Local Miamians will make a big stink about how South Beach and Miami are two totally different things. Tourist-haven “SoBe” and the “Real Miami” are separated by a few short bridges, but culturally speaking, they can feel lightyears apart. The one thing they do have in common? An unquenchable thirst for out-of-this-world nightlife—and the best South Beach clubs are some of the best clubs in Miami. This is an arena where South Beach reigns, whether or not natives would like to admit it. Here are some of SoBe’s high-profile, late-night hangs, from top Miami gay clubs to DJ-driven party havens. Cheese levels and dress codes vary.
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Best South Beach clubs
As seen on TV and heard in rap lyrics by everyone from Kanye West to Drake, LIV sets the standard for megaclubs worldwide. Nestled inside the lobby of the historic Fontainebleau hotel—itself a backdrop for major motion pictures including Scarface to Goldfinger—LIV is at once opulent and turntbeyond belief. Afrojack, Martin Garrix and Laidback Luke hold down monthly residencies at the EDM powerhouse alongside a regular program of huge DJs and rap stars. And the stars show up to worship. On any given Sunday, you might run into Floyd Mayweather, Lil Wayne or a Kardashian. With a focus on bottle service, there is more table space than dance floor. Deep pockets are encouraged.
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.
Be prepared to be wowed as you walk through the beautifully renovated lobby of the Edition on Miami Beach. Basement is packed on the bottom floor of the old Art Deco hotel where its disco era-inspired decadence fits right in. The club itself is straightforward with a penchant for booking funky underground heroes, but the real showstoppers are the rainbow-colored bowling alley and ice-skating rink just next to it. Partiers often take a break from dancing to enjoy drinks and play a few games. That’s part of the fun.
And the award for best nightclub name goes to! This spot on the beach is expertly decorated, lined from ceiling to floor with gold-painted cassette tapes and a dance floor topped with a glowing flying saucer for a light fixture. Designed more for dancing than sitting (hence the name), its packed tight and kept very dark, except for those moments the fixture flashes and illuminates everything around you. Partially owned and operated by internationally renown DJ-producer Behrouz, it’s earned a reputation for top-tier guest acts and underground sensibilities—no VIP allowed.
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 house acts. Nestled on the south end of Collins Avenue, it costs just as much as to get drunk here as it would at its big sister but features a much roomier dance floor. Catch it in the first episode of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Miami-centric dramedy Ballers.
Hotel clubs are a prominent fixture of the SoBe nightlife scene, and this basement-level dark room nestled in Collins Avenue’s historic Delano is a clear crowd favorite. Hip-hop heads and basketball stars regularly frequent the ever-popular Monday night party. Jay Z and Beyonce have even been found here cuddling up in one of the club’s intimate booths. Friday brings an open format mix with a heavy lean toward Latin and R&B, and the music stays bumpin’ indie dance, house, top 40 and more throughout the weekend. It’s a fancy establishment, so be prepared to drop a few dollars. Not the place to ball on a budget.
This 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. The men are delicious and ready for a wild night, no end in sight, so don’t come sleepy. 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.
Vinyl records line the walls of this cozy club and lounge on the bottom floor of the Gale Hotel, just across from the Delano on Washington Avenue. It mixes great decor with a laidback atmosphere and moderately priced drinks. It can feel a little like a house party. Local DJs appreciate the open-format style, giving them the room to play anything from ’90s hip-hop or ’80s new wave. Recent months have seen live sets from classic hip-hop acts, including Miami’s Trick Daddy and Phife Dawg of a Tribe Called Quest, signifying that Rec Room is taking its party profile up a serious notch.