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The 28 best bars in Miami

Boho rooftops, natural wine nooks, lovable dives and cocktail havens comprise our definitive guide to Miami's best bars

Virginia Gil
Falyn Wood
Written by
Virginia Gil
Contributor
Falyn Wood
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April 2022: When prompted by any non-local friends to name our favorite Miami watering hole, it’s impossible not to take a long pause and really think about the answer. Of course, that’s not for a lack of amazing bars here. It’s just that with more options for going out drinking than ever, and even more creative spaces to do it in, Miami’s best bar really just depends on your mood that night (or day). Pick a vibe: Homegrown microbrewery, or natural wine haven? Chic aperitivo bar, or bohemian outdoor lounge? These days, finding your new favorite spot to imbibe in Miami is only a matter of stepping outside your door and choosing your adventure.

Miami has grown up, and so have our drinks. Sugary mojitos and frozen classics have their place, but when it's time to imbibe, the Magic City has so much more to offer these days. In stride with our ever-evolving culinary scene, Miami’s cocktail culture continues to raise the bar, producing star mixologists, thoughtfully crafted menus and curated spaces that delight the senses and help get us good and tipsy. Our beloved dives still offer a welcome reprieve from the chaos of the city. And sometimes an overpriced martini from a glamorous hotel lobby bar is just the thrill we need on our night out. But today, Miami’s many rooftops, speakeasies, wine bars and hybrid venues are carrying the torch for spirit-filled innovation. Is it happy hour yet? Here’s where to find the best bars in Miami, from Little Havana and Brickell to Wynwood and South Beach.

Time Out Market Miami
  • Restaurants
  • South Beach

Imagine a bar where the city’s top tipples flow, you never have to fight for a seat at the counter, and you don’t have to take out a loan to pay for your martini just because you’re in South Beach. (Read: The cocktails are cheap!) It’s all a reality at Time Out Market Miami, our roomy, well-appointed spot that features a curated menu of delicious drinks handpicked by the editors to represent Miami’s ever-growing cocktail culture.

Drink this: Cucumber Cooler

Best bars in Miami

  • Bars
  • South Beach
  • price 2 of 4

Ranked on the World’s 50 Best Bars’ 2018 list, Sweet Liberty has the rare distinction of being a local spot, an industry hangout and a tourist fave. There’s something for everyone in the spacious bar, whether it’s an elegant $17 martini, 95¢ oysters and $7 rose虂 at happy hour or a beer and a shot after midnight. It’s a family affair, as most of the friendly staff has been around since Day One, and there’s always some kind of live music on the weekends to get you on your feet. Like the neon PURSUE HAPPINESS sign that hangs on the wall—the maxim of the bar’s late co-owner, John Lermayer—Sweet Liberty is always a good time.

Drink this: Fresh as Fuck

  • Things to do
  • Event spaces
  • Wynwood

A genius idea that should’ve happened a long time ago, Freehold offers all of the comforts and coziness of a hotel without any of the rooms. If you’ve ever fallen hard for a hotel bar, you’ll understand the appeal here. There’s nothing like the Freehold, with its large courtyard designed to look like the non-hotel’s "pool." It’s here, under the glow of a giant disco ball, where you’ll want to gather with friends to share one of Freehold’s legendary punch bowls filled with whatever boozy concoction your heart desires.

Drink this: Espresso martini on tap

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Downtown
  • price 3 of 4

It’s worth the search to find this sleek cocktail bar at the bottom of the residential building X Miami. Helmed by bartender Will Thompson and chef Carey Hynes (Momofuku, Per Se), the petite, dimly lit Downtown staple offers a unique selection of small batches and artisanal spirits in an unpretentious, minimalist-modern setting. Though chef has relocated his talents (and full dinner menu) to Jaguar Sun’s pop-up Sunny’s Steakhouse in Little River, you can still find a selection of savory aperitivo-style bites to pair with your perfectly balanced and reliably boozy cocktails.

Drink this: Fino martini

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Miami Beach
  • price 3 of 4

This is the bar that showed Miami just how wonderful craft cocktails can be. Started by consulting agency Bar Lab, the tropical spot operates at the Freehand Miami Beach. Shaded by palm trees, bordered by a pool and flush with refreshing umbrella drinks, it’s the kind of place that’s recommended by travel guides for a taste of the laid-back Miami lifestyle. Seasonally driven beverages are what make the Shaker shine, while oversize punch bowls keep it a favorite for groups.

