Everything You Need to Eat, Drink, and Do in Miami’s Brickell Neighborhood
Discover coffee shops, cocktail bars, sweeping waterfront views, and the best tacos in town.
Centuries ago, the Tequesta people settled along the south side of the Miami River in what would later become Brickell. The first thing they built was a 15-story chickee hut, and rented it to northern tribes in exchange for corn and squash. The northern tribes perpetually complained about how they couldn’t find a decent flat bread, blaming something “in the water.”
Centuries later, northerners have once again taken over the slightly more hurricane-resistant towers on the south side of the Miami River. These occupiers, however, don’t even bother trading corn, but instead trade in a completely made-up currency that lives somewhere in the clouds. Nonetheless, the Brickell of 2022 is teeming with bars, restaurants, and undeniably fun things to do, and over the past few years it’s turned itself into one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in America. If you’re new in town, or perhaps just a local who hasn’t been out in a while, here’s all the best stuff to do in Brickell.
Start your day with fantastic coffee
Anyone who’s spent an entire morning waiting on line at the Mark Brickell Starbucks has at some point looked at their phone, and realized there’s better coffee out there. Pasion de Cielo has two Brickell outposts, each stocking beans from all over the world. Crema also mans a Brickell shop, where big mugs of coffee and acai bowls make for a sure-fire hangover cure.
Puroast has a shop on South Miami Avenue that’s a reliable and lesser-known (read: uncrowded) place to work from “home.” Latin Café 2000 is your spot for Cuban Coffee, though the Publix ventanilla ain’t bad in a pinch. Toasted has good coffee, too, as well as Miami’s best bagels that don’t require advanced ordering.
Work out outside
Hitting the gym is as much a part of the Miami religion as vodka sodas and a side hustle, but Brickell affords loads of opportunities to get shredded and tan at the same time. The Underline urban trail is filled with outdoor exercise equipment offering built-in circuit programs. It also boasts a basketball court with regular pick-up games. And just down SW 8th Street, you’ll find outdoor soccer leagues that literally play well past midnight.
For more traditional outdoor exercise, the run around Brickell Key is the easiest and prettiest jog in Miami. The 1.25-mile loop takes you past views of Key Biscayne, the Port of Miami, and Downtown. The Brickell Run Club also hosts massive group runs around the neighborhood every Tuesday at 7 pm.
Or move the action inside
Of course, sometimes your workout conveniently coincides with an afternoon thunderstorm—or it’s just too damn hot to do anything that doesn’t involve AC. Brickell is home to an obscenely high concentration of boutique fitness studios, whether you’re hitting the heavy bags at FitBox Method, or finding your higher power at SoulCycle.
If you’re pressed for time, Sweat 440 offers 40-minute, intense interval classes starting every 10 minutes on the 10s. For something lower impact but equally strenuous, JetSet Pilates will challenge your core, flexibility, and muscle endurance. And for something more conventional, there’s always your friendly neighborhood Equinox and LA Fitness.
Ball out at some of the best restaurants in the city
Brickell doesn’t have quite the collection of sticker-shock fine dining one might find in, say, South Beach. But as Miami’s densest concentration of high rents, there’s still plenty of fantastic places to splurge on a blockbuster meal. Gaston Acurio’s La Mar is the top spot to hit when money is no object. It shares Brickell Key with NAOE, which still holds the title of Miami’s best Omakase despite a slew of new competition.
Over on the mainland sits top notch steaks at both Fleming’s and EDGE Steak & Bar (only suckers waste their time with Salt Bae). Cantina La Veinte combines upscale Mexican fare with a lively waterside cantina atmosphere—it’s so much fun you’ll barely notice you dropped $35 on a single burrito. Next door at Cipriani, you’ll enjoy exquisite Italian dishes from the folks who invented the Bellini. And for all things French, LPM is unbeatable in terms of both quality and atmosphere.
Or feast on something a little more simple
Not looking to drop a 3 Series lease payment on dinner? Brickell’s got you covered there, too, with a bounty of spots that won’t murder your wallet. Pubbelly Sushi is the go-to if you want reasonably-priced raw fish, though MoMi Ramen will be the call if you’re looking for noodles. Stanzione 87 fires Miami’s best Neapolitan pies, and if you’re up for the trip to Brickell Key, you’ll be rewarded with bonafide Latin eats and phenomenal burgers at BurgerLove.
Moxie’s at Mary Brickell village proves that you can be both a jack of all trades and master them all, with an exquisite menu stocked with everything from prime steaks to curries done as well as anywhere in the city. You’d also be well served to try the pub grub at Batch, where the Chicken and Waffles lays claim as Miami’s best, and the all-you-can-eat wings on Mondays are the neighborhood’s top deal.
