Where to Grab a Drink in Miami Right Now

Brickell throwbacks, Downtown dives, South Beach cocktail giants, and more.

Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery
Sweet Liberty Drinks and Supply Co. | Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery
Sweet Liberty Drinks and Supply Co. | Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery

One could offer a lot of theories as to why Miami is such a big booze town. Do people come here from all over the world to over-indulge and do things they wouldn’t back home? Yes. Do our locals tend to eschew things like “responsibility” and “going back to work after lunch sober?” Also yes. But beyond sheer debauchery, Miami’s managed to develop one of the best cocktail scenes in America over the past decade or so, and the city boasts some of the most unique places to drink in the world. So whether it’s a rooftop overlooking the sparkling skyline, a bar perched on Biscayne Bay, or an age-old drinking den filled with tributes to the city’s bad old days, drinking in Miami is always steeped in a sense of place. Read on for the best spots in Miami to grab a drink—or five.

Don's 5 Star Dive Bar
Photo courtesy of Don’s 5 Star Dive Bar

The Kush crew hits us with yet another brilliant tribute to Miami lore with this dimly lit drinking den paying homage to all the Dons who’ve made Magic City famous—Shula, Bailey, Francisco, you get the drift. The intimate 50-seat lounge in the Selina Gold Dust hotel is designed to trigger your strongest South Florida nostalgia, with naked Don Bailey billboards, Don Shula Expressway signs, and even a strategically placed photo of Donna Shalala (RIP Orange Bowl) in the bathroom. Cocktails are equally Don-ified, highlighted by the Don’t F*ck with Don Shula, a Negroni-style blend of mezcal, Campari, and vermouth.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that Miami was once a big-time football town. But step into this downtown drinkery for a game and you’ll be reminded pretty quickly. The walls are done up in memories of past gridiron glory, with Canes and Dolphins championship photos and news clippings making us yearn for the 1980s. Of course, the amped up food and killer cocktails make us glad that in 2021, sports bars have higher standards. Try the Eleven After This, loaded with tequila, lime, fresh watermelon, and muddled jalapeno to kick your night into high gear, and forget about the current iterations of our local teams.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Tobacco Road

Brickell

This shit, most certainly, ain’t the real Tobacco Road. And the people behind this tribute bar three doors down from TR’s original location make it abundantly clear with a giant neon sign that says as much. Still, the reborn Tobacco Road in the old River Oyster Bar space retains the laid-back feel that once permeated Miami’s lone historic watering hole. You’ll find photos and relics from the old spot throughout, and the menu is filled with old classics like the Death Burger with jalapenos, jack cheese, sriracha, and spicy mayo. Plus, you can still grab a shot-and-a beer special for around $12, like it’s 1985 and you’re a Herald staffer who just got done covering multiple homicides.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Jaguar Sun

Downtown

Typically, a bar situated under public transportation tracks isn't known for destination dining—unless said destination is a dumpster—but Jaguar Sun is the odd spot that’s both one of Miami’s best restaurants and one of its best bars. The Cacio y Pepe is easily the city’s finest, and the Parker House rolls are both addictive and satisfying. But the drinks stand on their own, too, headlined by the Green Ghoul (tequila, mezcal, poblano, cucumber, lime). The small space is an inviting place to spend a few hours under the Metromover, thanks in large part to a lively, friendly staff and crowd of devoted regulars.
How to book: Reserve via Resy.

What started out as a breezy beachside pop-up next to Nikki Beach is now a permanent fixture inside the Ingraham Building, an unusual-but-welcomed addition to the historic downtown office complex. It’s another creation of the Bar Lab team—AKA the folks who brought us Broken Shaker—and boasts one of Magic City’s best collections of bubbles spanning over 75 different bottles. Not into sparkling stuff? That’s cool. Margot offers 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.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Sweet Liberty Drink & Supply Co.
Sweet Liberty Drink & Supply Co. | Photo by Adam DelGiudice Photography

If you’ve seen someone walking around Miami in a back jacket emblazoned with “Miami is the shit, bro,” chances are they’ve spent some time at Sweet Liberty. But Miami Beach’s most awarded cocktail bar isn’t just a hub for flashy outerwear, it’s a unicorn of a spot so damn good it attracts locals and tourists alike. Inside, addictive bar bites (the tater tots might be Miami’s de facto soak-up-the-booze food) and a fantastically creative cocktail menu await beneath a pink neon sign reminding us all to pursue happiness. It’s the ideal destination for both beginning and ending a night out, meeting up with a Tinder date, or simply shooting the shit with the famously talented bartenders. Oh, and it’s also home to one of the best burgers in Miami (no big).
How to book: Reserve via Resy.

