The Best Miami Bar for (Almost) Every Occasion
Obviously, Thrillist is your go-to site for all things Miami when it comes to eating and drinking. That's why you're smarter than whoever's sitting next to you. And even though we've told you about the best dive bars in Miami and the best places to drink by the water, there are still tons of other situations where you need the perfect bar. Lucky for you, we've been to pretty much every one in South Florida, and can tell you where to go for every single reason you'd want a drink. Or at least 50 of 'em anyway...
To take out-of-towners: Mango’s Tropical Cafe
You may avoid it like the hideous tourist trap it is, but nothing will let your visitors know they’re in Miami faster than sexy Latin women in outfits that would make a Hooters’ waitress blush and live, on-stage salsa dancing.
For a first date: Regent Cocktail Club
Assuming you’re on a date with a lady whose idea of a drink involves more than a six-count into a shot glass, this cozy cocktail lounge at the Gale Hotel will show you know where to get some of the best craft cocktails in the city, and it's also the rare Miami bar where you can actually hear someone.
To drink outside: The Broken Shaker
Though the bocce courts and Ping-Pong table are gone, sitting in the courtyard of the Freehand Hostel amidst the herb garden they use to craft some of the best cocktails in Miami is one of the most relaxing ways to spend an afternoon.
To drink alone: Mac’s Club Deuce
Because not even the bartenders here really care to talk to you, and the rest of the crowd in this landmark South Beach dive has likely been in there since the Miami Vice rap party in 1990.
To drink in sweatpants: Ted’s Hideaway
Though Ted’s has (slightly) improved from the days when it was the bar to drink at if you wanted to, um, make other purchases, it’s still an almost-too-laid-back locals’ hangout where you’re just as likely to see a dude done up in full club gear as you are to see a girl walking in wearing warmups and a ponytail.
For a business meeting: 15th & Vine Kitchen and Bar
Sure, there are plenty of bars at the crossroads of Downtown and Brickell where you can meet. But none boasts this supreme water view and inventive bar food.
For the city’s best bar view: Atrio
This spot at the Conrad’s sky lobby on the 25th floor has views across Biscayne Bay from the bar and the outdoor patio, and if you’re hungry you can see west to the Everglades from the adjacent dining room.
To drink wine: Lagniappe
If you have a hankering to sit outside on mismatched patio furniture, drink wine, and eat barbecue, you COULD go to your aunt’s house in Kendall. Or, ya know, hit Lagniappe (one of the 21 best wine bars in America), where they sell vino by the bottle and have room out back for you and 300 of your closest friends.
To eat bar food: Batch Gastropub
This Brickell drinkery is perpetually retooling its menu to offer innovations in bar bites, wood-burning pizzas, and burgers that, like some of the people you’ll meet there, you’ll seriously love at night and seriously regret in the morning.
To relive your college glory days at FSU: AmSo Ft. Lauderdale
Or, if you didn’t go to Florida State, relive what your glory days there might have been like. Though everyone there will assume you were a GDI and ignore you anyway.
To relive your college glory days at UM: The Rathskeller
Relive them through the pictures on the wall of things current students completely missed, like the original Rathskeller and winning Hurricanes football.
To pretend you’re still in college: Mr. Moe’s
Though the Grove is a shadow of what it once was, on Thursday nights, University of Miami students still pack the bars, especially here, where the 32oz Moose Juice has been the cause of more bad UM decisions than Randy Shannon.
For a bachelorette party: Bâoli
This popular Euro hangout straight from Cannes might be the only bar in Miami where the men are almost as attractive as the women. A fact not lost on whoever named its legendary Wednesday party “My Boyfriend’s Out of town.”
News flash: a group rolling 16 dudes deep isn’t getting in ANYWHERE in South Beach. However this spot is not only a strip club, but also a pretty decent regular club filled with ladies who don’t strip, and a gourmet restaurant on the roof.
Before a game: Will Call
It's really the only sports venue adjacent-bar in Miami, and in addition to warming you up for Heat games, it's also got some pretty solid live music on the weekends.
