If you depended on LeBron James for your geography lessons, or just watched every movie shot here ever, you’d pretty much think all of Miami is South Beach. And while discerning locals know they’re completely different things, even MORE discerning locals, like our editor, know the Beach’s best spots to wash your car, eat for cheap, and buy lots of questionably legal supplements.
The cheapest, safest, and most delicious Cuban food in the Beach
La Playa Market
247 Collins Ave; Miami Beach; 305.532.5628
It’s not totally unreasonable to ask yourself if that food sitting in the window at most Cuban cafes along Washington Ave has been there since the Batista regime. But not at La Playa Market on 2nd and Collins, where you can watch the food be prepared freshly as you stroll the impressive wine selection, then get a giant container of vaca frita, picadillo, ropa veija, or any other Cuban fave for about $7, or about a third of what that guy who used to write songs for Ricky Martin charges on Ocean Drive.
Get the deets on this Cuban market
Get your car cleaned like a boss
South Beach Finest Hand Car Wash
1229 18th St; Miami Beach; 305.604.9282
Even if you don’t quite have enough coin to roll around in Rick Ross's discarded Aston Martins, you can still roll your considerably more-realistic wheels into South Beach Finest Hand Car Wash on 18th St, throw down 15 bucks for the best hand wash in the city, then take the rest of what’s in your wallet and just perch across the street at Burger and Beer Joint to take in the endless parade of Bentleys, Rollses (Rollss?), and Ferraris get sprayed.
If someone's written "wash me", it's time to go here
A strip club without the stripping
7309 Collins Ave; Miami Beach
The two best things about going to the beach are A) hot girls in bikinis and B) the other hot girls in bikinis. But they’re just so darned far away! At Bikini Bar, those same ladies get right up on the bar and dance inches from your face without any actual clothes coming off, or the cover charge and expensive drinks that entails. As an added bonus, you can chug cold beers and cheap cocktails without having to hide any of it in a red plastic cup.
Want more attractive females with minimal clothing? Of course you do.
Really, Really, Really Little Italy
Caffé Di Mauro
1464 Washington Ave; Miami Beach; 305.673.5774
When Garfield got tired of ordering satellite packages to catch all the Juventus games, he became a BIG fan of this place. Not only does Caffé Di Mauro serve up authentic Italian sandwiches and salads with stuff like bresaola, coppa, and parma ham, but it also has hands-down the best lasagna in South Beach that doesn’t involve the word “Kobe”. Plus, you can catch pretty much every Serie A game live via satellite along with 150 of your closest (and I do mean CLOSEST) Italian friends, as well as peruse Craigslist at the get-it-while-it’s-still-legal Internet cafe.
More Mauro here
Supplements that may or may not have been lifted off the back of a truck in Hialeah
Nutritional Power Center
1673 Alton Rd; Miami Beach; 305.535.8844
Because a sequel to Pain and Gain is as inevitable as The Rock getting robbed once again at Oscar time, you’re gonna need to bulk up if you wanna land that long awaited role as “Trainer #3”. Or just live in Miami. Hit up Nutritional Power Center, where they sell all the creatine, questionably legal energy pills and N.O. Xplode you’ll need, at sometimes half the cost of GNC or Vitamin World. How do they get this stuff so cheap? It’s Miami. Why are you asking?!
Get swole, bro
Where to drink when you want to hide from the world
VFW Post 3559 at the Floridian
650 West Ave; Miami Beach;
Cheers had it half right, because other times you wanna go where absolutely nobody knows your name but you still have a totally awesome view of Biscayne Bay and the downtown skyline. If that’s the case, step up to the South entrance of The Floridian and ring the little buzzer next to the door. When the bartender buzzes you in, take the elevator to the 7th floor, where even the draft-dodging-est civilians can sip ice cold beer in ice cold A/C, then take in the wall-to-wall view with insanely cheap 5-for-$10 beer buckets and play 50-cent pool.
Check out the Post
Hear live music that isn’t coming from a USB stick
1342 Washington Ave; Miami Beach; 305.673.9372
Miami has never been much of a live music town, unless you count guys standing in front of a room with headphones on and doing the Jesus pose as “live music”. Jazid might be the best exception, since you can hear bands playing anything from funk, to reggae, to Afro-Cuban rock in the tiny club downstairs, or listen to the tunes, knock back some drinks and play pool in the laid-back upstairs.
This way for more on who's playing