Food & Drink

Miami's Best New Bars of 2016 (So Far)

Published On 07/12/2016 Published On 07/12/2016
Craft Social Club
Craft Social Club

Baby Jane

Brickell

You know what sounds great after a long day of speculative conversation about Brickell condos? Cold beer and foie gras croquettes. Or at least that's what the guys behind Brickell’s newest spot are banking on, with a menu of eats crafted by Chef Michael Beltran (of Ariete) that you won't typically find in the bar scene. The team from Sidebar is pairing that inventive menu with a rotating board of house-made punches, and in-house cocktails like the Jane and Juice: Bombay Sapphire gin, cucumber bitters, lime juice, St.-Germain, and egg white. All served in a dark, mysterious corner spot tucked right before the Brickell Ave Bridge.

Tap 42 | Courtesy of Tap 42

Tap 42

Coral Gables

Unlike so many people who live north of the county line, the guys who’ve been running Broward’s best brunch party for the last half-decade are actually daring to venture into the unknown that is Miami. And what a debut it’s been. The Gables’ newest hotspot does the Lauderdale original one better, taking the traditional lineup of 42 draft beers and putting it in an even larger space, with bottomless brunches on Saturday AND Sunday, along with a $3-off  happy hour every weekday. And they’re not done in Dade. Come fall, a new midtown location will open up in the space formerly occupied by Apeiro.

The Anderson | Courtesy of The Anderson

The Anderson

MiMo

Remember that crazy piano bar on 79th St you randomly ended up at a couple years ago, where the piano players made fun of you as soon as you walked in? Well it’s The Anderson now. A creation of the Bar Lab team that's stocked with inventive cocktails and a menu curated by Vagabond’s Alex Chang. The place is done up in '80s nostalgia, from vintage cigarette ads on the wall to drinks with names like “Trapper Keeper” and “Too Old for this Sh*t.” Out back it’s got an urban beach set up with picnic tables on sand leading out to “the shack,” a little beach bungalow that serves up a smaller menu.

Campton Yard | Courtesy of Hall Hotel

Campton Yard 

South Beach

With a name that’s clearly an homage to Eazy-E and Dr. Dre’s failed attempt at building a retro baseball park, celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn has brought South Beach its first legitimate beer garden. Out behind the Hall Hotel on Washington Ave, you can sip on an impressive selection of local craft beers while munching on the “big ass pretzel” or one of their many specialty hot dogs topped with everything from fried eggs to mango. If drinking isn’t entertainment enough, the bar’s got ping-pong, cornhole, and even oversized Connect Four. And also a weekly beer pong league, where your entrance fee also includes one free pitcher.

Sugar | Courtesy of EAST Miami

Sugar

Brickell

The three-year traffic nightmare that’s been Brickell City Centre construction is almost over, and our first taste of the expected payoff opened this May with Brickell’s first true rooftop bar. The views are unparalleled from 40 stories up, with a clear line of sight to Miami Beach and Key Biscayne. Sugar is adorned to feel like an Asian garden, with tables neatly hidden under tropical foliage. The food and drinks have a far-east feel too, with things like the Sesame Sling -- a gin drink that feels like the alcoholic version of a sushi roll. And you’ll need it to cool your tongue after trying the Korean spicy boneless chicken wings, all the fun of twice-fried chicken without the pesky bones.

Pawn Broker | Juan Fernando Ayora/Pawn Broker

Pawn Broker

Downtown

Drinking in the bathtub is a time-honored tradition shared by everyone from stressed-out moms to strung-out rockstars. Drinking FROM a bathtub? Usually reserved for St. Bernards. Unless that bathtub is holding Giggle Water, a lavender infused cocktail served in a mini bathtub at downtown’s first rooftop bar. This swanky spot at the top of the Langford Hotel has a whole slew of other creative drinks, which you’ll need to cool off if you decide to have an after-work beverage on their outdoor patio with a 360-degree view of the city.

Craft Social Club

Craft Social Club

SoFi

The '80s and '90s nostalgia is strong in 2016’s crop of new bars. That becomes painfully evident the minute you walk into this new SoFi drinking den and are greeted by a giant neon cocktail sign -- a tribute to the 1988 Tom Cruise classic Cocktail. The names on the drink menu shout out to more late 20th-century pop culture, with cocktails named Swedish Chef, Salute Your Shorts, and NWA (Negroni with Attitude). It’s a club in the sense you’ll find a dance floor and a live DJ, but the tables are more for sipping drinks than ordering bottles. And on weekend nights, the scene here is every bit as beautiful as you’ll find in places with $50 covers.

