The Best Bars in Miami Right Now
Someone call a Lyft.
In a city where we’ve stopped blinking at the thought of a $21 vodka-soda, sometimes it’s hard to figure out which bars are worth the money, and which exist for the sole purpose of bilking tourists. Sure, we know anywhere with fruity drinks the size of your head are probably a no-go, but beyond that it can be hard to discern which of our bars and clubs have, you know, normal prices or are worth the extravagance.
Below you'll find Miami's best bars to drink in. Some are trendy new spots, opened within the last year and may well move or close by summer. Others are the stalwarts that we just can’t help but love and cherish. From dives and beer bars to upscale cocktail lounges, here are the best bars in Miami right now.
Collectible sneakers and craft cocktails… in sneakers
If you’ve ever dreamed of enjoying a drink out of a shoe as you relax 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 and the pleasant South Florida weather, while sipping on an impressive list of craft cocktails highlighted by the Satisfy Your Sole -- a vodka, watermelon, ginger concoction served in a ceramic shoe.
Wynwood’s top chicken joint slings boozy creations outside
Typically, enjoying a cockfight in South Florida also involves knowing all the wrong people and ending up in the wrong place at the worst time. Not the case at this breezy new patio next to Le Chick, where the 2,000 square-foot outdoor drinkery has a menu highlighted by the Cockfight -- blanco tequila with mezcal, dry vermouth, agave, and pickled jalapenos. Palm Beach cocktail veteran Rebekah Stone has created a whole collection of spicy, fruity drinks along these lines, which pair perfectly with the warm tropical setting.
A Singapore-inspired bar with stellar street food
Though the bustling night markets of Singapore might seem inviting when you see them on TV, they also involve spending about a day of your life on an airplane. You can at least taste the flavors of those markets at this new spot inside the Traymore, where you’ll find “culinary cocktails” like the SB Sling and the Curry Colada with Havana Club rum, velvet falernum, curry syrup, coconut creme, lime, and passion fruit. Those are served alongside Singapore street food from chef Jorge Negron, where steamed snapper dumplings and Singapore-style stone crabs almost transport you across the Pacific.
A tiki legend opens up shop in Miami
After years of drinking out of clear glasses and red plastic cups, perhaps it's time to step up your game and start drinking out of tattooed Elvis heads. Or Rapa Nui statues. Or skulls. You’ll find all of those and even more insane glassware at Esotico, the Miami outpost of Tiki god Daniele Della Polla, where walls covered in banana plant wallpaper create a little slice of Polynesia on the ground floor of the Canvas condominiums. Adding to the island feel is a menu of “tropical chow” where you can try an octopus hot dog if you so desire, or keep it safe with coconut chicken curry and a nice island ceviche.
Literal walls of rum in a cozy, hidden cocktail den
From the ashes of failed New York transplant, Employees Only, rises this phoenix of an underground cocktail bar, where former EO staff are mixing insane cocktails in front of rums from all over the world. The intimate, nautical-themed space feels a little like an alcoholic cartographer's study: a dimly-lit downstairs bar at the Stiles Hotel lined with maps and rare bottles of rum. The drinks may well be the best new collection of 2019, a roster of boozy stuff that stealthily hide their alcohol, making Swizzle your new go-to to impress out-of-town guests and locals who don’t know about it.
Hialeah gets a bar not called Flannigan’s
Perhaps you laughed -- scoffed even -- when you heard mumblings that Hialeah was priming to be the next Wynwood. But you know who wasn’t laughing? The guys behind Kush and Lokal who’ve opened this new cocktail den upstairs from the re-imagined Stephen’s Deli. Inside you’ll find Hialeah cultural nods like a giant “Nooo…que barato” sign, and a drink menu with oh-so-Miami names like the Que Cute and Tiki Tiki Music. Basically, it’s the “Sh*t Miami Girls (and guys) Say” video in cocktail bar form.