You like rum? And maps? Or perhaps rum, maps, AND sampling dozens of rare spirits in a space that straddles the line between an old-school captain’s quarters and plush English library? Then Swizzle is your jam. Helmed by a bunch of bartenders who cut their teeth at Employees Only and brought the leather-aproned show to the pseudo-basement of the Stiles Hotel, South Beach’s tastiest tropical cocktails can now be found inside this dark, cozy space. The lineup of specialty drinks is impressive, and if you prefer chilling on straight rum, ask the barkeeps about the unusual stuff they have on hand like a particularly luxe collection of hard-to-find Haitian originals.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Heading to the Sylvester is kind of like a trip to your eccentric, gin-soaked aunt’s house, a venue for Beaker & Gray’s Ben Potts to showcase his crazy cocktail creations to a big room full of mismatched furniture. It’s as long on character as it is on drinks, with colorful walls and tropical plants accenting an eclectic collection of couches cradling a true cross section of modern Miami. The beverages evoke South Florida, like the Floradora with Ketel One Botanicals grapefruit-rose, rosa aperitivo, raspberry, and ginger beer.
How to book: Reserve via Tock.

Over Under

Downtown

In previous iterations of Miami, a bar called Over/Under serving a simple menu of beer and frozen drinks in a narrow downtown storefront would 1,000 percent be a front for a bookmaker. And though this joint’s cubbyhole-lined backbar looks like it could double for an old tote board at Hialeah Park, there’s no wagering here (that we know of). There’s just a sunny front patio perfect for enjoying frosty creations on a warm afternoon while indulging in a bill of comfort food highlighted by one of the city’s best pub burgers.

Cafe La Trova

Little Havana

It didn’t take long for Julio Cabrera to bring home a major accolade for his home turf bar at Café La Trova. Despite closing for most of the COVID-era, it still won the 2020 Tales of the Cocktail Best American Bar Team, a virtual award that means even more when the team had to stay home. The bar is back open now, so you can easily go visit this team in their vests and bow ties shaking stuff like the El Guayabero -- tequila, guava marmalade, cayenne-agave syrup, and lime juice.

Club Deuce

South Beach

Mac’s Club Deuce is the undisputed champion of Miami dive bars. No, there’s no outdoor seating. Yes, there’s smoking inside. But since when did anyone concerned with their health stop in for an 8am happy hour at the Deuce? This South Beach landmark is easily Miami’s most historic bar, home of the Miami Vice wrap party and a perpetual cloud of dimly lit smoke that leads to its legendary horseshoe bar.  The Deuce is so iconic, you’ll regularly find bartenders at other bars wearing Deuce gear. But the fame hasn’t gotten to its head; drinks, even during non-happy hour times, are still some of the cheapest in South Beach.

Gramps

Wynwood

No bar exemplifies artsy Wynwood better than Gramps, a golden concrete drinking den that promises nothing more than air conditioning, cold beer, and cocktails. But in a very un-Miami twist, it over delivers on that promise, whipping up craft tipples that can make the case for the city’s best, complemented by live concerts and some of the tastiest pizza in the town via Pizza Tropical’s walk-up window.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

If you’ve ever dreamed of drinking from a shoe-shaped mug while relaxing under the shadow of a $3,000 sneaker, consider this Valhalla. The self-professed sneakerheads behind the Cocktail Cartel have opened a sports bar in their own image, where the walls are adorned in collectable Jordans, Yeezys, and Back to the Future limited-editions and the ceilings are dripping in big-screen TVs. The cool back patio allows you to enjoy a game in the pleasant South Florida weather while sipping your way through on an impressive list of creations highlighted by the Satisfy Your Sole, a vodka, watermelon, and ginger concoction served in, you guessed it, a ceramic shoe.
How to book: Reserve via SevenRooms.

