In case the bone-chilling 62 degrees didn’t announce it for you, winter is here. And along with giving you a chance to finally bust out that overpriced peacoat you bought in 2015, it also means you’re prepping for the annual influx of visitors from the north. And with those visitors come the inevitable requests to “hit the cool new spots,” which, of course, you can name about as well as you can name the Heat starting five. And while we can’t really tell you anyone other than Hassan Whiteside to answer that second part, here are 11 brand-new bars that are sure to impress you and your guests.
Anything described as a “locals” bar in SoFi is typically a high-price beach club full of dudes with long hair and tight pants, or a place where you may or may not go to buy illicit substances. That’s all changed with this new spot on South Pointe Dr, where a nautical-themed interior creates a welcoming place for So-Fites to relax and enjoy its expansive whiskey and tequila collection. The smooth outdoor seating has flat-screen TVs, so while the weather is still tolerable stop by to watch a game and enjoy a tomato-cheese flatbread, fresh crudo, or an artisanal charcuterie plate.
OK, so perhaps combining a ride-along motorcycle arcade game and a collection of 150 whiskeys doesn’t sound like the shrewdest idea. But it’s 2017, we gotta start giving illogical ideas a chance. This new spot from the Bodega team boasts a flurry of arcade games, like the aforementioned bike race, a Terminator shooting game, and Pac-Man. It’s also got a beer-pong table in the back, mini beer pong for your table, and live-band karaoke every Monday night. Not to mention carnival-themed food like funnel cakes and Nashville hot chicken and waffles, all combining to make Ricky’s the most pure fun you’ll have at a new bar this year.
Tucked away across from the massive EDITION, you’ll find a little neon sign on the ground floor of the AC Hotel announcing the best new gin bar in the city. This hidden gem is helmed by Nikos Mantzaridis (of Beaker and Gray fame) and boasts six different twists on the traditional gin & tonic, including one made with a custom tonic for AC Hotels. You’ll also find an impressive menu of original drinks, like the Smoked Last Word, with smoky mescal, green chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and lime. It all pairs nicely with a menu long on spicy small plates, like chicken tinga sopes, ropa vieja, and carnitas tacos.
Those bars in Mexican caves are pretty nifty, but given Miami’s relative lack of cenotes, getting to one usually involves a plane flight. Or a trip to Brickell, where the team behind Tucandela has decked itself out to look like a real-live Mexican cave bar, though it’s decidedly above the ground. Inside you’ll find the same top-notch collection of tequilas you’d find at Tucandela, as well as high-energy Latin music, lucha libres, and live mariachi bands.
Since the towers of Midtown rose from... whatever was there 10 years ago, it’s always struggled to find an identity. A big step towards that is having a genuine local hangout. This year it has arrived with Bitter Truth. This big space feels like it would be more at home somewhere Southwest, with live local bands playing nightly, a simple beer and cocktail menu, pool and foosball tables, and throngs of nearby residents. On pleasant nights, the walls open up and the bar becomes a big, outdoor café. And because it stays open late it’s the ideal spot for Midtowners, or anyone, to end a big night out.
If whiskey bars truly are the barometer of a neighborhood on the rise, that sketchy middle section of South Beach appears to be well on its way to recovery. Across from the blocks of empty stores, this beautiful new bar has sprung up in the old Automatic Slims space, replacing the notorious stripper pole with 150 whiskeys, a wall made of bourbon barrels, and food from the Matador Room chef. The décor feels a little like your neighbor’s rec room, with alternating wood-and-stone walls, plus a semi-private back room where whiskey brands hold intimate tastings. And the big banquettes are the perfect place to snack on duck fat fries, or on Tuesdays the $2 specialty tacos.
So maybe the novelty of Cuban-themed anything isn’t quite what it was when that big island to the south was a forbidden fruit. But at least you don’t need an educational visa to visit this MiMo bar that opened over the summer. Inside you’ll find Miami’s cheapest mojitos ($1 at happy hour!) and a décor inspired by Cuba’s rich boxing history. It’s also got a giant scaffolding made of dominoes and painted with the Cuban flag. The food‘s along the lines of what you’ll find in your favorite Little Havana cafeteria (minus the questionable sanitation). And it’s also got 20 different beers and drinks out of “punch bowls,” ranked lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight.
Don’t let that calming greenery on the walls at this narrow Gables bar fool you: There is nothing tranquil about Copper 29. The craft-cocktail den uses the plants in its drinks, which are served nightly to a boisterous crowd with pulsating music and a frenetic vibe. The drinks are crafted according to their molecular compounds (see? High school chemistry WAS useful), and are best experienced via the Lost in Japan with Kai shochu, Mastiha FOS, coconut matcha powder tea, fennel seed, yuzu juice, and 24K edible gold powder, served in a tea mug. And while the food isn’t quite so Heisenberg-heavy, you’ll never go wrong ordering the New Orleans duck nachos.
