Best waterfront bars in Miami
The Wharf is among the first wave of businesses to invest in what will soon no doubt be a very crowded Miami River. That investment has certainly paid off. The Wharf is rarely not packed with well-dressed Miamians. In addition to booze, the outdoor bar is dotted with a selection of food trucks—the focal point being the beloved Garcia's Seafood. It's a casual atmosphere: astroturf and picnic benches encourage mingling. There's boat parking available for nautical folk too but anyone is welcome to enjoy some champagne during the day or liquor and dancing at night.
A complete renovation of the sea wall and deck in 2014 gave this 25-year-old North Bay Village standby a new lease on life. Patrons here can kick back with a pitcher of beer, wings and oysters while taking in unobstructed views of the Miami sunset over the water. Umbrellas and palms provide a fair amount of shade for sports fans taking in the latest match on one of the flatscreen TVs, plus the onsite marina offers boat docking free of charge.
Dotted with bright yellow umbrellas and bright teal chairs, the bayside deck of the Standard Spa, Miami Beach plays host to a hippie-chic bar scene with unrivaled views of the water. It isn’t rare to spot of school of dolphins frolicking in the bay while downing a few glasses of sangria and frosé. The bar menu here is as light as the vibe, with Mediterranean-influenced dishes like char-grilled octopus and a mezze plate filled with hummus, eggplant pahi and olives.
A newcomer to the Miami scene, this Greek dream recently opened up along the Miami River in a 100-year-old converted fish market. A partially covered deck with tied-back white curtains and ivy-wrapped columns sets the scene for the simple, yet rustic Mediterranean fare that’ll accompany date night rounds of ouzo tinged with fresh-pressed juices. And while the main bar is tucked inside the charming rustic environs of the restaurant, the view from outside bar makes the decision to take a cocktail al fresco a no-brainer.
The WetLab has been one of the best-kept secrets in Miami—and for good reason. It takes a bit of maneuvering to find (it’s located behind the University of Miami’s RSMAS campus on Key Biscayne), but the views and prices are more than worth it. A wide-open terrace looks out over the turquoise waters of the bay, with string lights gently illuminating the view after the sun sets. Wine is a mere $4 and beer—including an exceptional craft selection—will put you out anywhere between $2.50 to $4, max. It’s a bargain beer drinker’s paradise.
Sure, they’ve got more than 20 TVs posted up around the joint—but none of them hold a candle to the view of the Intracoastal Waterway at this laid-back watering hole in North Miami Beach. And this isn’t just any sports bar—the 700 seats, fifty-space boat dock and a sunny pool deck (did we mention there’s a pool?) make sure of that. Dive-bar delicacies like chicken wings and potato skins sidle up to beer and frozen adult beverages, making this a favorite spot to catch a Heat or Marlins game.
Classic Americana on the water—that pretty much sums up the feeling at this lively Brickell joint. Red, white and blue adorn the outdoor patio that overlooks the Miami River. Beer is the way to go here, with an impressive roster of craft brews on tap—and if you can tear yourself away from the waterfront view, there are self-serving beer tap tables inside and house-made soft pretzel bites once the munchies strike.
Situated on Brickell Key, the Mandarin Oriental Miami’s newest bar (whose name means water in the ancient Inca language Quecha) offers mesmerizing views of the water and Brickell beyond. But don’t let the hypnotic view of Brickell Bay distract you from the matter at hand: cheekily named cocktails like the Sexy Bombon Punch with bourbon also demand your undivided attention.
Floating on the waterfront docks of the Miami Beach Marina, this longtime favorite gets lively during happy hour and on the weekends. The straw-thatched tiki hut bordering the pool offers a stunning view of yachts docked on the Atlantic while their infamous frozen Pain Relievers and Miami Vice cocktails take the sting out of a tough day at work. On weekdays from 4–8pm, happy hour kicks in with steep discounts on their raw bar (think: peel-and-eat shrimp, oysters and clams), beer and wine.
Nestled within a post-industrial warehouse not too far from River Yacht Club, this waterfront enclave features an outdoor lounge on a wood-lined deck that juts out onto the Miami River. Here, a see-and-be-seen crowd watches the sun set on the Downtown skyline with glasses of champagne and white cranberry-peach Blossom Martinis in hand. Live music echoes throughout the deck as boats cruise the river and plates of thinly sliced crudos accompany the cocktails coming out from behind the bar.
Perched on the waters of Biscayne Bay right off the Rickenbacker Causeway is a massive tiki hut that beckons thirsty locals with hurricane glasses filled with frosty rum runners, margaritas and Mai Tais. A deck festooned with faux parrots, brightly painted wood and the odd carved coconut or two provides a breezy perch for enjoying the tipples while the bay ripples beyond. Looking for a nosh to soak up some of the boozy concoctions? The menu is replete with bar favorites—nachos, wings, quesadillas—with items like gator bites and fried avocado offering a twist to the usual fare.
This lively, bi-level spot in the Fontainebleau Miami Beach channels a sun-splashed, South of France vibe—crisp whites, vibrant teals and an ocean view that’s hard to beat. The upper level overlooks both the pool and the ocean—the perfect spot for lounging back with a crisp glass of rosé (or a pitcher of their eponymous punch) and a plate of oysters while watching the bar scene light up with chic patrons chatting amidst DJ-spun tunes.