Drink this: Shaker-Hopper

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  • Bars
  • South Beach
  • price 1 of 4

Anthony Bourdain claimed this iconic dive as his ultimate Miami retreat, and he’s not alone. After more than 50 years in the business, this South Beach institution still packs in the locals with an impossible-to-beat BOGO happy hour that runs every day from 8am (seriously) to 7pm. You’ll want to bring cash to the no-frills spot, where smoking is still allowed but credit cards are not.

Drink this: Pabst Blue Ribbon

The stunning, emerald-green bar at the Four Seasons in Surfside unapologetically embraces the finer things in life, like gilded bellini carts and expertly mixed cocktails that will set you back at least one Jackson. Not many places give such attention to detail, and everything that hits the glass has been crafted in-house, from the juices and the syrups to the bitters and the tinctures. Cheers to the good life—and the Taco Bell you’ll be eating all week to pay for your round of drinks at this truly sublime place.

Drink this: Negroni

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • South Beach
  • price 2 of 4

Tucked away down a short staircase that’s off the Stiles Hotel lobby, Swizzle thrives in a quiet, sexy space away from noisy Collins Avenue. Evoking the feel of a small wooden pirate ship, the dark, narrow room is lined with more than 150 rums. Want to get two, maybe three sheets to the wind? Be warned: The beautiful, smooth-tasting cocktails are highly potent. Cozy up with your main squeeze at the tiny bar or nab some nearby high-tops for your girls’ night out.

Drink this: The Besame Mucho

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Downtown
  • price 2 of 4

Decked out in Americana, this saloon’s atmosphere is casual and sporty, but the beverage program is working overtime, proffering microbrews, craft cocktails and rare spirits. Drink up over a game of darts or pool, then relax on one of the mismatched chairs that surround the ornamental upright piano. It’s a snug, vintage vibe with better gin-and-tonics than you could ever mix up in your living room.

Drink this: Corpse Reviver #157

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Downtown
  • price 2 of 4

Miami needs more wine bars and Margot hits the spot with nearly 100 labels of the natural stuff. We’re talking low-intervention varietals, organic vinos and wines sourced from small producers. Basically, everything in the airy, bi-level wine bar is a delight to drink. It’s an overwhelming menu but there are plenty of eager somms ready to guide you on your natural wine journey. On the flip side, the food selection is small but tightly edited to better serve your experience. Go for one of the cheeses and a crudo, and wing it.

Drink this: Any of the chilled reds

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Omni
  • price 2 of 4

Daniele Dalla Pola’s ground-floor drinking den is a jungle of banana-plant wallpaper strewn with neon signs and kooky glassware (check out the hallowed Elvis drinking vessels, vintage tiki mugs and random Hawaiian knickknacks displayed in the towering glass case). Pola’s enthusiasm for tiki culture is contagious, and he’s been collecting for decades. On your first visit, he’ll have you sipping Polynesian-style rum drinks with as much zeal as he puts into making them. Thanks to a long list of monumental cocktails and boozy punches, it’s a fun spot for, say, a birthday party.

Drink this: Volcano bowl

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

This nostalgia-soaked Cuban spot in Little Havana is every bit as delightful as the drinks are strong. Decorated cantinero Julio Cabrera mans the bar, slinging stiff, rum-based drinks and handcrafted mojitos that no one can resist. One of those rare places that attract locals and tourists alike, La Trova provides an electric atmosphere, live Spanish music and drink prices that won’t send you home broke. Bonus: It’s two bars in one! On Fridays and Saturdays, the restaurant’s backroom turns into a neon-tinged, ’80s-themed party starting at midnight.

Drink this: Daquirí Clásico

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Midtown
  • price 2 of 4

This cozy, unassuming hodgepodge of vintage couches and retro Florida accents could’ve been a Golden Girls set. It's no surprise then that drinking at the Sylvester feels like you’re hanging at the house of a buddy with excellent mixology skills and a penchant for tropical wallpaper. Case in point: Don’t spill anything on the furniture. Pass the time playing pool, poking around the pinball machine or, if it’s late enough, dancing.

