Food & Drink

The Best Wine Bars in Miami

Matt Meltzer Published On 02/24/2016 Published On 02/24/2016
girl serving wine bottles at CIBO
CIBO Wine Bar

Back in the day, a Miami wine bar was a place where people sat around complaining about the perpetual construction in Brickell and the traffic on the Palmetto... err, wait those would be whine bars (and could describe pretty much any place in the 305), and they're way less fun than going to one of these vino spots, where you can slug down some of the world's best grape juice and maybe even learn something while you're there.
 

Cibo Wine Bar

SoFi (& Other Locations)

Not content to just have one of the most impressive wine selections in Coral Gables, the Canadians behind Cibo took their act to South Beach. Not only do they have 3,500 bottles of wine, but they stick them smack in the middle of the dining room behind a two-story glass case, where wine "angels" dangle from the ceiling and pick out your bottle. A bottle, we might add, that you can get for half-off if you go before 7pm.

ADENA GRILL AND WINE BAR

Adena Grill and Wine Bar

Hallandale

After a long day of screaming at slow horses and watching your exacta picks come in second and third, you're gonna need a drink. And for the sophisticated horse player there's this Gulfstream wine bar, where the folks behind one of Miami's best new spring restaurants take the same care in curating their wines as they do in their family farm-fresh steaks. Despite the lack of a nearby betting window, it's the perfect place to unwind after the races.

BIN 18

Bin 18

Edgewater

Before Miami was the fastest-growing food and drink city in America, going to a "wine bar" meant going to a bar that served wines called something other than "red" or "white." The pioneer in specialized wine drinkeries was this spot on Biscayne, where you can still get over 20 curated wines by the glass and any of the over 50 wines on the wall for far less than you'd pay in a restaurant. Because, you see, it's a wine shop too.

Bunbury

Wynwood

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.

El Carajo

El Carajo

Shenandoah

The idea of putting a Spanish wine bar in a gas station might seem a little, um, irresponsible. But, hey, it's Miami, and that kind of attitude is why you still live here. 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.

The Forge Restaurant and Wine Bar

Miami Beach

Not only does this iconic Miami restaurant let you sample really expensive wines by the quarter-glass (so you're not shelling out $35 for one drink) with its innovative vacuum-pouring system, but you can do it in a classically opulent setting in a spot that was used as an exterior for restaurant scenes on The Golden Girls. And it's a lot closer than going to the actual house.

LA CAVE D'AZUR

La Cave D'Azur

South Beach

If waitresses carrying sparklers and people dancing on tables is just a liiiiittle too intense for you, but you still appreciate the French and their love of wine, this al fresco spot at the front of Villa Azur is your new favorite wine bar. Here, at the storefront wine cellar, you can relax on the street and enjoy some light bites while sampling wines from the restaurant's collection, or even leave with a bottle of it to take home.

Lagniappe

Midtown

Though a few years ago if you had suggested drinking wine on a Saturday night on a partially lit back patio with mismatched lawn furniture, you'd have assumed you were getting invited over to 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.

MADE IN ITALY

Made in Italy

Edgewater

If you own a pair of unacceptably tight pants and have been looking for an excuse to ride your Vespa, you can complete your "pretending to be in Italy" experience here, where despite being just up the street from a BMW dealership, the owners have created a little slice of the Boot right on Biscayne Blvd. In addition to a wine bar with over 2,000 bottles, the place is also an Italian market and deli where you can buy hard-to-find foods imported straight from Italy.

ST. REGIS

St. Regis Bar & Wine Vault

Bal Harbour

Though nobody is confusing the St. Regis with a place for the hoi polloi to hang out, the bar here is all about fine wines and Champagnes, and THAT'S the cheap part. Inside a glass vault reminiscent of Get Smart you'll find 2,400 rare wines that can be enjoyed by private groups or during sommelier-led tastings, where you can also pair them with the St. Regis' full menu of sushi.

UVAGGIO

Uvaggio

Coral Gables

If you ever wanted to know which wine to pair with a Whopper, Heath Porter is the man to ask. But since the somm behind this place has a knack for pairing wine with anything, you might want to opt for the menu at Uvaggio, which was built around wines Porter wanted to showcase. That's probably why we named a wine bar one of the Best New Restaurants of 2014.

VINOS

Vinos in the Grove

Coconut Grove

If you thought the Grove was dying, well, you probably also believed every rumor you read on Facebook today. Perhaps its biggest sign of life is this spot, a laid-back wine bar 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. It's a relaxed, unpretentious wine spot that tells the world "Hey, Coconut Grove has still got a lot left."

WD 555

South Beach

If we told you there was a place in South Beach with reasonably priced wines, ample parking, and friendly, polite, knowledgeable servers, you'd probably assume it was run by Elvis, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy. But yes, that unicorn of South Beach establishments exists here, where a spacious parking lot leads you into a combination wine warehouse/bistro where the staff will help you select a bottle at a normal price in the store. Then you can pay the reasonable corkage fee and enjoy it with light bites off the Mediterranean menu.

WINE VAULT

Wine Vault

Midtown

Though "vault" is a loosely used term for a two-story cafe with an extensive selection of wine, this Midtown spot does have about as much wine as a bank does Benjamins. The perpetual rotation of 50 reds and whites ensures you'll never have the same drink twice if you don't want to, so you can pair something different with the tapas menu every time you go.

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Matt Meltzer is a staff writer with Thrillist. Follow him on Instagram @meltrez1.

