April 2019: We’ve only made some minor changes to our list of the best South Beach clubs, mainly because no new players have entered the scene—except for Sophie’s, which just cracks the top five. This cute South of Fifth lounge is dance-y enough for us to lump it into the club scene, and it’s worth a trip if you're ever out in SoFi. We also said goodbye to Score. The gay club closed its doors a couple of months ago and we’re still waiting to see what happens with the space.
The wonderful South Beach clubs still hold a very special place in Miami’s heart. These babies have given South Beach its world-famous reputation as a tropical party paradise. That reputation still stands today—and for good reason. South Beach is still one of the most fun (and hedonistic) neighborhoods to go out in. Sure, it’s matured. You can find some of the best restaurants in Miami hiding in South Beach as well as a few of the best museums in Miami. Oh, but when the sun sets, South Beach gets up to its old ways again. And if you’re in the mood to dance, here’s where you should go.
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Best South Beach clubs
What is it? A funky rainbow of music, bowling and plenty of alcohol. The slightly bizarre but never boring Basement—housed in the bottom of the Edition—feels hip in an effortless way that’s so rare in a city full of club’s screaming for your attention. This is the place to be during Art Basel and Miami Music Week.
Why go? Name another club where you can dance, ice skate and bowl. We’ll wait.
What is it? The closest thing you’ll ever find to partying inside an actual music video. These days, the legendary LIV seems to be packed with as many celebrities as average Joes. You might spend some serious cash but you also might trip and fall onto a Kardashian.
Why go? No club—anywhere—books bigger names on a weekly basis than LIV. It would not be odd to see Travis Scott, DJ Khaled and Kanye West all onstage on a Sunday night.
What is it? LIV’s (not so) little cousin. Because it’s owned by the same folks, Story delivers a similar roster of massive bookings. At the time of this writing, Lil Wayne, Virgil Abloh and Jaden Smith had all recently stopped by.
Why go? Not into all that computer music? You’ll find a tad more hip-hop at Story, both in the bookings and music selection.
What is it? An iconic gay club with over a quarter century of experience. South Beach nightlife started with the LGBT community so it’s fitting this indulgent two-story disco remains one of the most popular clubs in South Beach.
Why go? Because, if nothing else, the shirtless-ness of Twist will motivate you to start that diet.
What is it? This Euro-chic lounge in South of Fifth is your antidote to the mega-club. More intimate and stylish, Sophie’s has a more low-key vibe than its South Beach club neighbors—but don’t worry, dancing is still very much allowed and encouraged. Expect house on Thursdays and open format during the weekend.
Why go? Because you took one look at the line outside Story and had a panic attack.
What is it? A cozy “boutique nightclub” owned by electronic DJ Behrouz. Because of that, this place tends to put the music first and is a reliable choice for club veterans looking to dance without being shoved by bottle service servers and elbowed by drunk bros.
Why go? A club small enough to meet everyone inside on any given night is a breath of fresh air in Miami’s megaclub landscape.
What is it? The place to go for less mainstream acts and bottle service sparklers. It’s dark and loud inside, just like the club kids like it. Sometimes Trade will close during the slow summer months, though, so plan accordingly.
Why go? Do you go to clubs not for the ’Gram, but because you actually love house and techno? Then Trade is for you.
What is it? Rockwell’s door has been known to be a royal pain in the ass, so brace for a picky bouncer. Once inside, expect hip-hop, bottle service and a rapper or two to jump on stage and dance around.
Why go? Most clubs are closed during the week but Monday is actually the best night to visit Rockwell—a welcome surprise to anyone stuck working weekends.
What is it? Step one, take a club. Step two, put it on the beach. And that’s the simple yet efficient recipe for Nikki Beach. This place is the undisputed champ of day parties, with a crowd that prefers dancing in the sun at 2pm over a dark club at 2am.
Why go? Ever wondered what would happen if brunch and a nightclub had a baby? Stop by Nikki Beach’s bumpin’ Sunday brunch and brace for costumed models and spraying champagne alongside pancakes and eggs.