Drink this: Vaxxxed & Waxxxed

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  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Wynwood
  • price 2 of 4

At Gramps, people from all walks of life congregate over the city’s best Moscow Mule. The Wynwood mainstay remains a favorite partly for its never-ending string of programming: Go for a killer drag showcase, try your hand at bingo or test your knowledge on trivia night. Check their Insta for announcements about touring bands coming through, along with flea markets, comedy shows, political gatherings and more.

Drink this: Cucumber in Paradise

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • price 2 of 4

The recently expanded Anderson holds it down with a seasonally rotating menu, multiple themed spots to hang both indoors and out, and an incomparable Brooklyn-meets-Vegas aesthetic in full effect. For a little Mexican flair, the El Toro Taco truck out back is ready to take your order, and the daily, 5–8pm happy hour features $4 beers, $6 cocktails and $6–9 munchies. Sounds like the ideal dinner to us.

Drink this: El Paloma

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  • Bars
  • Wineries
  • Midtown
  • price 1 of 4

This beer-and-wine bar’s live jazz, warm bistro lighting and clashing furnishings will charm your socks off, if the convenience of drinking here doesn’t do you in first. Roll deep with no concern for seating or check drama: Tables are first come, first served, and you pay your bill up front at the counter when you order. Couples, head to the inside area for some privacy, live music and the booze fridge. Are you with your crew and need more room? Make a beeline for the large, ramshackle yard, where you can spread out for a lively convo.

Order this: Chilled rosé

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Downtown
  • price 2 of 4

Strewn with velvet, mirrors and disco balls, this carpeted nightclub feels out of place in grungy Downtown. But some might say it’s given the neighborhood a taste of what it’s been missing: a place to dance, a bar that stays open late and a one-stop nightlife destination for people starting their evening with a solid cocktail or ending their night with a shot and a game of pool.

Drink this: Porn Star Martini

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  • Bars
  • Tapas bars
  • Park West
  • price 2 of 4

An unlikely proposition in downtown’s 24-hour club district, this corner bar somehow holds its own against E11EVEN and the other neighboring giants. The dark, smoky space is meant for folks who’d rather sip a craft beer or cocktail huddled at one of its wooden bistro tables than drop cash on bottle service. So, save your money and enjoy the free jazz performances and discounted drinks during the 4–8pm weekday happy hour or put your loot toward a house-made croque-madame or one of the many killer pop-up eateries they’ve been hosting lately. The kitchen stays open late, and the bites best any drunk slice you'll find in the area.

Drink this: Hot & Smokey

  • Restaurants
  • Allapattah
  • price 2 of 4

Gritty, grungy and smack-dab in the middle of a rapidly changing neighborhood, Las Rosas is not for everyone, but it’s certainly for folks who appreciate an inexpensive stiff drink and live tunes. For a more chill vibe, hang in the front room bar, where you’ll find pool, a jukebox and booth seating for chatting with friends. Ready to turn up? Head to the back, where a dance floor is almost certainly in full effect anytime after midnight. An outdoor patio provides ample space for smoke breaks or fresh air, whichever is your vibe for the night.

Drink this: Tequila soda

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

This breezy Little Havana rooftop perched at the tastefully boho Lifehouse Hotel offers one of the best zoomed-out views of Miami’s sprawling skyline. For picture-perfect sunset cocktails and bites, get cozy among the twinkling bistro lights, oversize umbrellas and couch set-ups scattered about the lush, retro-tiled digs. Check out Terras’ herb garden while you’re up there. All kinds of veggies and herbs are grown and plucked to flavor cocktails and for the many plant-based dishes on the menu.

Drink this: Guavaloma

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Allapattah
  • price 2 of 4

This open-air restaurant and mezcaleria takes up residence in the same building as ATV Records, one of the best dance clubs in Miami. Abundant hanging plants and palm trees, giant horseshoe booths and a long bar make this spot ideal for gathering with friends in an intimate yet lively setting before dancing the night away at ATV, Club Space or any of the other Downtown nightclubs nearby.