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1. Cibo Wine Bar 45 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134 (Coral Gables)

Proving that sprucing up anything is possible, except of course spruce trees, since they're already mad sprucey: Cibo Wine Bar, an Italian-plating vino haven open for dinner on Tuesday, which performed a true miracle by classing up the Mile's former Sports Exchange with Old World-ness in the form of a giant stone oven/pizza bar, and a slew of just-mod-enough butcher block tables lining dimly lit, exposed brick insets adorned with mirrors.

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2. Adena Grill and Wine Bar 900 Silks Run #1740, Hallandale, FL 33009

An upscale steakhouse that serves grass-finished beef with a farm-to-fork take on menu items, Adena pleases with carnivorous selections like steak tartare served with capers and lemon zest, and housemade desserts like chocolate torte and New York style cheesecake.

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3. Bin 18 Bistro & Wine Bar 1800 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132 (Wynwood)

This spot pioneered the wine bar movement in Miami, bringing a curated list of 20 options by the glass to Edgewater. Plus they have over 50 options of bottles to leave with, because it's a shop too. On top of their impressive wine resume, this bar also has a killer beer list and food menu.

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4. Bunbury Miami 2200 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137 (Wynwood)

This wine bar and shop is owned by Argentinian wine enthusiasts who have made the space warm, welcoming, and chic with industrial accents and a wine list that covers the globe. They also make wine based cocktails and serve salads, sandwiches, empanadas, picadas, and tapas.

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5. El Carajo Tapas and Wine 2465 SW 17th Ave, Miami, FL 33145

Yes, this really is a Spanish wine bar inside a gas station. Don't let the facade of normalcy fool you -- this is one of the best wine bars in the area, and they certainly have the best selection of Spanish wines. Pair the wine with any of the hot or cold tapas and you have a completely non-gas station meal.

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6. The Forge Restaurant & Wine Bar 432 W 41st St, Miami Beach, FL 33140 (Miami Beach)

If you think New American food tastes best when consumed in a space with all the opulence of Jay Gatsby’s mansion-meets a medieval library-meets a Tim Burton-themed wedding a la Martha Stewart, well -- you should probably try to grab a highly coveted reservation at the Forge. Regulars rave over gussied up comfort food like the black truffle macaroni and cheese pot pie, decadently tempting enough that you’ll likely ignore the server’s advice to “let it cool.” Fortunately, the cavernous wine cellar – one of the largest in Miami – features enough chilled wines to offer a cooling respite.

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7. La Cave D'Azur 309 23rd St, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

This French wine bar is located in front of Villa Azur Restaurant where visitors can mingle on an outdoor patio space. They offer light food options, as well as the option of buying a bottle (or 2) to take home.

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8. Lagniappe 3425 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137 (Midtown)

This music venue features a full-service bar and a stage that regularly hosts folk, jazz, and bluegrass musical artists. The upstairs space, which the owner bought and turned into a flat-style home, features homey furniture and a quaint aesthetic, and is available to traveling musicians and public travelers alike.

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9. Made in Italy Gourmet 10 NE 27th St, Miami, FL 33137 (Wynwood)

Made in Italy Gourmet features at least a dozen hot and cold sandwiches. The Curma, a nickname for the Alp peak Mont Blanc de Courmayeur, is one of the most popular with Fontina, speck, and porcini mousse on ciabatta bread.

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10. St. Regis Bar , Bal Harbour, FL 33154 (North Miami Beach)

This bar allows guest to experience live music, fresh sushi & Asian inspired dishes in a modern-style space. For those who want an even more exceptional experience, the Wine Vault can be used for private tastings of some of the over 2,400 rare wines and champagnes they have available.

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11. Uvaggio 70 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134 (Coral Gables)

Michael Porter, a 20-year sommelier -- along with Top Chef alum Bret Pelaggi -- took his favorite bottles and created an entire menu of stuff to pair with them at this Coral Gables hot spot. Try the veal sweetbreads with gnocchi, beech mushrooms and gremolata with the J.L. Chave Mon Coeur 2010 Côtes du Rhône. Pair with any of their 20+ wines by the three or 6oz glass, or one of their 100+ by the bottle.

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12. Vinos In The Grove 3409 Main Highway, Coconut Grove, FL 33040

Come Sunday, the Grove will forever transform into a sophisticated locale in which thoughtful college students renounce Natty Light and discuss public policy while sipping abundant wine with their pinkies extended. Ok, none of that's true except for the wine part, which you can now get at Vinos: a hideaway from the standard mess that'll pair hundreds of bottles (20 by the glass) with imported meats like prosciutto, chorizo, and salami, as well as caviar on blinis and drunken goat cheese.

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13. WD 555 Miami 555 Jefferson Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

This combo wine shop-wine bar-restaurant allows patrons to enjoy a meal paired with exceptional wine, and then to purchase the wine to take home. The restaurant's French-Mediterranean fusion menu includes dishes like Foie Gras Terrine and Yellow Fin Tuna Tartare, and the wine shop has over 150 selections available.

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14. Wine Vault 3201 N. Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33127 (Midtown)

From a local dude who wanted a place where everyone knows your name, but with food portions small enough to keep Kirstie Alley away, Midtown’s Wine Vault’s channeling the owner's love for comfy neighborhood joints with a two-floor, tavern-meets-lounge sporting humming chandeliers, digital fireplaces, oversized black Gothic mirrors, plus so much wine you'll barely recognize yourself in the oversized black Gothic mirrors.

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