Vintage furniture and strong drinks
Taking a hint from the mishmashed furniture popularity of spots like Lagniappe and RedBar, this new cocktail lounge in the old Bardot space is full of stuff that looks like it was curated from the nearby Salvation Army and/or a corner on Calle Ocho. Except cleaner. The vintage couches give the place the feel of a grandparents’ living room that turns into a secret bar at night, where those in the know hurry in to try drinks that’ll knock you on your ass, like the Blood and Sandcastle -- Glenmorangie 10, manzanilla marmalade, cherry heering, and wood aromatics.
The beer-and-brunch juggernaut expands to Doral
Once upon a time, Tap 42 was a nice place to go for a Broward County blackout brunch. Then they came south of the county line and have become an instant hotspot everywhere they’ve opened, including this newest iteration in Doral which has brought the bottomless brunch concept to CityPlace, along with its classic menu of stuff like baby back ribs, Asian calamari towers, and ice cream cookie Sundays. As the name might imply, it’s also got 42 taps of cold craft beer, and usually zero seats available if you go during happy hour.
Pizza, wings, and drag queen bingo abound!
No bar exemplifies ever-eclectic 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 delivers more than it promises, with live concerts on the outside patio, drag queen bingo on Wednesdays, and some of the best pizza in the city at its walk-up window Pizza Tropical.
A landmark dive bar with an early-morning happy hour
Mac’s Club Deuce is the undisputed champion of Miami dive bars. While its namesake owner passed away a couple years ago at the age of 101, the bar lives on as a testament to everyone in South Beach who enjoys 2-for-1 drinks at 6 in the morning. It’s the odd Miami landmark that hasn’t been torn down or renovated, and if you can see through the smoke at the horseshoe bar, you’ll find some of Miami’s greatest characters sitting inside.
A throwback to the '30s with a heavy Cuban flair
Miami is about as big on history as we are on ice scrapers, but the legends that have played at this bar are as much a part of the draw as the pastelito daiquiris. Names like Count Basie and Tommy Dorsey played after-hours shows nearly 80 years ago, and the new owners have restored the place to look much like it did during its heyday. They’ve even kept the original Dade County Pine ceiling supports, and added a big bandshell out back shaped like a pineapple.
The backyard of a hostel slinging top-notch cocktails
It is, without question, the single-greatest youth hostel bar in history. Where instead of pasty, creepy dudes with backpacks, you'll find an herb garden full of ingredients for the craft cocktails made inside. Oversized chairs dot the massive, shady courtyard full of banyan trees and ferns. And on the odd cool night, there’s no better place to relax outdoors with a tasty cocktail.
Sports, food, and nightlife with craft cocktails on tap
Nobody’s mistaking Miami for anything close to a “sports town,” or even a “town that realizes it has a hockey team.” But if you live in Downtown or Brickell and long for a communal game-watching experience, Batch is the place to go. Many of the tables have cocktails and beer on tap AT THE ACTUAL TABLE WHERE YOU SIT... so there’s no need to get up from the big, comfy booths or even wait for a server.
Coconut Grove’s waterfront, happy hour stalwart
Believe it or not, there are a handful of people in Miami who have these crazy things called “9-to-5 jobs they can actually explain.” And on Friday nights, pretty much all of them end up at this waterside raw bar in Coconut Grove. Add in a hefty number of UM kids who might still be in the Grove from the night before and kicking off your weekend here is a true way to experience what life is really like for Miami locals.
An Asian garden in the sky
We highly suggest you check out this Asian tropical oasis on the roof of the East Hotel on, like, a Tuesday at 4:30pm for one or two drinks. While the cocktails, views, and creative food have made this one of the best rooftop bars in America, drink prices can be almost as lofty as the floor it sits on. So maybe after sundown, head somewhere else.