To watch a Heat game: Hyde at AAA
If it’s a home game and you have bad seats, this arena bar under the lower bowl bleachers might actually give you a better in-game experience. If it’s an away game, it’s the most unique way to watch the Heat in the city.
To watch any other game: Duffy’s Sports Grill
North Miami Beach
Does it get any more Miami than a sports bar on the water with a swimming pool, a live DJ, two-for-ones all day, and more flat-screens than the showroom at your neighborhood Best Buy? No. No it does not.
For live music: Churchhill’s Pub
“Live music” in the sense that it involves people playing actual instruments and not just doing the Jesus pose while their USB stick runs. Actual, like, live bands here.
To impress someone: Rose Bar at Delano
Sadly, the days of the horrendously oversized Ian Schrager furniture are gone, but that doesn’t keep this from being one of the most luxurious places in Miami to grab a drink and be, at least for as long as it takes you to finish your $17 cocktail, part of the South Beach “scene.”
To talk to locals: Scotty’s Landing
If by “talk,” you mean “listen to them complain about what a nice city this used to be and how the developers are gonna tear this place down next week, and the whole city's going to Hell.”
If you want to go to Europe, but can’t afford it: La Piaggia
If you were dropped in here on a random Sunday afternoon and could ignore the humidity, you’d swear you were in Sardinia. More tight pants, long hair, and rosé than anyone should be allowed to see on this side of the Atlantic.
Both of these bars are downstairs in swanky hotels (The Delano and Gale, respectively) and shun the lines and velvet ropes for an eclectic mix of music, laid-back & classy crowds, and that rarest of South Beach environments: unpretentious fun.
If you just got dumped: Himmarshee Public House
Broward’s biggest meat market is also the anchor bar of Himmarshee, where you’ll find endless seas of pretty, young, professional, single(ish) people looking to make bad decisions. A good night here and you won’t even bother deleting your ex on Facebook because you really won’t care.
If you just got promoted: Pearl
It’s a Champagne lounge in South Beach. Douchey? Of course. But post-promotion might be the only time you could drink here without looking like you’re trying too hard.
If you just got fired: Brother Jimmy’s BBQ
When you get fired, the first thing you probably want is a stiff, cheap drink. Check, and kinda check. But once you’ve had a few of them you might notice the bar is filled with lots of other working people, who, if you buy them enough shots, might become that new friend who finds you a new job.
If you just wanna DANCE!: Ball and Chain
The venue that once housed the likes of Billie Holiday and Count Basie now has live Latin music every weekend and crazy pastelito-infused cocktails.
To drink craft beer: Riverside Market
One of the 33 best beer bars in America, this spot is an old convenience store where every slot that was once filled with Gatorade and Aquafina is now filled with a different craft beer that can be artfully explained to you by owner Julian Siegel.
To drink at lunch: American Social, Brickell
Nothing will relax you more after a tough morning of doing a job you can’t explain than sitting by the water in this new-ish Brickell joint, where you can enjoy some of Miami’s best mac and cheese, watch the boats go by, and sip on its impressive collection of craft beers.
For free bar food: Wood Tavern on Taco Tuesday
Wood’s a great place to drink outside on any night of the week, but hands down the best one is Tuesday, when Pancho Taco out back serves up free tacos you can munch on while the surly hipster bartenders ignore your pleas for a Corona.
To get a drink before dinner: Meat Market
Not that the food at one of Miami’s best steakhouses isn’t worth sticking around for, but should you decide to dine elsewhere after having the most inventive craft cocktails you’ll find in a steakery, you’ll be right on Lincoln Rd with plenty of options to choose from.
To drink by natural water: Shuckers Bar and Grill
North Bay Village
And occasionally, in the water.
To drink by artificial water: LOL Resto-Bar
Though the residents of the Fabulous Four Ambassadors will be furious for giving away this secret, the little bar between their two resort pools sits right on the bay and makes you feel like you’re on vacation right in the middle of Brickell.
