At times it feels as though Miami has more watering holes than restaurants, which means there’s no shortage of places to grab a drink. But it’s slim pickings for wine lovers looking to uncork new varietals or unwind with a rare vintage. For both die-hards and those who’ve just graduated from the boxed stuff, we’ve scouted the top 10 wine bars in town. Keep the party going at Miami’s best happy hours and rooftop bars.
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Best wine bars in Miami
Filled with barrels that double as tables and stacked wine crates in every open nook, Happy Wine is basically our dream sipping room. The space might be diminutive, but the selection is anything but, with wines from Europe, South America and just about every other wine-producing region of the world. Spanish varieties reign (riojas, cavas, albariños, etc.) since they pair best with the tapas menu, but regular tastings and weekly wine specials give ample opportunity to sample more.
Owner Craig DeWald is serious about vino—he traded a job in corporate America to open his own wine bar—but his approach is wholly playful, as revealed by Uvaggio’s menu. Pick from full-bodied whites in the “Large and In Charge” section, spring for a “Sweety Pie” dessert wine or sample a variety during Saturday’s afternoon tastings. Top Chef alumnus Bret Pelaggi helms the kitchen, whipping up thoughtful dishes, such as handmade gnocchi and roasted cauliflower, that enhance the tasting experience.
Grab a stool at the spacious bar (it seats about 20) to enjoy a curated selection of wines from the Mediterranean. Owner Liza Meli focuses on unusual grape varietals to give oenophiles the opportunity to try something new, such as Prensal blanc from Mallorca or the light-bodied red Frappato grape from Sicily. Despite the menu feeling insider-y, the vibe is casual and both experts and newbies are made to feel welcome.
If the menu at Bin No. 18 reads like chef-owner Alfredo Patino’s travel diary (the dishes are a reflection of his culinary stints through the Piedmont region of Italy and the Côte d’Azur in France) then the wine list is his little black book. The selection comprises wines from small vineyards—mainly in Spain, France and Italy—that Patino has visited and whose producers and distributors he knows personally. On Tuesdays, any bottle under $50 is half price, so you, too, can get familiar with the assortment.
Wine angels do exist! And you’ll find them at Cibo, retrieving your chosen bottle from a floor-to-ceiling cellar while suspended via harness. Navigating the 3,000-bottle wall (which includes plenty of Italian and California labels) is no small feat. Feeling fancy? Opt for a taste of the 28 boutique wines dispensed by the innovative Enomatic system, which allows for single pours from high-end bottles while preserving taste and freshness.
A night at Lagniappe feels like a backyard bash at a friend’s—if said friend had a spacious yard filled with mismatched lawn furniture and strung-up bistro lights. It’s all very casual here: Walk in, pick your bottle from the cooler (generally stocked from small-production wineries) and take your selection to the register, where it’s uncorked before you head to the back to enjoy.
Consider WD 555 the ideal wine trifecta: the place to try, buy and pair your new selection. The three-in-one concept features a wine store, bar and restaurant with a breezy terrace. Beginners will want to stop by on Tuesdays for free wine tastings and live music, while those in the mood for a food pairing can opt to pick up a bottle from the shop and bring it to the restaurant for a nominal corkage fee.
With its somewhat hidden Midtown location and dimly lit corridor, the Wine Vault feels very much like an underground hideaway. Ride the pneumatic glass tube upstairs to find a cozy fireplace and couches on which to enjoy the selection of mostly West Coast wines (pinot noirs and Napa Valley reds among them), or pull up a stool outside during the daily happy hour, when the crowd is buzzing and house wines are just a few bucks.
This Coconut Grove wine bar/art gallery’s decidedly chill vibe is due in large part to its dog-friendly sidewalk seating, complete with comfy loungers and bistro tables. When you’re not drinking with Bark Wahlberg, head inside to tackle the extensive list of wines from all over the world, which pair well with the small but thoughtful menu of regionally themed cheese boards (Spanish, French, Greek, etc…) and panini. Just a heads up: Service outside is on the slow end, so expect to take your sweet time.