Best bars in South Beach
Forget South Beach—Sweet Liberty is known as one of the best bars in Miami. Period. This flashy cocktail bar whips up amazing cocktails alongside a menu of fresh seafood and proper American bar food. Happy hour (95 cent oysters and $5 rosé) is every day from 4 to 7pm. Write that down.
Got a little extra cash in your pocket? The cocktails at Employees Only ain’t cheap but, boy, are they worth it. A lot of South Beach bars try (and fail) to channel the neighborhood’s essence, but Employees Only is a bar sexy enough for South Beach. And don’t even get us started on the steak tartare.
Let’s hear it for the boys at Palace, Miami’s (and probably the world’s) undisputed champion of drag brunch. They practically invented the pairing of mimosas and drag queens and continue to do it (on the sidewalk, nonetheless) better than anyone in town. Reservations for the popular weekend brunch shows are advised.
Ricky’s offers a rare occasion for both your inner-child and outer-adult to find satisfaction. The loud bar offers Artichoke Pizza by the slice, arcade games and playful cocktails behind the bar. Beer pong and karaoke? They’ve got that too. Oh, to be young again.
The great Mac Klein ran this bar, one of Miami’s oldest, until he passed away in 2016 at the ripe old age of 101. Today, his bar lives on just as he intended it: old-school, smoky, unpretentious and simply the best dive bar in Florida. Fun fact: the bar’s neon lights were installed during the filming of a Miami Vice episode.
A tiny bar with a big attitude, ScapeGoat might just be serving the best cocktails in South of Fifth. The laidback bar uses mostly American-made products and will even smoke a few hickory chips for your cocktail right in front of you. It’s a great place to hide from the ruckus, have a cocktail and chat.
With its dive-y vibes, Abbey is a welcome change of pace from the frilly Lincoln Road, which sits just a block behind it. Try one of the Abbey beers they brew in-house, and if you show up on Sunday, enjoy a complimentary hot dog to go along with it.
The bar inside the Albion Hotel is, thankfully, much more than just a hotel bar. The cocktails are really well done here and fairly priced for South Beach. Grab one and sink into a sofa with a board game—or perhaps a game of Mario Kart in the corner?
Pretend you’re Don Draper on one of his ill-advised Miami vacations at the Regent. The classy cocktail club will have you putting those pinkies up as you sip on your old fashioned. Don’t exactly have Mr. Draper’s budget? Happy hour (Sunday through Thursday from 7 to 10pm) sees cocktails for as low as $5.
Fear not the life-size statue of Bruce Lee hanging menacingly over the bar. He is simply there to ensure you have a fun, safe time in the classic Miami dive bar. And, honestly, he has a pretty easy job because it’s tough not to have a good time at Kill Your Idol, especially with $3 PBR and weekly karaoke.