Drink this: Smokey Margarita

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Wynwood
  • price 2 of 4

If you’re looking for Miami’s first all-vinyl listening bar, just follow the sound of the music (it’s piped from a speaker mounted above a nondescript door). Hidden away in the courtyard of an off-the-beaten-track Wynwood strip, book a table at this intimate 50-seat venue where the soundtrack is just as important as the sips. Drawing inspiration from the listening bars of Japan, Dante’s boasts 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.

Drink this: A whiskey highball

  • Things to do
  • Midtown

This indoor/outdoor bar, club, music venue and food hall in the middle of Wynwood contains multiple areas to dance, lounge, grab drinks or grub and vibe out and is ideal for nights out with large groups. Check the events schedule for weekends and late nights, when the Oasis can get swarmed. DJs like Tiesto and Honey Dijon have already graced the stage, and Travis Scott hosted his Rolling Loud after-party here.

Drink this: Pepper Poppy

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  • Bars
  • East Little Havana
  • price 2 of 4

Today’s Ball & Chain on Calle Ocho recreates a 1930s hotspot that once occupied the same space and welcomed jazz superstars like Billie Holiday, Count Basie and Chet Baker to its stage. With a beverage program created by the top mixologists at the Regent Cocktail Club, daily live music, salsa dance lessons and a storied outdoor stage in the shape of a giant pineapple, Ball & Chain makes for a lively night out no matter the occasion.

Drink this: Mojito

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • South Beach
  • price 2 of 4

Miami Beach’s longest-running drag bar holds down Ocean Drive with two bottomless brunch seatings each Friday, Saturday and Sunday and a single seating on Mondays. If you’d rather skip all the iconic looks, legendary lip-syncing and frankly death-defying acrobatics, not to worry. Inside, the full bar is open from 11 to 2am daily. Pop in as the queens finish raking up their dollar bills, just around sunset, when the shirtless DJ cues Madonna and the space transforms into a flirty tea dance. Palace’s rooftop also hosts occasional pool parties, so be sure to ask your server for the scoop.

Drink this: Vodka water

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • North Miami
  • price 1 of 4

By night, Paradis transforms from a quaint cafe into one of the city’s best wine bars. Make your selections from shelves stocked with dozens of well-priced natural and organic varietals, cork them at the register and enjoy outside at one of several mosaic tiled tables scattered beneath moody bistro lighting, among a garden from which Paradis sources ingredients for its rotating menu of pizzas. Regular programming includes movie screenings, wine tastings, vinyl DJs and more.

Drink this: Whatever pairs perfectly with the night’s pizza special (don’t be afraid to ask for a recco)

The offspring of Wynwood’s dearly departed Boxelder Craft Beer Market and one of our favorite Miami restaurants Taquiza, Off Site is a minimalistic nanobrewery in Little River where the menu offerings are few but what does make it into your mouth is always fantastic. From the drinks to the food (do not sleep on the corn dogs), you’ll find nearly everything at Off Site is house-made—and what’s not has been impeccably curated to make you happy. A brewpub for chill locals and industry folks, Off Site also hosts wine tastings, live music and pop-ups from some of the city’s best.

Drink this: Super Good Lager

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  • Restaurants
  • Spanish
  • South Beach
  • price 2 of 4

The team behind Downtown hero Lost Boy decided to open an Andalusian restaurant on one of Miami Beach’s most touristy strips, Española Way. But if there’s anyone who could help turn the underwhelming pedestrian mall into an alluring destination for locals, it’s these guys. The food at Tropezon is great, but the large, gin-forward bar looks like it was plucked off the Mediterranean coast stands on its own. Tucked in the back of the space, we’re partial to the more intimate sherry bar, where you can sip pours of fortified wine from a delicate glass while noshing on melt-in-your-mouth slices of serrano ham.

Drink this: Blue Matcha Yuzu G&T

Non-profit plant nursery and ecological education center by day, twinkling hipster jungle by night, this unassuming, DIY-driven spot in Little Haiti has been steadily ramping up its programming to include live music, art shows, dance parties and more. Check Instagram, where the Center posts its ever-changing lineup, from daytime flea markets where DJs spin vinyl, to chill jazz nights, poetry reading and serious raves.

Drink this: Whatever the tiki bar is serving up that day

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