As the Confidante takes over the old Thompson hotel, its signature new opening is the Boho-chic 1930s guest house converted into a cozy, fun, new drinking den. The house once stood across the street, was moved poolside some years back, and is now a place to sip on fruity drinks without feeling too much like a tourist. Try the Seahorse with mango, strawberry, Luxardo maraschino, and silver tequila, as you munch on hand-torn masa chips served with Gator pibil. Nina’s also has nightly performances by local artists and, yes, DJs, ensuring a trip here is about as local-feeling as one gets while drinking at a hotel on Collins Ave.
If one thing is consistent in Miami, it’s change. And so as we bid a long-overdue farewell to the Viceroy Hotel and its rooftop bar FIFTY, we welcome the new W Miami and its trademark WET deck pool lounge. It’s got the same swanky poolside vibe, and same sweeping views of all of Miami. But it’s added the delicious craft cocktails that make W bars so inviting, like so Sobe Picante with jalapeño, tequila, cilantro, and fresh orange.
In that rarest of Miami nightlife moves, the team that brought you Wynwood’s Prohibition is offering some real value at this new all-inclusive, live entertainment venue. For $80-$100 you not only get a full-night’s entertainment of acrobats, dancers, and cabaret singers, you get all you can drink LIQUOR. That’s right, for what you’d pay for maybe five drinks on most nights in the beach, you can drink all night long here, with the added bonus of entertainment that doesn’t include the words “photo hunt.” If you’re not typically into these kinds of shows, this is your time to give it a try. Because even if you don’t like it, well, you’re still getting your money’s worth.
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1. South Pointe Tavern40 S Pointe Dr, Miami Beach
2. Ricky's1222 16th St, Miami Beach
3. Gin + Collins2912 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
4. La Cueva Bar1111 SW 1st Ave, Miami
5. Bitter Truth3252 NE 1st Ave, Miami
6. Commonwealth1216 Washington Ave, Miami Beach
7. Punch5580 NE 4TH , Miami
8. Copper 29206 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables
9. Nina's House4041 Florida A1A, Miami Beach
10. WET Deck at the W Miami485 Brickell Ave, Miami
11. Copa Room Show & Nightclub1235 Washington Ave, Miami Beach
Nautically themed cocktail bar South Pointe Tavern will have you believing you’re in a 20th century speakeasy on the sea. The French bistro-style seating, wrap-around terrace, and exposed brick give the tavern an actual tavern, rustic feel, but you’re not here for the ambiance (although it doesn’t hurt). You’re here for one of the largest whiskey and tequila selections on Miami Beach. Soak up your craft cocktails -- plural, yes, because you will have more than one of the intricate, signature concoctions on offer -- with charcuterie, cheese, crudos, ceviches, and flatbreads. Yes, all of them, because you will want to taste your way through the spirits for an entire afternoon.
Next to Bodega, and from the same team, Ricky’s is an actual South Beach carnival for grown ups! Really… it’s equal parts restaurant and bar, but mostly entertainment playground, with live music, stand up comedy, karaoke, arcade games, and basically a different themed party every night. Food (part of why it’s a carnival) on offer includes corn dogs, sliders, waffle mac and cheese, and chicken and waffles, and drinks (this is why it’s for grown ups) on offer include upwards of 150 whiskey labels, build-your-own punch bowl, and table-tap beer bongs. See you out there.
Lovers of the juniper berry who also live on or around or are visiting Miami Beach: REJOICE! Gin + Collins -- the swanky cocktail lounge in the lobby of the AC Hotel, previously unnamed though referred to as the AC Lounge -- is here to fulfill all of your gin- and tonic-loving dreams. The cocktail program features six different combinations of gin, tonic, and garnish... maybe don't try them all at once. Gin + Collins makes a mean drink, gin-based or otherwise, with vermouth on tap alongside beer and wine, and savory Caribbean-style bar snacks like mini Cuban sandwich sliders, tacos, and tostadas.
La Cueva -- translation: the cave -- is a cave-themed (surprise!) bar in Brickell with a penchant for all things agave. Tequila, mezcal, and plenty of them will be at the forefront, with an expansive selection, cocktails based in the bar’s beloved spirits, and mostly tastings for those more exclusive (read: expensive) brands you casually spotted on the list. Sip your tequila in a cocktail or your mezcal in a flight, either way, you’ll almost forget you’re in Brickell in the cavernous, Yucatan tree-decorated La Cueva.
