Best Nightlife in Miami

10Best ways to party the night away in Miami

Miami IS nightlife, from poolside happy hours to ultra-hot nightclubs complete with gorgeous dancers and world-class DJs. In fact, you could say nightlife in Miami easily becomes day life with hardly a break in between.

Much like the traffic and the heat of this town, the parties never stop. You can find yourself at a bar at noon and then hit a happy hour at 5 p.m., head to a live show at 9 p.m., hit a night club at midnight, and end at a lounge at 3 a.m. We've compiled a list of party spots that vary in the amount of insanity each delivers.

There are laid-back lounges like the Wharf on the Miami River where you can dance or play an oversized game of connect four. Or you could party right on the sand at a place like Nikki Beach for some nightlife under the stars, enjoying the tropical climate of the Magic City.

Then we've also listed high-end party spots like LIV, located inside the world-renowned Fountainbleau Hotel, which features pricey drinks and a star-studded clientele...the type of place someone like Kanye might rent out for his birthday. In short, we've got our bases covered.



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 jet setters ensure 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.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Partying on the sands of South Beach should be on everyone's To-Do list, and Nikki Beach is just the place for it.

Priscilla's expert tip: The party is quite literally on the sand, so wear appropriate footwear.

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If you ask any local or any tourist to name 3 bars in the heart of South Beach, the Clevelander would definitely be on that list. And there are so many reasons for that. Most bars don't include an outdoor pool on the beach, and that's just one of the perks that makes the Clevelander one of the most popular destinations on Ocean Drive. The raucous and splashy atmosphere is quintessential South Beach, and the crowd makes it feel like Spring Break all summer long. Don't worry about a dress code; bathing suits and flip-flops are the order of the day even in December. The music runs the gamut, from rock to dance, and live music or DJs are sometimes featured.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Long-time SoBe staple Purdy delivers consistently good parties year-round. A favorite among locals and a welcome surprise for tourists.

Priscilla's expert tip: Drinking at the Clevelander isn't like going to your usual hotel lobby bar. Bring your bikini and a need to party.

Read more about Clevelander Bar →

Nightlife means different things for everyone, and while some may be drawn to a larger-than-life, bass-bumping night club, others prefer the quiet respite of a cocktail bar. Enter Beaker and Gray, one of Miami's classiest joints for a fine meal as well as stellar cocktails, shaken (like the Cool Runnings) or stirred (a la the Filthy Fifty). It's all about quality and not quantity here, so don't come in looking for a $5 shot and a beer special or to get rowdy. Definitely a grown-up spot for grown-ass folks who appreciate the finer things in life, without getting stuffy about it.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Nightlife isn't reserved solely for club hoppers. Beaker and Gray offers a chic alternative, stays open fairly late, and treats their clientele right.

Priscilla's expert tip: If you're a night owl and want to drink top-notch cocktails on the slightly cheaper side, pop in for their late-night happy hour, Sunday through Thursday, 11 pm through 2 am.

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The original Ball & Chain opened in 1935 when Calle Ocho was simply known as the Tamiami Trail, through which farmers would send oranges and other crops east to the Downtown Miami area. It has survived decades of reinvention, calling itself at one time the Ball & Chain Tavern, and serving as a venue for legendary performers like Billie Holiday and Chet Baker. These days, the Ball & Chain is once again serving as a live music and dance venue, with a full bar, a fine drink menu, and tapas for when the mood strikes. While they're still just starting out, there's no doubt that larger acts will be hitting the stage here in no time.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Ball and Chain is quickly becoming a choice location for quality parties featuring excellent live bands, exceptional cocktails, and non-stop dancing.

Priscilla's expert tip: Keep an eye on this up-and-coming venue and visit often. Great acts are already on the bill and it's only a matter of time before this place blows up.

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While the Fountainbleau remains one of the more beautiful and prestigious hotels in all of Miami, it's not surprising that LIV, the hot-to-trot nightclub held within, is also one of Miami's crown jewels for an evening of pure decadence. LIV is all velvet rope and VIP and Gucci and Prada and bottle service. It's not the place to go in jeans and a t-shirt hoping for a free shot of Jameson to go with your $6 beer. It is the place to go if your Manolo Blahnik's finally arrived and you've got the need to show them off while hoping to rub elbows with Kim Kardashian, Alex Rodriguez, Kate Hudson, or Jay-Z (all previous guests of the establishment).

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Partying at LIV is something everyone in Miami should do at least once. The decadence of debauchery and dancing here is simply divine.

Priscilla's expert tip: Bring a lot of cash. You'll spend lots but it'll be well worth it.

