The Most Essential Outdoor Drinking Spots in Miami
Drinks just taste better with a view.
Say what you will about the good people of Miami -- we always find a way to enjoy an outdoor drink, whether it’s at a rooftop bar or bar by the water. So even though bars in South Florida are technically closed, places serving food are still open for your drinking enjoyment, and many of them serve drinks alongside sweeping views of the city, ocean, or Intracoastal Waterway. So warm up your reservation-making fingers, grab a mask, and plan an outing to these beautiful spots around South Florida where you can still grab a drink outside this summer.
When your pool is tabbed as having one of the best hotel pool views on the planet by the worldwide leaders in pool viewology (a very real, meticulous science), of course you need to be slinging some serious drinks to go along with it. These days you can’t just saunter up to the bar and order a pineapple-chipotle caipirinha like you could way back in 2019, so you’ll need to make a reservation and order some fresh sushi or South American shared plates if you want to take in the view. But Watr is worth the effort, where you can see clear out into the Atlantic in one direction , the expansive Miami skyline in another, and all of it from some of the city’s coolest bathrooms.
Nothing makes you feel like the nebulous King of Miami quite like standing at the edge of this bar on the 31st floor of the EPIC. Of course, you’re far from the first person who’s been in that exact spot and had that “King of Miami” feeling, so check your ego, grab a Jade Blade -- Herradura blanco, cucumber, habanero tincture, lime, and ginger beer -- sit by the pool, and appreciate the fact that you can do all of this all from the heat of summer all the way through February.
The restaurant on the top of the 1111 garage might be the best date-with-a-view spot in Miami. And with the cool rooftop breeze at night, it’s also one of the more pleasant places to eat or drink outside, even when the weather is warm. That said, it’ll also put a bigger dent in your wallet than an unexpected FPL bill, so make sure to pack your Amex and try a Juvia Bird -- Elyx vodka, chambord, blackberry, ginger, mint, and lemon juice. Then relax by the ivy-covered wall outside, and enjoy the award-winning design and views of the ocean at the odd South Beach spot that’s actually worth the price tag.
High atop Brickell’s swanky East hotel sits the city’s premier rooftop bar, with views far out across Biscayne Bay to the east, north to Downtown, and south to the shiny glass and bright lights of Brickell. Simply sitting in this Balinese garden is one of those magical Miami moments that makes you glad you live here. But when you wash down some of the spicy boneless Korean wings or chicken makhanwala satay with a Lychee Blossom -- Russian standard with sake and lychee -- you’ll realize why people still manage to fill all the condos that surround you.
With Wynwood building codes being what they are, a second-floor bar qualifies as a bona fide rooftop establishment. So instead of waiting for an elevator, you’ll just ascend a flight of stairs amongst tropical plants and arrive at this big, purple-hued space where you can keep your social distance while sending pics of the sunset over the warehouse district. You can also now order the full menu from Three downstairs, and you’d be remiss if you left without trying the mango hot sauce fried chicken, or charred eggplant and blue cheese dip.
While you’re gulping down prosecco and peaches with your Sunday brunch, there’s a pretty good chance you didn’t know that drink was invented at a spot called Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy (which, contrary to rumors, is still in business). Harry’s has grown a little since then, spinning off a worldwide chain of Mr. C’s bars, named after the drink’s inventor, Giuseppe Cipriani. This one sits atop the Mr. C hotel in Coconut Grove, where the nautical Cipriani décor gives way to a sprawling patio with views out over the lush, tropical landscape.
Moving to outdoor-only seating is pretty easy for a spot where sitting inside is missing the point. Red Fish’s bayfront views harken to the paradise early Miamians stumbled upon long before air conditioning, a time you can ponder while sipping a Black Magic -- tequila, charcoal, lime and agave. You’d also do well to stuff yourself with creations from Chef Adrianne Calvo, who took over the restaurant this year. If that all weren’t enough, Red Fish is planning a rooftop bar in the not-too-distant-future where you can do all of this while gazing at the treetops of Matheson Hammock.
Even though outdoor drinking doesn’t really lend itself to a hidden cocktail bar behind a fake candy shop, Los Altos and Taqueria Mexicano are keeping the spirit going in their new outdoor courtyard. You won’t get to pick your way through chicklets and Pulparindo while waiting to get in, but you’ll still be able to enjoy tequila and mezcal cocktails on a spacious patio with plenty of giant fans and views of downtown. That all pairs perfectly with the full Taqueria menu, also available outside.
God bless Broward County, where rooftop margaritas flow like water no matter the season or state of world affairs. The massive covered rooftop lends itself perfectly to summer outdoor drinking, where you can enjoy margaritas and other drinks with unobstructed views of the Ft. Lauderdale skyline and shelter from the afternoon thunderstorms. If you’re not so much up for a dinner of tequila and lime juice, Bar Rita also serves up epic taco platters, burritos that require heavy equipment to lift, and even a pretty solid chipotle chicken salad if you’re pretending to be healthy.
If you’ve been a little skeptical of going out among the people -- or you’ve been quarantining on your boat -- Shooters might be the perfect place to slowly integrate yourself back into society. With a whopping 400 feet of dock space, this sprawling spot on the Intracoastal not only offers calming waterside views, it’s also an easy place to keep your social distance while enjoying the sunshine. Try the menu of exclusive drinks from custom Real McCoy rum like the guava martini and house special rum runner.
If all you need for an afternoon of outdoor drinking is beer, bay views, and breezes, look no further than this hidden gem wedged between the swimming pools at the Four Ambassadors. The bar is open to the public and sits right on the water with unobstructed views of Biscayne Bay and the Mandarin Oriental. You won’t find a better outdoor drinking value than LOL, where beers run $4-5 all day, and wines are rarely over $8 a glass. Add in a fairly constant breeze and spacious patio next to the bar, and you’ve got a calming world away in the middle of Miami’s most crowded neighborhood.
Though it’ll be a minute before enjoying ceviche and pisco sours in Lima is a possibility, you can at least experience the flavors of Peru on the Mandarin Oriental’s massive patio at La Mar. Here, you can take in the sunset over the Brickell skyline while splitting the Barrel o’ Pisco, a two-person drink with pisco, aged rum, elderflower liqueur, crème de cacao, lemongrass syrup, and watermelon. Or keep it basic and try the best pisco sour in Miami while perusing the impressive menu of causas, saltados, and, of course, ceviche.
For a place right on the ocean, South Florida has surprisingly few drinking venues with front row seats. So it’s worth the trip to Pompano, where Beach House offers unfettered views of the Atlantic and a vibe that’s almost like enjoying cocktails on a deserted island. The food, however, is very un-deserted-island-like, and if you feel like soaking up some of the booze before heading home you can’t go wrong with the Wagyu beef ribs or Walk the Cedar Plank salmon.
Lauderdale Beach has no shortage of places to enjoy a drink with a direct view of the ocean. But nowhere will the drinks be better than this spot on the ground floor of the Ritz-Carlton. The name is an ode to South Florida’s rum-running history, and the drinks live up to the legacy. Spread out on the patio and savor a Rum Runner’s Remorse with pineapple rum, falernum, lillet rouge, coconut, and even more pineapple. Or opt for the seasonal Burlock Ponche, a Wray & Nephew rum creation that’s ever-changing but will always punch you in the face.
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