The best bars in Miami aren’t all fancy, tourist-baiting rooftop bars or mega clubs in Miami’s party hot spots. Some of Miami’s best bars are all about spicy wings and ice-cold beers and huge screens—dozens and dozens of screens. These are the sports bars making sure that come game day—when we’ve slipped into our Dolphins or Heat gear and are getting ready to shout ourselves hoarse—we can get together and get a little crazy in the best possible way. To the best sports bars in Miami, we raise a glass.
Best sports bars in Miami
Billy Corben, the director of ESPN’s 30 for 30 The U and The U: Part 2 recommends Tom’s NFL, and that’s probably reason enough for sports fans to flock. After all, NFL is in the name. And while it’s possible to see Corben at this sports bar adjacent to Miami International Airport, it’s also one of the few bars that shows not just the usual NFL, NBA and MLB games, but also NCAA, soccer and rugby games as well. Tom’s NFL is the perfect cross between pool hall and dive bar, with dark wood walls and blood-red upholstered booths, but the three 10-foot HD screens and 25 other flatscreens make patrons feel like they’re right on the field.
Another sports grill with the Billy Corben seal of approval, Mike’s at Venetia is 100 percent Miami—in that it’s basically touching the water. With a prime bayside location, it’s one of the nicest places to watch Ndamukong Suh scare the pants off of any Dolphins’ opponent. Family-owned and operated by Mike and Norma Shelow, the Irish pub has 20 televisions available for viewing throughout the bar, restaurant and patio. During NFL games, Mike’s offers some great specials: it’s one of the few places in Miami where diners can score a 12 oz. Angus NY sirloin or rib eye for just $18.95.
Yes, Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill is a chain. But it’s a South Florida-based chain and it’s one of the most profitable sports bar and grill franchises in the area. There’s a reason for that: That green awning signals a good time, and more importantly, there are great pitcher deals—10 free wings with a pitcher of beer during late-night happy hours from 10pm to midnight! While there are many locations, the Coconut Grove spot claims Cold War heritage. CIA operatives during the nuclear era used what is now Flanigan’s as a bar hangout—they called it “27 Birds” because of its address, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Tucked away in a strip center by the Falls, Little Hoolie’s is that dimly-lit, slightly dingy sports bar from days past. It’s a dark wood-paneled spot filled with locals, and even though Dolphins and Heat games play on the bar’s 30 televisions, Little Hoolie’s is a bar far-removed from the neon and glitz of South Beach. And if it turns out the Phins’ defense doesn’t live up to this year’s hype, fans can still be winners at Little Hoolie’s: the bar offers free raffle giveaways during hometeam games. For a sweet finish, opt for the Miami-appropriate Chango, a fried banana caramel cheesecake. It’ll have you singing Chongalicious all the way home.
While it’s advisable to skip the Coconut Grove staple on Thursdays when the former hippie enclave is overrun with college co-eds, on all other nights it’s impossible to go wrong at the Sandbar Sports Grill. Sandbar has lunch specials until 4pm every game day—you’ll want to try the fish taco, or if you’re feeling bold, the five-pound burrito. And with 24 regular-sized HD television screens and one mega screen, it’s entirely possible to while away an afternoon and night at the Sandbar.
While it’s yet to be determined whether Erik Spolestra can resurrect the Miami Heat—despite Dwayne Wade’s resigning—Shuckers Bar and Grill has had its own resurrection, successfully rising from the ashes of its 2013 deck collapse, which injured over 30 people, two of them seriously, during Game 4 of the NBA Finals. But a year later, the quarter-century-old bar was up and running again, slinging wings, beer and impeccable ceviche. Stop by to witness the rebirth, and take in the waterfront views.
Although Kim Bokamper wasn’t one of the undefeated Dolphins, he did give South Florida something else of significance—Bokampers Sports Bar and Grill. With locations around South Florida and in Naples, Bokampers has grown into a huge sports bar franchise. The location in Miramar has over 70 televisions, a fire pit, and high ceilings, which all adds up to a lodge-like atmosphere. For those who point out that a Miramar bar isn’t really in Miami, which is true, just remember that the Phins’ homefield in Miami Gardens isn’t too far away from the Broward County border.
Sports Grill has seven outposts in South Florida, and each is exactly as advertised:a spot to kick back and enjoy the game. Pick your balling poison, whichever one of Miami’s professional sports franchises, and they’ll be playing on Sports Grill screens. The Marlins, Dolphins and Heat are valued at $3.7 billion combined, according to Forbes, and during Monday Night Football a patron at Sports Grill can feel like a billionaire with the 65 cent wing special, 4pm until closing. The Kendall Sports Grill is filled with high-top tables close to the bar for easy viewing and drinking, but you can watch the game just as easily from one of the many green booths in the main dining section.
Be warned: drinks at the famous field-side club come with gasp-worthy ballpark prices. But, seeing as Jeffrey Loria is the only professional Miami sports franchise owner not listed on Forbes Billionaires List, maybe he needs the cash. And the ticket price for seats in the Clevelander is worth it alone for the indoor pool. While the Marlins can’t guarantee a win, an afternoon at the Clevelander is the most fun way to take in a game. If the game takes a turn for the worse, turn to the live bands that play at the ballpark club for entertainment.
Smack in the middle of Canes territory, this South Miami mainstay is the bar counterpart to Deli Lane. Show up for their Stomp! Country Music Tuesdays or the classic Whiskey Wednesdays, and take advantage of the tavern’s 50-plus beers during games. If hunger strikes in the middle of a U game, opt for the classic Pressed Duck sandwich: roast duck breast, onions, brie cheese and apricot sauce in a grilled hoagie. Chances are you’ll catch South Miami locals here, and with a kids’ menu complete with quarter burgers and pizza, it’s the perfect place for parents to bring their children to watch a game.