To Miamians (who tend to be more often than not from Latin America), a bodega is a small, simple neighborhood shop with random essentials like cans of beans, bags of rice, fresh baked breads and a few toiletries. But the bodega we're talking about here is anything but basic.
Outside, wooden picnic tables painted in the colors of the Mexican flag are lined up against the wall; a flashing, neon sign directs passersby into this festive taqueria.
SoBe's Bodega is unlike any bodega you've ever been to before — Photo courtesy of Bodega
Step inside, and you'll find what appears to be a taco truck cemented into the restaurant, with high-top tables and stools all around for those who want to sit and enjoy their shrimp po' boy tacos. By now, you may have guessed this isn't your run-of-the-mill taco shop.
The real fun happens when you step up to the unassuming porta-potty door inside Bodega. There are no signs advising you to step in or warning you of what you might find once you do.
If you're in the know, you'll go right past the oddly placed urinals and be on your way. And if you're not, you'll probably munch on your chips and salsa wondering how so many people go in through the door and never come out again.
See, beyond the door lies a secret, one that we're willing to share with you so long as you promise to keep it to yourself. Bodega's blue door leads to one of SoBe's latest and greatest party spots: a dimly lit, laid-back, industrial-inspired lounge with a fully stocked, wall-to-wall bar that will leave you floored in more ways than one.
You'd never imagine this is what lies behind a simple taqueria — Photo courtesy of Bodega
Bodega's speakeasy is quickly becoming a favorite among locals for several reasons. For one, there's no cover. And considering its unmarked location, it doesn't draw as large a crowd as some of the other popular tourist spots on the beach.
Though, be warned: weekends are getting busier, and there are often lines waiting to get through the faux bathroom entry.
As far as drinks go, Bodega isn't exactly cheap, but they don't sacrifice in quality, either.
For example, you might pay $12 for a Don Diablo made with Illegal Joven (a small-batch mezcal that can run you about $50 a bottle . . . if you can even find it); mixed with passionfruit, lime juice and Hellfire bitters; and then topped with hibiscus Jarritos. But for the caliber of the ingredients, it all pays for itself.
Long couches and extensive bar seating ensure you'll always have a place to sit and sip at Bodega — Photo courtesy of Bodega
While you're at Bodega, relax on one of the couches and take in some old-school hip hop beats. Or catch a game on the TVs, play a round of pool or get a little wild by throwing back a few Smoked Horchatas (a specialty shot made of Vida mezcal, RumChata and a little grated cinnamon on top). Or bring a taco in and sip on a Corona while people-watching from the balcony.
The next time you're in the mood for good tacos and great tequila but don't want to deal with the usual chaos of SoBe nightlight, visit your friendly, neighborhood Bodega.
We guarantee there's no better time beyond any other porta-potty doors out there.