Over the years, the best South Beach clubs have changed hands many times over. But the area has always maintained its reputation as a nightlife haven, from the glorious megaclubs of the ’90s through today’s EDM explosion. It remains true that the best South Beach clubs are some of the best clubs in Miami. The reason? The neighborhood is where you’ll also find the best gay clubs in Miami, DJ-driven party havens and more. Plus, it’s all close to some of the best drunk food in Miami. Cheese levels and dress codes vary, but dancing is always required.
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Best South Beach clubs
What is Miami Beach? It’s incredibly diverse, bafflingly bizarre, never boring and always colorful. So, when building the perfect Miami Club, one would want all of the aforementioned qualities stuffed into one venue. That’s a tall order but Basement has gotten pretty darn close to nailing it. With technicolor bowling lanes, an ice skating rink and some really strong music programming (everything from open format hip-hop to Carl Cox), Basement has become the club Miami Beach deserves.
Welcome to LIV. No, you did not hit your head and stumble into an alternate realm where reality is one long music video. Life in this huge South Beach room really is that opulent. That really is 10 different celebrities you see laughing in the VIP. That ceiling, which moves and changes color like a funky cuttlefish, is no figment of your imagination. The only downside is that you will be cruelly shoved back into the real world when you look at your credit card statement the next day. It won’t be pretty.
Owned and operated by the same people who gave the world LIV, this two-tiered LED-explosion is a little edgier with a reputation for booking deeper, slightly more underground acts. You will still see some huge acts, though. Located on the south end of Collins Avenue, it costs just as much to get drunk here as it would at its big sister—but Story features a much roomier dance floor.
This two-floor, multi-room beachside dance mecca is primarily a gay club, but seriously: everyone is welcome. Walk right in off SoBe’s busy Washington Avenue and you’re met by a narrow bar playing post-punk. Keep exploring to grab a drink at the backyard bar or enter the next room with thong-wearing go-go dudes. Be mesmerized by the huge screen playing diva queen music videos from Beyonce or Lady Gaga, then break away to move upstairs where three more rooms await, each playing a different style of music and boasting more bars. Things get progressively wild as the night carries on.
Though it will sometimes close for a month or two during summer, Trade packs a punch during busy times like Miami Music Week, booking underground acts few other Miami Beach rooms have the courage (or knowledge) to pursue. Trade has a strong local following and a dance floor that knows the club should be about letting loose, not taking selfies.
This LGBT double-decker nightclub on Washington Avenue is sure to offer a little something for everyone. The bottom floor is where Score reigns, a traditionally gay club with a bumpin’ sound system and an airy backyard terrace. Upstairs, hipster house types mingle beneath the giant disco ball and dance the hours away to internationally-renown DJs or local favorites. Drinks average at $12, which is actually a pretty fair deal on the South Beach side of the city.
Small but gorgeous, Do Not Sit (owned and operated by DJ-producer Behrouz) can really get going when there’s a good DJ playing. Other nights can be slower, but the club has earned a solid, no-B.S. reputation among Miami’s dance music fans, who you can sometimes see pouring out of the club well past the sunrise.
Rockwell’s door has been known to be a royal pain in the ass, so unless you have a connect at the door (or a group of very pretty ladies to walk in with) you might want to opt for another club. But, once inside, Rockwell offers all the staples of a South Beach club: celebs galore, shiny bottle service and no shortage of sensory overload. It’s a club that has embraced hip-hop over EDM and—for that reason—is a favorite stomping ground of folks like Rick Ross, Khaled and Diddy.