Where to Grab a Drink in Miami Right Now

Sexy rooftop cocktail lounges, jazzy cigar bars, and a laid-back tribute to a Miami nightlife legend.

Rosa Sky
Photo by Nikki Palpant

Miami’s bar scene has come a long way since the days of sticky dive bars and 3-for-1 margaritas the size of your head. Now our problem isn’t finding a good place to drink, but rather narrowing it down among the glut of balmy rooftops, craft cocktail lounges, and corner bars with epic selections of local beer. Fortunately, we’ve done our share of drinking around this city, and can lay claim to having tried almost all of the worthist contenders. Here’s everywhere to grab a drink in the Magic City, where you won’t get gouged by the prices nor the shady dude in the bathroom. 

Rosa Sky
Rosa Sky | Photo by Nikki Palpant

Rosa Sky

Brickell
$$$$

Once Sugar became so crowded nobody could see the view anymore, Brickellites were in desperate need of a new rooftop bar. Enter Rosa Sky atop the AC Marriott, where the skyline panorama is unparalleled, and the drinks are top-notch too. Try the Tulum Trip, a tequila concoction designed for two with Illegal Mezcal, Casa Noble Reposado, Grand Marnier, jalapeno, and citrus. Then cool the heat with an order of “Cuban Cigars,” Cuban sandwiches wrapped in wontons and deep fried, then served in a Cohiba ashtray.
How to book: Reserve via Tock.

Ball & Chain

Little Havana
$$$$

After nearly a year and a half of COVID closures and code compliance harassment at the hands of Joe Carollo, Little Havana’s entertainment anchor is back up and running, stocked with the same lineup of tropical drinks and live music under the pineapple. Stop in during the day for a bright, breezy Mojito at the historic center bar, and gaze around at the vintage posters touting jazz greats who once performed in the space. At night, head out back for live bands and fine cigars, a little slice of the Cuban experience within spitting distance of downtown.
How to book: Reserve via SevenRooms.

Set atop Little Havana’s boutique gem at the Life House hotel, this sunny rooftop garden bar has some of the low-key best drinks in the city, crafted with herbs growing steps away. Sample the Sandia Fresca, made with Tito’s vodka, watermelon, and purple basil, then post up in one of the wicker chairs and watch the sunset reflect off the Brickell skyline. It’s all the rooftop relaxation of those bars further east, with a substantially more approachable vibe.

Mickey Burkes
Mickey Burkes | Photo by Sofia Chacin

Mickey Burkes

South Beach
$$$$

If you worked in the South Beach service industry at any point in the last 25 years, chances are you worked for Mickey Burke, the affable longtime manager at The Clevelander and other landmark bars. This bar pays homage to the familiar face, serving up relaxed, hard-working grub like Fish and Chips and Braised Short Rib Poutine Fries. It’s the kind of kick-back-and-have-a-beer place the Beach has been missing since the departures of Playwright, Clarke’s, and other non-pretentious locales. But Mickey’s also offers a massive selection of craft beer and interesting cocktails like the Pigs Will Fly, made with bacon-infused Scotch, Amaro Montenegro, and egg whites.
How to book: Reserve online.

Tucked beyond the front desk at the Sagamore and adjacent to the hotel’s treasure trove of art, you’ll find Miami’s best new spot for unusual fermented spirits. Sure, Water Lion could have stopped at its impressive selection of hard-to-find wines and still been a pretty solid bar. But they’ve gone a step further and added stuff like Mekkeolli, a Koren rice wine rarely seen elsewhere, alongside an entire menu of “fermentology mixology” cocktails based on beer, wine, and sake. It’s all set in an elegant space befitting Champagne and caviar, with a far more relaxed ethos.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Tipsy Flamingo

Downtown
$$$$

When it comes to offering a true Miami experience, Tipsy Flamingo does it better than anyone downtown. No, the servers aren’t all trying to hand you a mixtape, but the folks from RedBar and Sweet Caroline’s are slinging craft cocktails in a garden teeming with tropical foliage and bright neon flamingos. The menu’s full of drinks with Miami-centric monikers, like the River of Grass with Pierde Almas mezcal, lime juice, celery bitters, mint, and coconut water. They also host weekly comedy shows on Sundays, if you’re looking for some laughs to help you forget about the state of affairs in 2022.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

RedBar Brickell

Brickell
$$$$

This retro-funky Brickell bar has assembled a cocktail menu created by Miami mixology all-stars, making it a virtual trip around the city in one convenient stop. The handcrafted bill includes offerings like Lauren Fuentes’s Jazmine Says Yes, with lemon Juice, jasmine syrup, Brugal rum, and rosemary hydrosol, though the lineup is constantly changing. You’ll also find a live DJ spinning most nights, so if you’re more into dancing than drinking, show up later in the evening.
How to book: Stop in for first-come, first served seating.

Dante’s Hifi
Dante’s HiFi | Photo by World Red Eye

Dante’s Hifi

Wynwood
$$$$

Dante’s dubs itself a “listening lounge,” which might, on its surface, sound painfully hipster-pretentious, but is actually quite the opposite. The Japanese-born concept involves probably the best bar sound system you’ll ever hear, upon which a DJ spins one of over 8,500 vinyl selections. The place has only 50 seats, and the cocktail menu is long on whiskey-based drinks and light-bodied spritzes. It’s more about enjoying the ambience rather than getting sloshed, but if music is your reason for leaving the house, this guy definitely deserves a spot on your list.
How to book: Reserve via Tock.

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, but Jaguar Sun is the odd spot that qualifies as both one of Miami’s best restaurants and one of its best bars. The drinks stand on their own, headlined by the Green Ghoul (tequila, mezcal, poblano, cucumber, lime). The small space makes for 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.

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).

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.

The Sylvester

Midtown
$$$$

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.

Cafe La Trova

Little Havana
$$$$

Julio Cabrera notched himself a James Beard nomination for Outstanding Bar Program this year, joining Michelle Bernstein—who designed the food at Café La Trova—in that esteemed recognition. In the 1950s-era Cuba-themed front room, you’ll find Julio and the team clad in their vests and bow ties, shaking up creations like the El Guayabero, spiked with tequila, guava marmalade, cayenne-agave syrup, and lime juice. On the weekend, head to the back for the ‘80s-style 305 Bar, a late-night tribute to Miami’s Golden Girls-era glory days, open from midnight to 2 am.

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 8 am happy hour at the Deuce? This South Beach landmark is easily the city’s most historic bar, home to 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 among the cheapest in South Beach.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

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.

The Broken Shaker

South Beach
$$$$

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.

Batch Gastropub

Brickell
$$$$

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 fun-employed 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 curly 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 better place.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

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 NE 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, Miami’s 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.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Lost Boy Dry Goods

Downtown
$$$$

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. Another big similarity? The prices. In a very un-Miami turn, you can cop single-liquor drinks for under $10, with $5 options 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.

Matt Meltzer is a contributor for Thrillist.