though, as a menu of wine cocktails and wines by the glass make it easy for even a novice to delve into the sometimes-nuanced world French juice. You can also peruse their collection of olive oils and other stuff from the South of France, or stop by on Wednesdays for $20 flights with a selection of tapas.
Drinking wine on a Saturday night on a partially lit back patio with mismatched lawn furniture was long the province of your weird aunt's house in Kendall. Now that back patio is actually one of the hardest places in the city to find a seat. Sure, the live jazz helps, and the cool collection of wine by the bottle inside is probably better than your aunt has. But it was also named by some serious wine experts as one of the best wine bars in America.
Live music and rare wines collide in—where else—Bal Harbour, where the opulent setting of the St. Regis lobby bar sits inside a vault of hard-to-find vintages. While the clientele usually opts for the Champagne, ask for a somm-led tasting and you’ll be treated to some of the more unusual wines you’ll ever taste. The craft cocktails here are no slouch either, so if your palate gets exhausted it’s easy to find a drink to enjoy while you listen to the band.
This laid-back wine bar seems straight from Key West, where the owners have tried every wine in the place, and are happy to have you lounge around in their cool, brightly colored wine bar. As the Grove has transformed from college bar central to legitimate dining destination, Vinos is the ideal spot to begin or end a dinner date night, or meet up with friends for a drink in a casual-yet-refined atmosphere.
If you close your eyes and picture "wine bar in Wynwood," that's exactly what you're getting at Bunbury. This spot run by Argentine somms has a sprawling back patio where you can take in the industrial chic-ness of the neighborhood from under dangling Christmas lights while sipping wines from all over the world. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, try one of the wine cocktails.
The idea of putting a Spanish wine bar in a gas station might seem a little, um, irresponsible. But, hey, it's Miami, and those kinds of situations that make this quirky city what it is. And not only does this place have perhaps the most impressive selection of Spanish wines of anywhere in Miami, the tapas it serves make it one of the best gas station restaurants in America.
Matt Meltzer is a Miami-based contributor for Thrillist, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, former pageant judge in the Miss Florida America system, and past contributor to Cosmopolitan magazine. Matt graduated with a BBA from University of Miami and holds a master’s in journalism from the University of Florida. He currently lives in Miami with his Betta fish, Bob.