The 20 best bars in Miami

Sip cocktails by the pool or sample locally brewed beer—peruse our list of the best bars in Miami then choose your poison and preferred setting

© FDR at Delano
The FDR lounge at Delano—for classic Miami speakeasy decadence

The circus-like, Las Vegas-style clubs of Miami may get most of the attention in the nightlife headlines, but there are plenty of other great Miami bars. And they don’t all require patrons to don flashy designer duds or pay a $20 cover charge just to pass through the velvet ropes.

Broken Shaker

Critics' pick

Elad Zvi and Gabriel Orta are the forward-thinking mixologists behind the Broken Shaker, a popular pop-up bar that established a permanent home at the Freehand, an innovative hostel concept. As the name indicates, cocktails are the thing here, and the menu changes almost daily, as drinks are all handcrafted with fresh-pressed ingredients and infusions made from a variety of herbs and spices, picked by the bartenders themselves.

Read more
Mid Beach

Regent Cocktail Club

Critics' pick

The newest addition to the Collins Avenue cocktail crawl is already gaining plenty of accolades, as cordial mixologists—waistcoats and all—pour deliciously inventive drinks in a space that feels worlds away from the hustle of South Beach, yet is in the heart of it all. The Club’s retro stylings, complete with leather banquettes, live lounge music and a side patio for cigar smoking, make it feel as if the Rat Pack could walk through the door at any moment.

Read more
South Beach

Living Room

Critics' pick

The lobby bar at W South Beach probably doesn’t look anything like your living room. Unless your living room happens to be decked out with the sleekest velvet and faux fur furniture, and looks out on to one of the most beautiful pool areas in South Beach. It’s oceanfront, too, though you wouldn’t know it from the ground floor—a wall of perfectly landscaped hedges blocks your view of the beach, but also keeps the boardwalk gawkers at bay. In late 2012, the venue had a major mixology makeover, enlisting the assistance of famed cocktail connoisseur Scott Beattie (who literally wrote the book on Artisanal Cocktails) to devise drinks that look and taste like art in a glass.

Read more
South Beach

Sunset Lounge

Critics' pick

Yet another hotel lounge, this one is on South Beach’s Bayside. The name says it all: there’s simply no better place to watch the sun go down than from the playful rooftop of the Mondrian South Beach. Tuck into one of the private cabanas with a signature caipirinha and let the night envelop you.

Read more
South Beach

Abbey

Critics' pick

Sick of candy-colored martinis? Seek salvation in this hole-in-the-wall-turned-microbrewery, which offers rare European imports plus several own-made beers. Luckily, it didn’t lose its classic dive-bar soul in the conversion process—or the dartboard. It’s a fine place to meet the locals, and even better when preceded by a meal at Southern food star Yardbird right next door.

Read more
South Beach

Clevelander

Critics' pick

The archetypal Miami Beach bar, the Clevelander offers a high concentration of tiki stylings, pink neon and booze—it claims to sell more Bud than any other bar in the nation—all served under open skies and illuminated palms. Like many of the models who participate in the body painting and other cheesy contests here, it has recently undergone some costly cosmetic enhancements. But all the best bits remain, including the nightly bands on the back stage that crank up the volume to the max. This is the stuff that spring breaks are made of: expect at least one drunken goon to fall into the shallow pool that fronts the stage (and a few free-spirited ladies to willingly follow suit).

Read more
South Beach

Haven Lounge

Critics' pick

Located at the western end of Lincoln Road, HaVen isn’t a gastropub but a gastro-lounge. Which means that it takes an anything-goes attitude toward its libations. So, don’t be too surprised to find a few leaves of arugula in your cocktail glass or a spicy apple foam top.

Read more
South Beach

Mac's Club Deuce

Critics' pick

It’s surprising the Deuce has even got a phone. The place is charmingly out of character for the area—a mere block from the ocean—and "eclectic" doesn’t begin to describe the mix of South Beach denizens who gather here nightly. From transsexual hookers and down-and-out locals to nightclub glitterati and slumming celebs, the Deuce attracts the motliest, coolest, scariest crowd of any bar in Miami. (Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain has often touted his love of this place.) We’ve been beaten here at pool by a go-go-ing blonde, shared cigarettes with a real-life cowboy and traded shots of JD with a writer of erotic fiction. For anyone who ever fancied a bit part in a Charles Bukowski story, this dive bar would be the right place to audition.