As close to the '90s as you’re getting without having to give up your cell phone
A good night at The Anderson feels a lot like being at your high school homecoming dance. The décor and cocktails here are all about Gen-X nostalgia, with drink names like “Trapper Keeper” and “Too Old for this S**t,” old '80s and '90s movie posters on the wall, and a soundtrack that’s long on Biggie and the Spice Girls. But even those born after 1990 (and before 1998!) can enjoy this place... they just may need some of the references explained.
Old wrestling pay-per-views with a side of local drafts
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Hmm… this Tuesday night is really calling for a citrus lager and reruns of Summerslam 1995,” you’ve found your new home. This narrow Little Havana beer bar has old-school TVs playing wrestling pay-per-views from back when it was still WWF, with old action figures and “Estevie 3:16” signage as a Miami homage to Stone Cold. Knowing nothing goes better with wrestling than beer, 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. If you’re hungry, Union also has food from Tacos and Tattoos. Especially yummy when celebrating a big win by Tito Santana.
A little slice of Texas with a literally unbelievable happy hour
This massive, two-story space near the Olympia Theater is not officially themed after the Lone Star state. But anyone who's been to an oversized Texas bar done up in American flags and cowboy boots can’t help but notice the resemblance. The other big similarity to the Lone Star state: the drink prices. In a very un-Miami turn, you can get 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 show of Miami nightlife.
Julio Cabrera’s creations served in 1950s Havana
Miami’s most famous mixologist Julio Cabrera finally opened his own place at Café La Trova, where bartenders in vests and bow ties shake cocktails to the beat of the live Cuban band, playing in front of a wall made to look like a Havana street scene. The décor is almost as detailed and nuanced as the drinks themselves, with stuff like the El Guayabero -- tequila, guava marmalade, cayenne-agave syrup, and lime juice -- creating the kinds of flavors that earned Cabrera his accolades. For fun, order up the Yin y Tony (say it out loud and it makes sense) or La Chancleta -- served, as the name might imply, in a house slipper.
Brickell’s best drinks have stood the test of time
Some of the saltier locals among us may remember a time when Blackbird was that perfect combination of deliciously dim-lit interior and warm, sprawling patio where you could enjoy drinks like the signature Blackbird -- Seagram’s sweet tea vodka with fresh blackberries and lemonade over ice -- with a nice Miami breeze in the back. But the fine residents of Brickell City Center weren’t feeling the noise, and that patio is now roofed in, like, Marlins Park. No matter, the drinks here are still the best in Brickell, and it’s held on as one of the neighborhood’s hottest spots for nearly a decade.
An award-winning cocktail bar that’s a go-to for happy hour
Forget the accolades this place has won (the Tales of the Cocktail Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar, World’s 50 Best Bars, and, most importantly this list) -- Sweet Liberty gives South Beach something it so desperately needed: a cool bar not hell-bent on gouging tourists that’s also not a dive. Here you’ll find Beach locals enjoying fine beverages like the Japanese Highball with Toki whiskey, soda water, and grapefruit. Or the Velvet Sideswipe with mezcal, Ancho Reyes, pineapple, pepper, and lemon. But more often you’ll find them here for the Beach’s best happy hour, where 95-cent oysters are accompanied by $6 cocktails from 4pm-7pm.
Sweet drinks paired with Miami’s best bar food
There’s a reason Jaguar Sun has become a hangout for local cocktail writers and bloggers, and it’s not because they enjoy taking public transportation. They might enjoy this bar under the First Street Metromover because of the food, from a chef with history at Momofuku and Per Se. But it’s more because one can easily lose an entire evening marveling at the creativity of mixologist Will Thompson, who’ll craft custom drinks based on whatever mood you’re in. If you’re not in the mood for his inspiration, the menu is full of winners, whether simple stuff like the pineapple daiquiris or spicy stuff like the Green Ghoul with tequila, mezcal, poblano peppers and chamomile. And never, ever leave without having an order of the Parker House rolls.
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