Portico | Courtesy of Diplomat

Portico

Hollywood

Do you know The Diplomat, that giant teal-and-glass building along Hollywood Beach? It’s getting a major facelift, and the first big change is this new bar at Diplomat Landing. The waterside beer garden has a funky outdoor vibe complete with an old VW bus and lounge chairs along the intracoastal. The menu is designed to try a little of a lot, offering 7oz pours of wine and beer along with pizzas, cheese boards, and salads. All of it is food light enough for hot weather, but savory enough that you’ll want to take advantage of the impressive drink menu.

The Bar at 1306

1306

Downtown

In the past, a bar that’s only signage was a flickering red neon light that read “Bar” would be the kind of place you’d find guys whose idea of breakfast was an egg white cocktail. But in retro-crazy 2016, a sign like that probably means the bar is a dark-wooded drinkery with craft cocktails, an expansive garden, and plush leather furniture. Such is the case with 1306, the new 5am bar that’s got a menu crafted by a Broken Shaker alum and keeps the drinking classy and comfortable. Once the weather gets cool, patrons can even head out back to the bar’s impressive garden space -- which is currently available to rent for private events.

Lincoln’s Beard

Westchester

This burgeoning gallery and boutique space just got its very own brewery and taproom, for all those who love craft beer, but not traffic, in Wynwood. The guys who once offered to buy AB InBev for $26,000 just got their feet off the ground as brewers, and are serving up small quantities of their own stuff on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays until production ramps up. But you can still grab pints of an assortment of beers if you want to go and drink now.   

Caviar Russe | Courtesy of Caviar Russe

Caviar Russe

Brickell

In the city that has the highest rate of people under 35 living with their parents, the most logical business to open is a caviar bar, right? Right. Because if living with your parents doesn’t let you live like a billionaire on the weekends, then what’s even the point? So go ahead, mom-dwellers, and hit this over-the-top spot at the Four Seasons that boasts 10 different caviars and 20 different champagnes, all served under glass bubbles on Calacatta marble tables, and gold Bernardaud plates.

Deck at Island Gardens | Courtesy of the Deck at Island Gardens

The Deck at Island Gardens

Watson Island

If there’s one thing that was holding Miami back, it was our serious shortage of fancy waterfront bars for the super-rich. So our brave civic leaders took action, and leased this prime piece of public waterfront land to a developer who’s given the city what we so desperately needed. This new spot by the Miami Children’s Museum has stunning views of Biscayne Bay the the Downtown skyline, which can be enjoyed from any number of private tables as you listen to house music and sip rose.

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1. Baby Jane 500 Brickell Ave, Miami, FL 33131 (Brickell)

Craft cocktails and a "Havana-meets-Brooklyn” vibe combine to make Baby Jane a standout in Brickell's bar scene. Miami restaurateur Jason Odio (Ariete, Sidebar) has dreamt up a mixology-based bar program with inventive drinks such as the Pedro Pan (Bacardi 8, orange juice, Chambord, and cranberry) and the Jane & Juice (Bombay Sapphire, cucumber bitters, lime juice, St. Germain, and egg white). The food menu extends far beyond basic bar snacks with ceviche, steak tartare, jerk chicken wings, and burgers.

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2. Tap 42 301 Giralda Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134 (Coral Gables)

Craft drafts, inventive bar fare, and bottomless brunch: need we say more? Whether you’re looking for lagers, IPAs, hefeweizens -- or unlimited Bloody Marys and mimosas -- Tap 42’s Coral Gables outpost has you covered. The menu draws from American and Asian influences, featuring highlights like tuna tartare with spicy mayo and malanga chips, and Korean fried chicken. The industrial space embodies the perfect balance of modern and divey, from the wood-paneled walls to the stainless-steel bar peppered with tropical plants.

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3. The Anderson 709 NE 79th St, Miami, FL 33138

This '80s-themed bar with vintage cigarette ads and nostalgically-named cocktails might get creative with its styling, but it keeps things simple with the ambience. The back is set up like an urban beach with picnic tables on the sand and a beach bungalow shack where you'll find a snack-centric menu.