Read more
South Beach

Tobacco Road

Al Capone once drank and gambled at the century-old Road, which holds the oldest liquor license in Miami-Dade County. These days it’s renowned as a live music venue—blues legends such as John Lee Hooker and Buddy Guy have played here. But even when the stages are silent, the former speakeasy still qualifies as one of the finest—and grittiest—drinking establishments around. The food’s good, too: stop by on Tuesday for the $13 lobster special. Patrons are advised to heed the management’s advice and drink responsibly… using both hands.

Read more

Blackbird Ordinary

If drinking tequila and/or whiskey into the wee hours is your idea of a great night out, welcome home. Truth be told, there’s nothing ordinary about Blackbird; in a town full of blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em bars, this one’s got a distinct personality. And staying power too. Take your libations straight up or in a handcrafted cocktail. The signature Blackbird—a mix of sweet tea vodka, fresh lemonade and blackberries served on the rocks—is the perfect antidote to the sizzling south Florida sun.

Read more

FDR at Delano

The Delano’s subterranean speakeasy is the very antithesis of its trendy parent hotel. The dimly lit den of chandeliers mixes old-school Florida decor with the aesthetic of a swanky cruise-ship lounge. Though it only has a capacity of 200, it attracts a diverse crowd: everyone from young hipsters and chic sophisticates to Golden Girls clones on a fancy night out on the town.

Read more

Hofbraü Beerhall

Don’t be fooled by the name: this is not a beerhall. But this Lincoln Road café offers signature German brews in lager, wheat and dark, imported from Munich and served in massive steins that can only be lifted by South Beach muscle boys and girls. The outdoor tables are ideal for people-watching, but footie fans prefer to remain inside where they can watch the match on TV. The wurst is recommended, as are the piping hot soft pretzels. The restaurant recently added a small wine list to its repertoire.

Read more

Lou’s Beer Garden

Critics' pick

For the gourmet grub you’d find in South Beach’s best restaurants—minus the hassle and attitude—head north to this happening neighborhood gastropub, where the beer menu boasts more than two dozen options (bottles and draught), with a focus on American microbrews.

Read more
Mid Beach

Wood Tavern

Critics' pick

Art galleries run rampant in Wynwood, but honest-to-goodness pubs? Not so much. Which makes Wood Tavern a particularly welcome addition to the neighborhood (and a great pit stop before or after a movie at the arty O Cinema Wynwood). The backyard patio features communal picnic table seating, making it easy to strike up conversation with a local.

Read more
Wynwood

Catalina Hotel & Beach Club

This constantly expanding hipster hangout features not one but three bars in three different buildings. In the main lobby bar, there’s a shagadelic, shabby-chic vibe thanks to the red shag carpeting and Austin Powers-style mod furniture, not to mention the requisite lobby lounge music. Across the street from the chi-chi Delano and the Shore Club, it occasionally lures their glamorpuss guests for a low-key drink. The rooftop bar has priceless views and pricey cocktails.

Read more

Foxhole Bar

On the bay side of South Beach—far removed from the main tourist and nightclub drag—Foxhole Bar means it when it refers to itself as an "upscale locals’ joint." This late-night hotspot is still jumping as the sun starts to rise, with Miamians jockeying for position among the plush banquettes or playing darts and pool. At the beginning of the night, early birds can take advantage of the weekday happy hour (5-8pm) offering $3 beers and $5 cocktails.

Read more

Highbar

By day, it’s the pool bar for the hip Dream South Beach hotel (which is open to non-guests, you just need to order up a cocktail). At night, this all-white, retro-styled rooftop lounge offers perfect views of the Atlantic and a chilled alfresco atmosphere where you can actually hear what your partner’s saying. An entertainingly diverse cocktail menu includes Face Down in the Pool, a mix of rum and candied pineapple.

Read more

Segafredo L'Originale

Don’t be fooled by the espresso signs here; although you can technically order a latte, Segafredo is best known for its boozy brand of European café society. Mobbed with a colorful crowd, the mostly outdoor café lures elegant slummers with its hefty cocktail menu. There’s also wine and beer, and snacks to go with it, but most ’Fredo devotees are on a liquid diet. A Downtown branch (1421 S Miami Avenue, at SE 14th Street, Downtown, 1-305 577 9811), in the Brickell Avenue business district, features a sprawling indoor/outdoor seating area and nightclub, Spazio Nero, so you can get your groove on.

Read more

Finnegan's River

A sprawling complex of bars, plasma televisions, more bars, a pool and marina, Finnegan’s River is Downtown’s best sports bar—if not for the rowdy sports fans who go there, then for the best views of the Miami skyline.

Read more

Comments

0 comments