Experience cocktails at their finest
The divey environs of Blackbird Ordinary, which feels a little like a live music club with its dark lighting and sticky booths, might not seem like an obvious place for Brickell’s best crafted drinks. But try the signature Blackbird before working your way down the ample menu and you’ll see why it’s outlived most other bars in the area. You’ll also want to hit Redbar on SW 10th Street, armed with a cocktail list developed by an all-star lineup of Miami mixologists.
Sugar does a nice job with its drinks, though whether they’re worth braving the wait depends on your patience and the weather. The back-room speakeasy at Ch’I in Brickell City Centre puts an Asian spin on its lineup and sports a chic weekend scene. Elsewhere, Batch has house-made, pecan-infused whiskeys that also make for some interesting creations.
Toss a few back in a more low-key setting
Of course, not everything in Brickell has to be high-end, and you’ll learn this as soon as you step inside a little bar called Better Days. It is Brickell’s signature bad decision bar, where service industry types and end-of-the-night partiers compete for bar space and bathroom time well into the morning. If you’re not trying to head into a self-hating vortex, stop into Tobacco Road, a tribute to Miami’s legendary bygone watering hole complete with nostalgic mementos and solid version of TR’s OG burger.
Balan’s offers a killer laid-back happy hour, and is great for a quiet night out. The indoor-outdoor bar at North Italia is a breezy spot for sipping wine and munching on arancini. You can sing karaoke at Sweet Caroline, or on Thursday nights at Dom’s—both of which are undoubtedly fun even if you’re not subjecting yourself to amateur renditions of “Despacito.”
Pair delicious food and drink with only-in-Miami views
One advantage to building sky-high structures with reckless abandon is that you end up with some pretty fantastic vantage points for imbibing. Sugar is the neighborhood’s best, an Asian-themed rooftop bar atop the East Hotel. The sights stretch from the Everglades to the beach and up to the county line, and at night you can watch in awe as the sun floats down and the lights twinkle on.
For a closer-to-Earth view that’s almost as good, hit Addikt the W hotel. It’s got stunning panoramas of the bay and far fewer people than Sugar. Brickell’s top waterside dining can be found at La Mar at the Mandarin Oriental, where you can enjoy the city’s best ceviche while taking in the Brickell skyline. For a hidden scenic gem, grab a beer and a burger at LOL by the Bay, the unassuming bayfront bar between the pools at the Four Ambassadors.
Head out on a neighborhood taco crawl
If there’s one thing Brickell does better than any other neighborhood in Miami, it’s flooding. But also tacos, where a nonstop parade of tortilla-wrapped goodness awaits from the Miami River to the Rickenbacker Causeway. Start out upscale at Tacology atop Brickell City Centre. Then once you’ve gotten over your credit card’s fatigue, head down to SoCal Cantina, where tacos accompany Brickell’s best margaritas.
From there, meander over to Pilo’s Tacos, where carne asada and cold beers are the name of the game. Turn left, make a right, and you’re at Coyo Taco’s Brickell location, where what they lack in backroom speakeasies they make up for with margaritas by the gallon. There’s even a Chipotle in Brickell, though it may take you longer to get through its line that it will to hit every other spot on this list.
Take a stroll by the water
Despite the towering highrises, frenzied traffic, and constant echoes of cars who think they’re too cool for mufflers, tranquility can actually be found in Brickell. Beginning at the Miami Circle near the Icon, amble along the bay to enjoy the soft sounds of the water crashing into the coral shore. Manatees will even occasionally poke their noses up, and dolphins aren’t an uncommon sight, either.
Head south and pick the path back up along Brickell Bay Drive just past the Four Ambassadors, where the meandering coastline runs for another half-mile or so. You can even extend the experience by taking a walk around Brickell Key and stopping to rest on one of its many benches.
Sip beers at a brewery inside a shopping mall
Maybe Brickell’s most under-appreciated asset is its lone neighborhood brewery: EST. 33 hidden inside Brickell City Centre. Belly up to the bar and try their collection of warm-weather beers alongside a big menu of Thai barbecue. It’s helmed by the same people who brought the world Singha, but the craft offerings are far more complex. The Aromatic Snowy will be an instant favorite for anyone who enjoys citrus- and coriander-spiked wheats, while the Legend Lager pairs perfectly with EST 33’s extensive selection of spicy food.
The coolest part about the whole setup is that the beers are made right onsite, making it one of Miami’s most space-efficient breweries. Hop on a quick tour to see how they managed to wedge an entire brewhouse into a shopping mall restaurant space.