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4. Campton Yard 1500 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (South Beach)

Celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn is behind this South Beach beer garden that resembles a backyard tiki party. The Hall hotel space -- located entirely outside -- is decked out with ping-pong tables, shaded picnic tables, and retro lounge chairs. The drinks menu features draft mojitos, Florida, Mexican, and Caribbean beers, and craft cocktails, while the food selection includes next-level hot dogs, poutine, and a notable hot pretzel smothered in beer-infused mustard and cheese -- just ask for the "Big Ass Pretzel."

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5. Sugar 788 Brickell Plz, Miami, FL 33131

Located on the 40th floor of Brickell's East Hotel, this Asian-inspired rooftop bar offers zen vibes and a garden with mood lighting, ideal for a first-date evening. Cocktails obviously take after Asian influences in both name and ingredients (like the Lychee Blossom and Sunset Samba), while the tapas selection varies with dishes like classic boneless chicken wings and grilled prawns.

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6. Pawn Broker Rooftop and Lounge 121 SE 1st Street, Miami, FL (Downtown)

At Pawn Broker, the glass you clink with is just as significant as the cocktail inside. One of the most highly acclaimed bars in the city, Pawn Broker is perched high above the streets on the roof of Downtown’s Langford Hotel. Each of the bar’s 1920s-themed cocktails is served in a unique, dedicated glass: The Giggle Water, an allusion to Prohibition bathtub gin, is served in a tiny ceramic bathtub, brimming with lavender foam atop Martin Miller W.S. gin, champagne syrup, and Fever Tree Indian tonic, while the White Lightning is held in a transparent lowball. At Pawn Broker, Sundays mean debauchery, not confession, meaning a boozy bar brunch with all-you-can-drink rosé, frosé, and mimosas as well as quesadillas, pastries, peanut butter French toast sticks, and eggs Benedict empanadas.

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7. Craft Social Club , Miami Beach, FL

On the first floor of The Mercury Hotel, Craft Social Club greets you with a sign straight out of the 1988 Tom Cruise classic Cocktail, as if to warn you that you're not at a regular club, you're at a cocktail club. To that end, the neon space features "cocktail suites" that are pretty similar to VIP tables. As for the drinks, they're pretty darn good, whether you go for a Moscow Mule on tap or one of the signatures, like the N.W.A, Negroni With Attitude.

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8. Portico 3555 S Ocean Dr, Hollywood, FL 33019

Housed within Hollywood's Diplomat resort, this waterside bar is decked out with an old VW bus and lounge chairs that give it a funky, upscale vibe without the Miami glam. The menu is light Italian, with 7oz pours of wine, pizzas, cheeseboards, and salads.

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9. 1306 1306 N Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33136

You know that feeling you get when you're not ready for the night to end but every bar is closed? Thankfully, the guys behind 1306 know it too, which is why this Downtown bar is open until 5am. Better yet, it's not a sketchy dive but a legitimately cool, modern but retro space, complete with an expansive outdoor patio that you should definitely rent out for your next birthday.

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10. Lincoln's Beard Brewing Company 7360 SW 41 Street, Miami, FL 33155 (Coral Gables)

Lincoln's Beard is a relaxed neighborhood brewery from a team of first time brewmasters. The beer selection includes a host of small-batch house brews like a seasonal barrel-aged brown, dry-hopped Belgian pale ale, and West Coast double IPAs. The industrial space also doubles as an art gallery with a select roster of featured artists.

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11. Caviar Russe 1441 Brickell Ave, Miami, FL 33131 (Brickell)

Where else would you find a caviar bar if not at the Four Seasons? In its first expansion out of New York, Caviar Russe is serving an over-the-top menu of seafood and raw bar offerings in Brickell. There are more than 10 different caviars and 20 different champagnes, and since it wouldn't be a caviar restaurant without a lot of grandeur, there are marble walls and tables, gold plates, and bubble-like chandeliers.

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12. The Deck at Island Gardens 882 McArthur Causway, Miami, FL

So you want to mingle with Miami's yachting elite? Head over to The Deck at Island Gardens, a fancy waterfront bar on Watson Island with stunning views of Biscayne Bay and the Downtown skyline. Expect white cabana lounges, palm trees, private tables, and a whole lot of people watching.