For celebrating your anniversary: MO Bar
Since your anniversary dinner should probably be spent at either of this bar’s downstairs neighbors at the Mandarin Oriental (Azul or La Mar), start your special evening upstairs with a panoramic view of Brickell and hand-crafted cocktails.
For a boys night out (if you like boys): Palace Bar
Two words: drag brunch. We think you get the drift.
If you're on your friend’s boat: Whiskey Joe’s
You can pull right up next to the Key Biscayne marina and send your friend in for some cold ones, then head back out to Stiltsville, the Nixon sandbar, or wherever else the girls on your boat think will look good on Instagram.
For your 21st birthday (and you’re a girl): LIV
Because if you’re rolling multi-ladies deep, and those ladies are all in their early 20s, you are 100% getting in. And 99.9% getting free drinks from a guy older than your father.
For your 21st birthday (and you’re a guy): Scarlett’s
Because you’re not getting into LIV without spending half a month’s pay, and going to one of America's 21 best strip clubs on your birthday is NEVER a bad decision. Unless you’re afraid of belts.
To day drink: Lou’s Beer Garden
This beer garden in North Beach feels more like you’re drinking at the apartment complex pool on Melrose Place, which, even if you don’t know Billy Campbell from Billy the Marlin, still makes for an afternoon of beer drinking that’ll have you losing track of time.
To watch Fourth of July fireworks: Mike’s at Venetia
This not-so-well-kept secret on the ninth floor of the Venetia condominiums on the Venetian Causeway has a poolside balcony with perfect views of the shows for both Downtown and Miami Beach. And you can take the Mover!
To meet tourists, domestic: The Clevelander
When people watch a little too much Travel Channel and picture drinking in Miami, this poolside Ocean Dr institution right in the heart of the Deco District is what they imagine. The brightly colored frozen Miami Vices, perpetual live DJ, and one of Miami's best pool parties don’t do much to discourage the stereotype.
To meet tourists, foreign: The Hangout Bar
If you’re a young European checking out South Beach, it’s basically written into your visa that you stay at the SoBe hostel, where you’ll find this bar that on most nights has plenty of Euros drinking until 5am.
To shoot pool: Sharp Shooters Billiards
You won’t find stiffer pool competition than you will at this locals’ pool hall on Kendall Dr and 117th Ave. Sure, the food’s nothing to write home about, but the beer is cold and the players are there to do more than just be seen.
To get a drink at 4am: Flannigan’s
Since Marc Sarnoff doomed the Grove and made everyone close at 3am, all the Grove’s professional drinkers end up here at the end of the night, making the Laughing Loggerhead an underrated hotspot for the couple of hours before closing.
To get a drink at 6am: Club Space
Though, if you’re at Space, there’s a decent chance that drink will be water.
To get a drink at 8am: E11EVEN
And you can even get a lap dance on the side. God bless 24-hour liquor licenses.
For drinks on the "low": Martini Bar at The Raleigh
A windowless bar tucked away in a hotel lobby lined with photographs that serves straight-up stiff drinks? If that doesn’t scream “My wife will never find us here,” we don’t know what does.
If you’re in the service industry: Lost Weekend
Ironically named after the 1945 classic film noir, this bar gives the term a whole new meaning as THE hangout for all the people who give up their weekends to deal with tourists in the South Beach hospitality industry.
To watch the sunset: Monty’s Sunset
If the name didn’t clinch it for you, this longtime happy hour staple lets you watch the sun go down over Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline while you sip on drinks that won’t cost you more than one of those condos you’re looking at.
To watch people: SushiSamba Dromo
There's no greater cross section of Miami weirdness -- outside a Carl Hiaasen book -- than Lincoln Rd, where tourists, locals, street performers, and people from all over the world converge. And nowhere gives you a front row seat better than SushiSamba, where you can munch on raw fish and sip sake while you enjoy the show.
To watch adult films: Bimini Bay Bar
If you’re the type who feels a good adult feature should be shared with mumbling old men and bartenders who were forced out of stripping 10 years ago, then you absolutely must head to this dive in the warehouse district near FLL where they serve beer and wine and the TVs play the latest and greatest in hardcore pornography. Seriously.
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