Best bars in Miami
What is it? The best bar in this city and—we feel safe saying—the entire damn state. How does Sweet Liberty so consistently earn this honor? Simply put: it’s fun. This bar has that special energy that makes you want to put down your phone, pick up your drink (some of Miami’s best, by the way) and boogie.
Why go? Happy hour runs daily from 4pm to 7pm and features 95 cent oysters, $5 cocktails and rosé on tap. And stop by anytime for the best piña colada in the south.
What is it? The bar that showed Miami just how delicious cocktails could be. This intimate, tropical outdoor bar that lives inside the Freehand has become a must-visit for any informed drinker passing through the city. Thankfully, the bar hasn’t lost any of its magic over the years and remains the North Star of Miami’s craft cocktail culture.
Why go? The Broken Shaker’s insanely delicious punch bowls are perfect for small groups who don’t feel like trekking back and forth to the bar. They change seasonally, so come back often.
What is it? A sleek, Japanese-inspired cocktail lounge that slings chef-driven drinks. What does mean exactly? Ingredients are stewed, steeped and poured over—like the rich, salty mushroom broth served as a whiskey chaser in lieu of jarred pickle brine.
Why go? You’re bored with your usual bar fare and crave some excitement from your cocktail. Get a riff on an old fashioned made with matcha (bonus: the flavors change as the giant ice cube melts) and pair it with an order of expensive (but delightful!) Iberico ham-and-shrimp dumplings. More thrilling than both is the secret omakase restaurant next door called Ama.
What is it? The bar helping to put Downtown Miami back on the drinking map. Lost Boy—a former denim shop—doesn’t go out of its way to impress you or pander to the Instagram crowd. It’s simple, effective and delicious. In Miami, that’s a rare trifecta.
Why go? To throw darts, play pool and drink solid gin and tonics, baby.
What is it? Put us on a tropical island with only one group of bartenders and we’re taking the Anderson’s crew with us. The drinks here—a seasonally rotating menu—are marriage material. Design buffs will also get a kick out of the retro space, which blends old-school piano bar, with an upscale cocktail lounge and tiki hut. Somehow—and don’t ask us how—it all fits perfectly.
Why go? Night owls should take full advantage of the Anderson’s late night happy hour Tuesday through Thursday from midnight to 2am.
What is it? A sleek cocktail bar at the bottom of the residential building X Miami. It’s worth the search. Jaguar Sun is run by bartender Will Thompson and ex-Momofuku and Per Se chef Carey Hynes so the drinks (think lots of small-batch and artisanal spirits) and the food (all the carbs) get two happy thumbs up.
Why go? That pasta, though… Don’t be surprised to find a crowded bar with people all tucking into Hynes’ house-made bucatini. While big groups love to gather around Thompson’s large-format cocktails.
What is it? Gramps is a bar that leaves it all on the field. The cocktails are delicious, the space is always evolving for the better and the weekly programming is a never-ending parade of good times. And none of the success has gone to Gramps’ head. This Wynwood mainstay remains a bar for the people, by the people.
Why go? Thursday’s drag night, Double Stubble, is the best party in town and a showcase of killer underground queer talent.
What is it? Ball & Chain was doing its thing in Little Havana way before most of its new customers were alive. It’s rare for a bar with such a storied past to find such a successful second life, but Ball & Chain has done just that thanks to an attention to detail and respect for history.
Why go? You’ll find live Latin music at Ball & Chain seven days a week and there’s never a cover.
What is it? A fun bar that thrives despite suffering from a minor identity crisis: it’s a dive meets cocktail bar meets sports lounge meets dance floor and—is that a library next to the bathroom? At Mama Tried, the answer is always yes. And it’s best not to overthink it. Just grab a drink, dance, play some pool and come back soon to do it all over again.
Why go? Ladies, every Wednesday from 10pm to 1am you get all the free drinks your heart desires (and liver can handle).
What is it? A true charmer. Whether you’re trying to woo a first date or just looking to fall in love with a nice bottle of wine, the so-cute-it-hurts Lagniappe is here for you. Its mismatched backyard is perhaps the best place in Miami for a drink and a conversation. And, as if things just couldn’t get any more romantic, there’s live jazz.