Broken Shaker is, without question, the single greatest youth hostel bar in history. Oversized chairs dot the massive, shady courtyard full of banyan trees and ferns and instead of pasty, creepy dudes with backpacks, you'll find an herb garden full of ingredients that fuel the boundary-pushing craft program inside. And by joining forces with neighboring 27 Restaurant & Bar, Broken Shaker also boasts the most head-turning bar menu in the city, with an oyster-mushroom pita, kimchi fried chicken sandwich, and shawarma fries leading the charge.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

The folks who pioneered the bathroom door foot pedal were way ahead of the viral-precaution curve. But Batch is about more than cool (and clean!) bathrooms, and for years has been the gathering place for Brickellites to watch sports and/or meet other Brickellites at bad-decision hours. Batch owes much of its longevity to its best-in-Miami menu, spanning a prime brisket burger, brick oven pizza, and one of Miami’s top mac-and-cheeses, plus a pecan-infused whiskey that you can now buy by the bottle to take home.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Monty's Raw Bar

Coconut Grove

If there’s such a thing as a happy hour stalwart in Miami, it’s Monty’s, where you’ll find throngs of after-hours office workers, UM students, and happily funemployed locals rubbing elbows over draft beers and oysters. It’s a lasting memory of a Coconut Grove gone by, where you can down affordable drinks on wooden benches by the water, basking in the breeze with your brick of coryl fries. It might not be the trendiest bar in town, but when all you want is to gaze out over the bay with a cold beer in hand, there’s no place better forit.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Sugar

Brickell

Miami’s got no shortage of fantastic rooftop bars and drinking patios, sure, but when it comes to pure, unadulterated, I-can’t-believe-I-live-here views, nothing compares to Sugar. From this heavenly garden in the sky, you marvel in Miami Beach’s expansive shores before gazing west to the Everglades, south to Brickell and Coconut Grove, and all the way out to the county line. The best move is to head here just before sunset, order yourself a lychee blossom martini, and watch the city transition from a sun-soaked paradise to a dazzling neon light show that stretches on for miles.
How to book: Reserve via SevenRooms.

The Anderson

Shorecrest

A good night at The Anderson feels a lot like being at your high school homecoming dance. The décor and cocktails are all about Gen-X nostalgia, with names like Trapper Keeper and Too Old for this S**t, ’90s movie posters gracing the walls, and a soundtrack that’s heavy on Biggie and the Spice Girls. It’s also got a massive outdoor space marked by a tiki bar and kitschy sand floor—kind of like drinking on the beach, except instead of crashing waves you get the soft hum of cars along NW 79th Street.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Union Beer Store

Little Havana

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Hmm… this Tuesday night is really calling for a citrusy lager and reruns of Summerslam 1995,” you’ve found your new home. This narrow Little Havana beer bar has old-school TVs blaring wrestling Pay-Per-Views from back when it was still WWF alongside vintage action figures and “Estevie 3:16” signage, a Miami homage to Stone Cold. Knowing nothing goes better with wrestling than beer, so the owners have stocked the place with brews from all over South Florida—mostly on draft so there’s no danger of throwing bottles at the screen.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

This massive two-story expanse near the Olympia Theater is not officially modeled after the Lone Star state, but anyone who’s been to an oversized Texas honkey tonk done up in American flags and cowboy boots can’t help but notice the resemblance. The other big similarity? The prices. In a very un-Miami turn, you can cop single-liquor drinks for under $10, with $4 drinks during happy hour. The walls are lined with books and the crowd is laid back and casual, a perfect downtown respite from the constant hustle and bustle below.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

For imaginative drinks with a serious dose of Brickell locals, nothing tops Blackbird. Though its iconic back patio got roofed-up a few years back thanks to disgruntled Brickell City Centre residents, the beloved bar still sports the best cocktail menu in the neighborhood. Whether you’re a first-timer or you’ve been coming here since it was Transit Lounge, you could do worse than starting with the classic Blackbird, an enticingly simple blend of Seagram’s Sweet Tea Vodka, fresh blackberries, and lemonade served over ice.
How to book: Reserve via Tock.

Matt Meltzer is a contributor for Thrillist.