December 2019: We’re closing out the year with a refreshed list of our favorite bars in Miami. We’ve kept the standbys, including happy hour hot spots like Gramps in Wynwood and Lost Boy in Downtown. But we’ve also snuck in a few newcomers that we think you’ll enjoy. Swizzle and Esotico made the cut, in part because tiki is having a major moment in Miami. It’s the holidays, and you look like you could use a drink. Consider our list of best bars in Miami our gift to you.
This city loves to drink, which means the best bars in Miami hold a special place in our heart. We go to them in times of need, celebration and when traffic is horrendous and we need a place to hide out. We couldn’t say enough great things about the best museums in Miami and, of course, the best beaches in Miami but—if we’re being really, really honest—we just couldn’t live without these 20 bars. They’re where we go for first dates and right after work ends every Friday, and to sip slowly on the best piña colada in the world. We know it’s going to take a while but if you consider yourself a bar connoisseur, you’ve really got to check out all of these spots. Take a look below. You’ll see what we’re talking about.
Drank somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDrinkList. You can also find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews bars here.
Best of the city under one roof
What is it? The main bar at Time Out Market Miami is where the city’s top bartenders, tastiest drinks and coolest folk come together to collectively make up one of the best drinking spots around town.
Why go? Our editors collaborated with the likes of Café La Trova and Sweet Liberty to curate a menu of delicious drinks that hover just above $10. It’s not just a convenient way to drink from the city’s best bars, it’s also the cheapest.
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 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? This saloon-style bar’s atmosphere is casual but the beverage program is working overtime, proferring microbrews, craft cocktails and rare spirits. Drink up over a game of darts, pool or sitting around the piano.
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? Daniele Dalla Pola’s ground-floor drinking den is a jungle of imported banana-plant wallpaper strewn with neon signs and kooky glassware he’s collected for decades. Hallowed vessels resembling Elvis, vintage tiki mugs and random Hawaiian knickknacks are on display within a towering glass case.
Why go? Dalla Pola’s enthusiasm for tiki culture is unmatched— and it’s contagious. On your first visit, he’ll have you sipping boozy punches and Polynesian-style rum drinks with as much zeal as he puts into making them. It’s a fun spot for groups thanks a long list of large-format cocktails.
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? Saved from the graveyard of defunct South Beach bars, the new Swizzle is tucked away down a short staircase that’s off the Stiles Hotel lobby. Evoking the feel of a wooden pirate ship, the dark, narrow space is lined with more than 150 rums.
Why go? For beautiful cocktails whose smooth taste belies their potency. Otherwise fruity drinks, like a banana daiquiri, are easy to sip here. Swizzle is ideal for couples and small groups, who can comfortably cozy up to the tiny bar area or high-tops that surround it.
What is it? This nostalgia-soaked Cuban bar in Little Havana is every bit as charming as the drinks it serves are strong. Decorated cantinero Julio Cabrera mans the bar, slinging stiff, rum-based drinks and handcrafted mojitos that no one can resist.
Why go? La Trova is one of those rare places that attracts both locals and tourists with its buzzing atmosphere, live Spanish music and drink prices that won’t send you home broke. Plus, it’s two bars in one: the restaurant’s backroom turns into a neon-tinged ’80s-themed watering hole on the weekends.
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 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? 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? This vintage hotel bar in the MiMo district serves up solid margaritas and mojitos to a groovy, disco soundtrack. There’s usually a DJ on deck and they’re usually spinning vinyl, reinforcing the throwback vibes.
Why go? For a quick mental vacation. The New Yorker feels like an eclectic garden tucked away somewhere in a cool Berlin passageway. Happy hour is also a steal here, featuring half-priced drinks every Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 8pm.
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? 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? 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? 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? 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? 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.