Monterrey Bar The Standard
Photography: Courtesy Monterrey Bar

The best Miami speakeasies to drink on the down low

From dimly lit hi-fi lounges to pirate-approved cocktail caves, these are the best speakeasy bars in Miami.

Falyn Wood
Contributor: Virginia Gil
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We know what you might be thinking: mustachioed bartenders in leather harnesses, cocktails inexplicably served inside smoky glass prisms, a pretentious playlist and crowds too cool to dance. These are not that kind of speakeasy. If you’re in the mood to go out but would rather skip the bustling Miami happy hours or crowded South Beach clubs, we’ve got you covered. Whether it’s a hidden away Downtown dive, a sexy high-fidelity listening lounge in Wynwood or a trendy Little River drinking den you never knew existed, these surreptitious Miami speakeasy bars offer a welcome reprieve from the ordinary.

RECOMMENDED: The best bars in Miami

Miami speakeasies

  • Cocktail bars
  • South Beach
  • price 2 of 4

Find this quiet, moody speakeasy tucked away down a short staircase off the lobby of the Stiles Hotel on Collins Avenue. Evoking true pirate ship vibes, the dark, narrow space is lined with more than 150 rums and is ideal for intimate, late-night conversations. Get two or three sheets to the wind on Swizzle’s creative (and highly potent) cocktails, prepared with Miami’s favorite spirit.

  • Lounges
  • Wynwood
  • price 2 of 4

Hidden away in the courtyard of an off-the-beaten-track Wynwood strip, Miami’s first all-vinyl listening bar is home to a state-of-the-art sound system and a growing collection of nearly 8,500 vinyl records curated by resident DJ and musical director Rich Medina—meaning the intimate, 50-seat venue boasts a soundtrack every bit as impressive as the sips. Inspired by the listening bars of Japan, find Dante’s by following the sound of the music (it’s piped from a speaker mounted above a nondescript door).

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  • Hotels
  • Spa hotels
  • Belle Isle
  • price 3 of 4

Tucked away off the lobby at the ultra-zen Standard Spa, Monterrey Bar is a vibey-y stop for happy hour or a nightcap on your way to or from the beach via the Venetian Causeway. Kick back in the cozy, 1970s-inspired lounge to indulge in the adorable mini martini service including a classic vesper and an espresso martini made with chocolate rum. From the bites, go for shishito peppers with hot honey or tots made with black truffle and raclette.

  • Lounges
  • Park West
  • price 3 of 4

Don’t let the long, rowdy line outside deter you—that’s likely for Club Space. Housed in a small room on the ground level of the same building, this little venue books acts that dance music aficionados drool over. A spot where the DJs perform right on the floor next to the crowd, Floyd is great if you’re not quite up for a mega-club but you’re still itching to get lost in the music and dance with friends until late.

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  • Cocktail bars
  • Omni
  • price 2 of 4

It’s not easy to find Miami’s best tiki bar, and that’s kind of by design. Most people miss the buzzer on the east side of the condo building’s exterior that says “Ring for a Mai-Tai.” The door opens into a place that feels transported straight from the Big Island. The Hawaiian-themed Kaona Room is delightfully tropical, kitschy and original. Expect reinvented classic tiki cocktails like the Ghost, essentially a zombie but clarified until it’s crystal as spring water, sweet, tart, with a hint of spice—and as strong as a sucker punch to the kisser.

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Eric Barton
Contributor

Modeled after Tokyo Music Bar in Mexico City, Miami's latest low-key listening lounge boasts a hi-fi sound system assembled in the U.K. and customized in Japan. Designed by Edo Kobayashi in collaboration with Baja Restaurant Group, Miami Sound Bar brings together audiophiles in Downtown to experience vinyl records in a relaxed, intimate and dimly space. Broken Shaker alum Gil Borenshtein presides over the cocktail program.

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  • Drinking

Walk through the front of Jrk! past the counter where you’d typically order yummy bowls of jerk chicken or oxtail to find Mangrove, an intimate, dimly lit space filled with vintage details like channeled leather banquettes, caned Cesca chairs, greenery spilling over the bar and a yellow-tiled DJ booth lined with vinyl records. By day, guests can hang out in the space to enjoy their meals during Jrk!’s regular hours. By night, the lounge seamlessly transforms into Mangrove, serving a Caribbean-inspired dinner menu plus refreshing, island-inspired cocktails like the Red Red Wine made with white rum, house-made sorrel, ginger and fresh lime juice. The bar and lounge welcome guests on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 6pm to 1am and Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm to 3am.

