10 Best Ways to Party the Night Away in Miami
Miami IS nightlife, from poolside happy hours to the hottest of clubs. So it's probably true that you could say nightlife becomes day life with hardly a break in between. Well, you know what they say--you can sleep when you're tanning.
Nightlife in Miami begins whenever you say it does. If you want traditional happy hour from 5-7 p.m., you can find it in the Irish pubs, such as Fado Irish Pub, Brickell Irish Gastropub and Lucky Clover Irish Pub that populate downtown and Mary Brickell Village. The latter two pubs also promote live music, as does Tobacco Road, Miami's oldest bar and a surefire place to have a rocking time.
More sedentary drinkers appreciate the outdoor, oft-poolside--and beach-side--lounges for which Miami is rightly famous. These include the celeb-haunt Skybar Miami Beach in the infamous Shore Club and Nikki Miami Beach. If you prefer air-conditioning, you can always check out the funky space at the Living Room in the W South Beach, where master muddlers abound.
If you really like to experiment with your taste profiles, you can go so far as to find homemade tropical wines down in the Redlands at Schnebly's Tropical Winery--take a tour--and craft beers in college bars like The Titanic Brewery & Restaurant, bordering University of Miami. More artisanal quaffs are available at the locals' most frequented watering hole since the 1995, The Abbey Brewing Co.
Then come back to the brunches at places like Cecconi's at Soho Beach House, where the blood Mary cart is rolling, or lie at the pools on South Beach where the partying is just beginning. It's your night--make the most of it. And that just might mean making it last all day, too.
First an Art Deco theater, then a live music venue known for hosting groups like Pearl jam in its early days, the Cameo is a survivor. In a city known for great dance clubs and stellar music, this club stands apart from the competitive pack thanks to its ever-changing ways. Today, top DJs from around the world whip the beautiful crowds into pulsating frenzies, inundating them with trance, musica latina and house. Club kids show their appreciation with coolly confident dance moves--but don't let them intimidate you. You know you got game. Unlike some other clubs, VIP space can be reserved, so do call ahead. (786-235-5800, 786-507-3448)
9 Club Space
When Miami's top DJs rock downtown, nine times out of ten you'll find them at this 11th Street hotspot, a high-octane warehouse-turned-dance club that attracts more than its share of the SoBe hipster crowd. In the cavernous main room, where professional DJs with names like Roland and the Lizard Man keep the party going long after sunrise, you'll find 30,000 square feet of dance space, one of Miami's loudest sound systems, and a dazzling light show. An open-air patio at the rear of the club is a primo place to catch a little fresh air, escape from the music, and enjoy some chitchat with your most recent dancing partner. (305-375-0001, 305-372-9378)
8 Rose Bar
The first boutique hotel bar to make a stir on South Beach, the Rose Bar, located in the lobby of the Delano Hotel, remains a bastion of good cocktail taste. Incomparable people-watching is a mainstay at the Rose Bar where, appropriately enough, pink-tinted lighting lets guests view each other through the proverbial rose-colored glasses. This unique touch flatters the appearance-conscious clientele -- not that anyone in the dewy-faced bunch needs it! Lounge music sets the groove as international beauties and Hollywood types sip Cosmopolitans and mingle. If hunger rears its head, a fashionable sushi bar sits next door, and through the rear doors, Bianca, a chic Italian restaurant, awaits on the gorgeous grounds. (305-674-6400)
7 Mynt Lounge
Upscale, exclusive Mynt is a bastion of SoBe cachet, the royal court of clubs, where even the residents of the town deign to visit from time to time. Its sleek, spacious interior and custom-designed furnishings establish an otherworldly vibe, perfect for the beautiful patrons and celebrities who often hold flex their muscle here. The Grand Lounge, complete with a 40-foot bar, is open to all, but the Plexiglass-shrouded Ultra Lounge is reserved for special attendees. Naturally, that's where you want to be. Well-known DJs spin house and hip-hop tunes, and an aromatherapy system infuses the air with a variety of scents -- mint, of course, remains the hands-down favorite. (305-532-0727)
Ensconced in a former Art Deco theater, this club is as vast and conspicuous as its name. Boasting typical SoBe panache, it's dressed with grand arches, chandeliers, sweeping staircases, Venetian mirrors and ornate fireplaces, is awash in glamour, and observes a velvet-rope policy, so come dressed to impress. Inside, four dance floors thump with music across three levels, and nine bars handle thirsty patrons. Lounges and VIP areas also find plenty of traffic. Moreover, celebrities are common, the level of sociability is enormously high, and top DJs definitely spin to please. Plan on ordering bottles of top-shelf liquor if you want to hold a table and make a night of it. (305-695-8411)
