If you’re planning a night out, chances are it’s going to be a late one (this is Miami, after all). Kick things off at one of the best rooftop bars in Miami, where you can watch the sky transform into a pink- and orange-streaked work of art to rival even the most vibrant murals you’ll find in Wynwood. Keep it going with the best happy hour deals in Miami and outdoor parties stretching from downtown Miami to South Beach.
Best rooftop bars in Miami
Not even a cluster of skyscrapers could guarantee a solid rooftop in downtown Miami. That was until the historic Langford Hotel came along and delivered the city’s corporate epicenter from its post-work doldrums. Set high atop this 1920s-era bank-turned-hotel is where you’ll find Pawn Broker, a sophisticated, old-timey cocktail bar from the Pubbelly group, whose involvement alone is reason to venture to these parts past 5 o’clock. Cuban tile and marble accents add to its retro feel that’s echoed by a menu brimming with Prohibition-era drinks. Our favorite? The Giggle Water, a spin on bathtub gin made with hints of lemon oil and lavender aromas. More modern pursuits, like a post-brunch sunset party and a ladies’ night, kick off later this year.
It’s not uncommon to see a line forming downstairs at EAST, Miami to ride the elevator up 40 flights to Sugar. Remain patient and you’ll be rewarded with 360-views of the city and surrounding waterways, Asian-themed cocktails (like the Sweet Life, a sugar-y cocktail blended with Thai iced tea, lemon and whiskey) and a place that feels more like a secluded, storybook garden than a bar.
Even at 18 stories above Miami Beach, watr doesn’t compromise its connection to the ocean. The Polynesian-inspired rooftop restaurant and bar is decked in reclaimed wood, lit by strings of bulbs and features a soundtrack more akin to breaking waves than the usual club bangers you hear in these parts. On the off chance you’re not feeling the laidback vibe and need a cocktail straightaway, they’ve got mojitos, margaritas and frosé on tap.
For a photo op befitting of an “I live where you vacation” caption, you’ll head to Area 31’s 16th floor lounge—which may not technically be on the roof, but its view of downtown is hard to beat. You’ll join young professionals and business types from Brickell, who make their way to Thursday’s “Veuve O’Clock” and Friday night’s “Chase the Clock” happy hours (where champagne, specialty drinks and bar bites are priced by the hour: $5 at 5pm, $6 at 6pm, etc., until 10pm). Other days, happy hour runs from 5 to 8pm. Herbs from an onsite garden make their way into numerous seasonal libations. Be sure to order the In Honor with Botanist Gin, Cointreau, lime, house-made tonic and lime. Make round two a champagne cocktail. Cheers.
Perched on the roof of 1111 Lincoln Road, adjacent to the famed Herzog & de Meuron parking garage, Juvia provides sweeping views of South Beach. Take in the sights while sipping on Purple Rain, a potent mix of vodka, a type of purple Peruvian corn and fresh lemon (you’ll also notice that the regal color is a recurring theme in the penthouse space). The views aren’t the only thing that’s sky high—just wait for the bill. But with Instagram pics like this filling your feed, it’s well worth the price tag.
Here is a little guy who packs a big punch. At just four stories above Collins Avenue, the rooftop at the Gale South Beach more than measures up to its towering neighbors. For one, its views of Lincoln Road and surrounding areas are unobstructed and the people watching is fantastic—pedestrians look like humans rather than ants from this vantage point. If you’re looking to stay awhile, the adjoining restaurant serves food to help you weather a night of cocktails.
Parked on the tip-top of Soho Beach House in Miami Beach is Ocho, the posh yet laidback taqueria in South Beach. The open-air space houses a small pool for swimming and couches to crash on while you sip spicy margaritas and nosh on $8 menu items (try the tacos, guac and chips or infamous dirty burger). A hotbed for celebs and local socialites, this spot is ideal for spying on the main pool below or simply gazing out over the ocean. Note Soho House is a private club, so be sure to befriend a member or reserve a room to see what the fuss is all about.
Those looking for the serene side of South Beach can head to the Oasis, the rooftop level of this charming boutique hotel. Grab a lounger by the pool and order the chilled vodka with watermelon juice mixer (served in a mason jar, of course). You won’t be the only one taking it easy: Retro bathing beauties have been painted on pillars and mermaid photographs line the walls. The comfy couches may even have you second-guessing a planned trip to the club. Why leave serenity if you don’t need to? Stick around after the sun sets to booze in the moonlight.
This rooftop club, pool and lounge has one of the best and highest views in the city (floor-to-ceiling windows in the bathrooms that face neighboring buildings are a voyeur’s dream!). Add hip-hop, salsa and electronic beats to the mix—plus interior designer Kelly Wearstler’s killer eye and proclivity for the dramatic— and you’ve found the ideal place to spend an evening. Just a heads up: Scenesters and tourists have found it, too. You’ll find them, as well as Brickell’s 9-to-5ers (with ties loosened), lounging on the poolside cabana beds and sipping one of numerous wines from the spot’s extensive collection.
The aptly named watering hole pairs the glitz and glam of South Beach with stunning views (glimpse the city on one side, the beach on the other). Highbar is centered around an infinity pool and has everything you need to transition from day drinking to nighttime revelry: a DJ dropping beats, bottle service and private cabanas. Even if you’re not a hotel guest, check in on Sunday for the pool party from 9am to 11pm. As for partying until nearly midnight in your bikini? Hey, it happens.
This former firehouse-turned-restaurant-lounge—one of Brickell’s nightlife pioneers—consistently hosts one of the hottest parties in the neighborhood, in part due to its extended happy hour. Escape the masses you’ll usually find at street level and head to the second-floor rooftop for half-priced drinks and appetizers offered daily from 4–8pm. It’s decidedly less noisy (salsa, reggaeton and the like reverberate downstairs) with a clear view of the action down South Miami Avenue, a strip popular for dining, drinking and shopping.