  • Cocktail bars
  • East Little Havana
  • price 2 of 4

To find Los Altos, you’ll have to do a little searching. This somewhat secret bar is located above the Calle Ocho taco joint Taquerias el Mexicano, which has recently been revamped by the Ball and Chain team. You can find Los Altos (hopefully) up the stairs behind a false wall inside a Mexican candy shop. Just ask around if you’re slightly lost. Inside, expect an upscale speakeasy heavy on velvet and leather with lots of Mexican-inspired details. The cocktails take inspiration from Mexico as well and there are plenty of tequila and mezcal options to choose from.

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Peek behind the curtain at Mexican restaurant Como Como to find this dimly lit speakeasy, serving up an impressive selection of more than 100 types of mezcals and tequilas. Mezcalista caters to the spirit-curious with guided sipping experiences led by an expert mezcalier. While weekends are meant for dancing: Think DJs holding court in the raised booth at the center of the room and plenty of mezcal-based cocktails to keep the crowd fueled. 

  • Cocktail bars
  • South Beach
  • price 3 of 4

Find this quiet speakeasy by weaving your way through the ground floor of the swoon-worthy Esmé Hotel on Española Way. Like the rest of the hotel, El Salón’s attention to detail has a transportive effect. Plush booth seating, ceramic tile, natural stone countertops and wooded ceilings make this cocktail bar the ideal spot for an intimate date or decadent nightcap. El Salón also creates its own nuanced spirit blends and serves up an extensive list of simple, refined cocktails from its tiny bar.

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Specializing in agave-based spirits, namely mezcal, this petite Little River speakeasy features a massive disco ball, tropical lounge furnishings and a small but glitzy bar lined with bottles you’ve likely never seen before, from small-batch mezcals to high-end tequilas. Enter through a trippy, mirrored, Tulum-inspired corridor through La Santa Taqueria—home to some of Miami’s best tacos. If you’re overwhelmed by the selection, ask the bartender about his favorite: dealer’s choice is the way to go here.

  • Cocktail bars
  • Brickell
  • price 3 of 4

The 40th-floor cocktail bar is a bit of a not-so-well-kept secret. It’s just down the hall from Brickell’s popular rooftop spot Sugar, but it’s much tougher to get into. Floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides mean you’ll still get one of the nicest views in the city without having to sit outside at Sugar, where a surprise shower can get douse you at any minute. 

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  • Caf茅s
  • East Little Havana
  • price 2 of 4

Tourists and locals alike already know about the excellent food and drinks at this nostalgia-soaked Little Havana spot where decorated cantinero Julio Cabrera mans the bar. But not as many people are privy to the party that goes down on Fridays and Saturdays starting at midnight when the acclaimed restaurant’s backroom turns into a neon-tinged, ’80s-themed speakeasy complete with DJ-spun disco hits and kitschy nods to Miami’s drug-fueled past.

  • Hamburgers
  • Midtown
  • price 2 of 4

Securing a table at popular burger joint Kush is nearly impossible, but you’ll welcome the wait at this cozy little spot next door. This cool and dimly lit “cellar” bar adjacent to Kush is reserved for customers killing time before being seated. Stocked with an assortment of funky craft cans, you'll also find tons of local brews on tap here.

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  • Cocktail bars
  • South of Fifth
  • price 2 of 4

This blink-and-you-might-miss-it bar serves up delicious craft cocktails with an emphasis on made-in-America ingredients. Bartenders pull out all the stops: flames, smoke and other flashy techniques make things feel more like a science lab than a bar at times. But the friendly, intimate environment (the bar can squeeze in about 40 people) make this South of Fifth spot very inviting. 

  • Mexican
  • Wynwood

You’ve probably been too busy scarfing down tacos and chips to notice Coyo’s secret back bar. Walk past the bathroom, down the hall and through the swinging doors to discover one of Wynwood’s best-kept secrets—and drinking den. The taco shop saves its best cocktails for the bar inside this small square room: paletaritas, mezcal margaritas and a slew of tequila-based concoctions round out the drink menu. Looking to get down? On Saturday nights, the place turns into one giant dance party set to indie jams and techno beats. Insider tip: Coyo's Coral Gables location also boasts a secret back bar.

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  • Mexican
  • South Beach
  • price 1 of 4

Walking into a club through a port-a-potty is kinda fun, and so is the crowd at Bodega. Serious taco shack in the front and legit party spot in the back, you’ll know you’ve reached it when you pull up to the unassuming Mexican restaurant with a massive line out front. The small drinkery lights up with cool, young folks with an apparent high tolerance for booze: the shots are always flowing here.

  • Mexican
  • East Little Havana
  • price 2 of 4

Blasphemous neon signs and Instagrammable corners mark El Santo’s naughtier back-room bar. Go past the pay-phone with a direct line to God, through the gigantic wooden doors and into the room with vaulted ceilings where dangling skeletons mark the spot. El Diablo doesn’t take itself seriously, and neither will you when you find yourself several tequilas deep, dancing on banquettes to reggaeton. El Diablo wants you to think it’s a bar but it has the feel of a full-blown club.

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