5 Abbey Brewing Co.
While a good portion of the SoBe nightscene is as much spectacle as it is substance, this 16th Street watering hole makes no bones about its intent. This is 100% bar, the type of place where you can enjoy a tall, cold pint of wheat ale and some classic Stones or Dead playing in the background. Microbrews and hard-to-find European imports are available, but the Abbey's own house brews can give any of them a run for their money. The tap-pullers are great conversationalists, as are most of the booth and stool occupants beside you, but given the level of the tunes and the volume of the general buzz, they may be hard to hear. Because this is a bar and not a restaurant, tobacco enthusiasts will find safe haven here, as well. (305-538-8110)
4 Nikki Beach Miami
In every sense, Nikki is a beach club, from its tiki bars and cabanas to its Survivor-meets-Fantasy Island decor. That doesn't mean you should bring your toddlers here (though it is very pleasant and quiet during the day). Awesome DJs spin top tunes constantly, and great global food makes for terrific nibbling. Plus, a never-ending parade of SoBe's famously beautiful models, society pagers and jetsetters ensures that standard goings-on never get stale. The campy vibe is irresistible, and excellent disco, lounge and dance music are certain to put you in a party mood. And as a bonus, dancing in the sand burns a lot of calories, which is a great way to keep those cocktail calories in check. (305-538-1111)
3 Van Dyke Café
While the Van Dyke pulls in a cafe-society crowd of locals with its vast menu, it also boasts terrific live jazz in its upstairs venue. Downstairs and outside in the evenings, you'll see the usual crowd: hipsters with purebred dogs lapping water under the cafe tables; families with strollers; gorgeous twenty-somethings gathered for a pre- or post- partying bite. But upstairs is a completely different arena. A speakeasy-like ambience reigns, complete with rich fabrics, upholstered seating, and a beautiful oak bar. Sophisticated older couples often gather to enjoy the soothing stylings of quartets and vocalists, all the while nursing cocktails and nibbling on baked brie or prosciutto and melon. An intimate escape from SoBe's crush and the city's neon-and-pastel gloss. (305-534-3600)
2 Skybar Miami Beach
Skybar's glamorous, welcoming spaces, located in the notorious Shore Club, one of the most unique hotels on South Beach, act as a magnet for the unabashedly chic and famous. From the gorgeous, dramatic Redroom, activity spills out the back door, into a lush garden, then to a poolside lounge, and finally to the beach itself. Accented with handcrafted lanterns, vibrant textiles, rich beading, tropical foliage and imported furniture, the lounge is designed to seduce -- and it succeeds brilliantly. You'll quite possibly lose all sense of time and place, which is quite all right. No one wants you to leave before you're ready to go, and that will quite possibly be right around sunrise, which is beautiful coming up on the beach here. (305-695-3100)
1 Tobacco Road
If you're lost among the Brickell Avenue skyscrapers, just keep your eyes peeled for South Miami Avenue, and you'll soon stumble across this gritty, green cat dive. Miami's oldest watering hole, this groovy downtowner is a great place to wet your whistle with some ice cold brews or an expertly mixed cocktail and enjoy the soothing sounds of old school tunes. With a history that dates back over 90 years, this liquor bar has served such notables as Al Capone and B.B. King--most of them legally, of course. Today, Tobacco Road has gained fame for its awesome, homestyle ribs, burgers and--yes--Maine lobster night, not to mention its speakeasy-like atmosphere. Live music nightly offers up an excellent selection of rock, jazz and blues. (305-374-1198)
About Jen Karetnick
Jen has lived and written in Miami for more than two decades. She works as the dining critic for MIAMI Magazine, part of the Modern Luxury Group; a columnist for the newspaper Biscayne Time; and the Creative Writing Director for Miami Arts Charter School. The author/editor of nine books, including Mango: Tour de Force (forthcoming from University Press of Florida) and three poetry collections, Jen has work appearing widely in publications including Florida Travel & Life, Southern Living and Vegas Player. Jen lives in Miami Shores with her husband, two children, three dogs, four cats and fifteen mango trees.
Read more about Jen Karetnick here.