Why go? Roll deep with no concern for seating or check drama—seating is first come, first served and bills are paid up front at the counter when you order.
What is it? Generator Miami’s lobby bar, where both guests and non-guests can (and should) find a seat and enjoy some top-notch cocktails and bites. Bartenders take your order for both food and drink, mixing your cocktail tableside in the inviting, dim space.
Why go? That margarita with clarified lime juice is going to punch you right in the palate.
What is it? Put on your fancy pants, people. The luxurious Le Sirenuse might just be worth ironing them, too. Le Sirenuse is technically an Italian restaurant but there’s no shame in stopping by for a drink at the gorgeous, emerald green Champagne Bar, featuring a cocktail menu inspired by the Amalfi Coast.
Why go? Aren’t you a little curious about the $60 “Frank Sinatra” champagne cocktail, made with Louis Roederer Cristal Brut, Beefeater gin and—just a guess here—diamonds for ice cubes?
What is it? A charming, laid-back cocktail and coffee bar from the folks behind Beaker & Gray. It exudes old-Florida retro vibes and a homey feel. See the upright wooden piano against the wall? It belonged to owner Ben Potts’ mom, so don’t spill something on it.
Why go? Feel like you’re hanging out a friend’s house, except this buddy has a sprawling living room where you can pass the time playing pool, and he knows his way around a craft cocktail menu. Try the Negroni with coconut water—it’s equal parts boozy and hydrating.
What is it? A fraction of the size of most SoBe watering holes, Minibar lives up to its name with a diminutive space in an out-of-sight location inside the Urbanica the Meridian Hotel.
Why go? Try partner and creative director Philippe “Flip” Falca’s favorite: the South Beach “Z” Pack, made with Olmeca Altos tequila, ginger, honey, lemon, grapefruit and a hint of mezcal. Fret not: the tiny bar serves full-sized drinks.
What is it? An Asian food market, cocktail bar, record shop/bodega and there’s a tiny private karaoke room in the back too. When it comes to 1-800-Lucky, the better question is: what isn’t it? On weekend nights though, you’ll find a strong nightlife crowd dancing, sipping and tearing into Taiyaki’s ice cream.
Why go? Good luck finding another bar with such immediate access to pork dumplings and steamy pho.
What is it? In Downtown’s 24-hour district, nightclubs reign supreme. But the Corner is an oasis for those who’d rather sip on an old fashioned than get bottle service. This smoky, cozy space—equal parts dive and cocktail bar—is a true local’s joint and not for the faint of heart after 2am.
Why go? The Corner’s kitchen stays open really late and you sure will be thankful whilst tearing into a Chicago dog and chips at 4am.
What is it? A neighborhood bar for those who aren’t afraid of a little grit. Las Rosas is fun, loud and brash—but certainly welcoming to anyone looking for a stiff drink and no bullshit. Its home, Allapattah, is also poised to become one of Miami’s next hot spots.
Why go? Las Rosas is ground zero for Miami’s music scene thanks to its strong music programming and killer sound system.
What is it? Hop in the coolest elevator in Miami (snap a selfie for IG, obvi), get off on the 40th floor and welcome to Miami’s buzziest rooftop bar. Sugar is fancy and not for all budgets, but that view is hard to beat.
Why go? Because you deserve a big city night out. You really do. Plus whether or not you’re footing the bill, Sugar’s Asian-inspired cocktails (especially the Jasmine with Don Julio Reposado) are worth the splurge.
What is it? This historic dive has been operating for over 50 years and is only getting better with age. It was one of Bourdain’s favorite spots and it’ll be yours too, if you consider yourself a lover of the American dive bar.
Why go? Two-for-one happy hour starts at 8am (seriously) and doesn’t stop until 7pm seven days a week. Beat that.
What is it? Wynwood’s most consistently hoppin’ (do the kids still say hoppin’?) bar. This mostly outdoor spot feels like a house party on the weekends. Old school hip-hop is the predominant soundtrack and it’s not rare to see breakdancers dueling on the patio.
Why go? Wood is the undisputed champ of taco Tuesday, when it slings out 100 percent free (!) tacos from 5pm to 8pm.