Read more about LIV @ Fontainebleau Miami Beach →

Locals know that Coyo Taco serves up some seriously scrumptious tacos, and those who frequent it also know that it's one of the best nightlife spots thanks to its hidden, speakeasy-esque bar. Yes, that's right. The Bar Behind Coyo Taco still remains hidden from outsiders while embracing Miamians (and those who know who to ask) with generous pours of tequila and Mezcal. Pop in past the 'Employees Only' double-doors to find yourself in this hip and cozy bar where different DJs play nightly. Sip and swirl your cocktails knowing full well you've entered into one of the city's best-kept secrets. After all, Miami is nothing if not the sort of city that thrives on exclusivity.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: It's a refined speakeasy that doesn't require the fuss or muss of passwords or pre-planning but still manages to stay fairly exclusiveâ€" which we love.

Priscilla's expert tip: Don't forget to order some tacos before OR after you spend some time at the bar because they are seriously among the best. Also, branch out from your usual Cuervo as they've got around 50 different types of tequila and Mezcal to choose from.

Read more about The Bar Behind Coyo Taco →

It's a dance club. It's a bowling alley. It's a skating rink. It's a bar. It's Basement, and it's one of Miami's hottest places for a night of total debauchery and pure fun. Located inside the Edition Hotel in Mid-Beach, Basement is the literal basement of this posh, beachfront hotel. It's a popular spot for the 305's who's who, attracting the likes of celebs (think Drake and Wilmer Valderrama among others). World-class DJs are frequently found here as well (hello, Questlove!) As if all that weren't enough, the place is beautiful and perfect for a night of Instagramming. In short, it doesn't really get much better (or more Miami) in town than spending a night in the sea-level city's only real Basement.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Amazing music by world-renown DJs, ample space for dancing, well-stocked bars, plus plenty of alternative activities (think skating and bowling) make Basement tops.

Priscilla's expert tip: Check the calendar for events (there's literally something going on here every night). You just might get to see an amazing performance by a guest DJ or rub elbows with a celeb.

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Rooftop lounges simply aren't as common in Miami as they are in other major cities (possibly due to all that weather we deal with). That said, for nights when you want a beautiful view as well as stand-out libations, there's No. 3 Social. Located in Wynwood, this sophisticated hot spot by notable Chef Norman Van Aken features a refreshing cocktail menu alongside delectable bites (the Tostada for a Gardener is an absolute delight). Add to that live bands and DJ nights, a poppin' ladies night (on Thursdays), a cinema night (Tuesdays), and a happy hour that extends into weekends (sorely needed in Miami), and you've got a place that you and your crew will be praising long into the workweek.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: They had us at rooftop, impressed us with their cocktails, wooed us with their event nights, and definitely bagged us with their daily happy hour.

Priscilla's expert tip: If you're on a budget, pop in any day 4-7 pm (2-7 pm Sundays) for their happy hour or get a drink for .99 cents on Wednesdays with the purchase of a regular drink because there are few better uses for your loose change.

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"Oh, sweet, sweet liberty," is the kind of thing you'll be uttering once you're three cocktails in at this hip cocktail bar that's been making a name for itself since opening last year. The SoBe watering hole is more specifically located in the Collins Park area of the sunny tourist destination. It's one-part casual, two-parts sexy, and oh, so very boozy. Order up a Collins Park (a magical concoction of Ford's gin, orange blossom, creme de peche, lemon juice, egg white, and match ) because, hey, you're in the neighborhood and do as the locals, right? Or peruse the extensive menu and do double-takes at the Basic Bitch and What What, respectively. Get yourself a fancier-than-usual Cuban torta or go straight for the skirt steak because you're on South Beach and YOLO might still be a thing. And of course, enjoy the well-curated tunes here that offer salvation in audio form (just don't forget to send me a thank you card from the bar).

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Sweet Liberty is already receiving high praise around the country for its unmatched libations. We can't argue one bit.

Priscilla's expert tip: If you're not convinced, come by during happy hour where drinks are cheap and oysters are just 75 cents a pop.

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Who doesn't love a good waterfront hangout spot in our vibrant Magic City? The Wharf is exactly that–"an outdoor 30,000-square foot venue featuring delicious drinks, pop-up eateries by some of Miami's best chefs, live tunes, lawn games, and everything else you need for a good time. The views also can't be beat as it's situated right alongside the Miami River so there's always boats passing through along the backdrop of the skyline. In fact, you can also venture over on your boat and park it right here so you can avoid the usual area traffic. While the Wharf is open during the day with a more laid-back atmosphere, it definitely gets poppin by nightfall. Crowds come to dance, drink, and celebrate life under the stars. Whether you're here for foodie approved bites and happy hour cocktails, 'gram-worthy selfies or to let loose after a long work week, there's no better place to do it than The Wharf.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The Wharf is a whole vibe: foodie-approved eats, Insta-worthy views, strong and tasty beverages, ping pong and cornhole, and of course, plenty of beautful people.

Priscilla's expert tip: Try to grab all the drinks you can while the lines are short (the later it gets, the longer you'll be waiting on round 3).

Read more about The Wharf →


Meet Priscilla Blossom

Pris Blossom is a freelance writer and feminist mama with a love for travel, writing, music, film, yoga, museums, cultural anthropology, and her awesome kid.

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