Bitter Truth is the essence of Wynwood in a bar, from the old school hiphop blaring from the speakers and seasonally rotating craft cocktails with artisanal twists like the Truth SeRum -- Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, Aperol, Pinot Noir, and locally sourced blackberries, and guava -- to live music music featuring local musicians. The steampunk haunt is covered with artistic and vintage detail: bar shelving was crafted from Florida pine trees (bark still intact), reclaimed industrial steel and pipes line the walls and the bar itself, and murals by local street artists cover the walls. Some cocktails are even served in recycled cans, giving the drink the look of a Warhol painting. Food proffer is abbreviated, but does the trick. Oysters, tacos, burgers, and chicharrones are the perfect support to the cocktail stars of the Wynwood bar.
Behold: the first dedicated whiskey bar on South Beach. Commonwealth is vaguely speakeasy in decor, with warm, dim lighting, rustic wood accents, plush leather booths, and a wall of reclaimed whiskey barrels. It’s a exactly where you’d want to hide away and consume copious amounts of whiskey, which is perfect, because there are over 100 whiskey, scotch, and bourbon labels on offer here, as well as cocktails and craft beer. And to make matters even better for you, Commonwealth boasts a menu of American comfort food with an upgrade that was made to be paired with whiskey: duck-fat fries, charcuterie boards, chicken skin tacos, and a house cheeseburger topped with Benton’s bacon marmalade and a runny egg.
In a city saturated by Cuban culture, Punch could easily pass as unremarkable. But it’s actually a needle in a haystack, and if you can find it (the address is perfectly clear here, so I don’t see why you couldn’t), you’ll immediately know why. Vintage Cuban boxing, specifically legendary boxer Kid Chocolate, is at the forefront (Punch… get it?), with food, drinks, music, flags, and colors emulating the culture of the island. Mojitos come from a bar fashioned partially out of domino pieces, and are served in punch bowls -- bring your friends -- in three flavors: lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. For those of you opting for the heavyweight, it would behoove you to order some bar bites, like Cuban sandwich sliders, croquetas,or tostones. Or, sweat out the rum on stage during a late-night salsa dance-off.
You probably didn't pay attention in chemistry, but lucky for you the bartenders at Copper 29 did and they have mixing the perfect drink down to a science. From crystal chandeliers to dark wood accents, everything in this stylish speakeasy has an air of mystery…especially the drinks. The long list of inventive and totally unique cocktails is the biggest draw to this hidden gem. Who would have thought mango infused tequila, red cabbage syrup, and bitter lemon soda go together in one refreshing cocktail? We suggest you try their signature drink and leave the mixology to the chemists.
Contrary to (probably) popular belief, nobody lives at Nina's house, not even Nina -- she's just the muse. The 1930s bungalow is tucked away on the grounds of The Confidante Hotel on South Beach, restored and reimagined from an early 20th century guest house to a poolside cocktail lounge. Nina's is shaking up high-quality cocktails in a bohemian-chic setting with global decor inspired by its namesake's travels, like reclaimed leather accents, taxidermy, and vintage surfboards. This is the place for kicking back with a craft cocktail, live music from local artists in your ears, and Mexican-inspired bites from Bird & Bone -- the eatery next door -- in your mouth.
Formerly the iconic Viceroy Miami in Brickell, the W Hotel has set up shop, including a rooftop pool and cocktail lounge called The WET Deck that might just keep you off of the beach… forever. 50 stories up, the swanky poolside deck and lounge is anchored by an infinity pool, and accented by serene views of the coastline, private cabanas, and soothing lounge music will make you feel like you’re right on the beach, but without the threat of sand or children invading your personal space. Lounge in the chaises and enjoy the luxury of tropical cocktails and light snacks delivered to your chair side that you didn’t even have to make yourself. Disclaimer: high price tags may keep you from staying here forever, but you will definitely want to.
Thanks to Copa Room Show & Nightclub, you don’t even have to leave South Beach to get your fix of the Las Vegas strip, and you don’t even have you empty your bank account to fully enjoy the experience. It aims to be akin to Cancun’s Coco Bongo, with a Latin flair, but just a tinge. And dissimilar to other Miami nightclubs, like LIV and its peers, Copa is an all-inclusive entertainment complex with Vegas-style entertainers (yes, like acrobats), live artistic shows, musicians, and a nightclub. But it’s a nightclub for the people -- entry is a flat fee, which includes drinks (open bar, kind of!) and every live show happening in the sprawling space on Washington Avenue. Velvet ropes and exclusive VIP treatments not included.