Avoid the crowds on Ocean Drive and head to Purdy's, an off-the-beaten-path location with a loyal following. If the scene grows old or if you are simply not in the mood for the nocturnal fray, Purdy's offers just the antidote. The lounge has an appealing retro rec-room aesthetic � you'll think you've entered your best friend's basement circa 1975. (Think lava lamps, funky chairs and assorted board games!) Play some checkers, backgammon, or even good ole Connect Four as you enjoy a pleasant mix of music and some of the lowest drink prices around.
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.
Bodega is South Beach's newest taqueria bringing cheap eats and stiff drinks to locals and tourists alike. It's vibrant interior makes you hungry for those delicious pork belly tacos everyone's raving about. But it isn't just tacos. Try their Queso Frito con Salsa Ranchero for starters--it's their take on mozzarella sticks with a kick. Opt for a BBQ Carnitas Torta or maybe an Hongos Torta if you're vegetarian--torta being a Mexican-style sandwich that is hearty and delicious always. Check out their daily specials, ranging from Mahi Ceviche to Huevos Rancheros Tacos. Oh, and if you get thirsty, step through the blue door and find yourself inside the speakeasy for plenty of tequila-infused cocktails and good times!
One of the best casual hipster-esque lounges in Miami, Blackbird Ordinary offers its patrons a fully stocked bar with expert bartenders who mix your favorite drinks to perfection. DJ's provide the music on most nights while local funk and reggae bands and other national acts set the scene on others. There's a dance floor for those with the appropriate skills set. Blackbird goes out of its way to make its visitors feel like regulars, even if its their first go-round. They have pool tables, spacious comfortable booths, and even board games to entertain you while you wait for your meal. If you enjoyed this space when it was called Transit Lounge, you'll definitely dig the Blackbird.
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.
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.
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).
"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).
There's a local's secret haunt on Washington Avenue these days�one that hails all the way from the West Village. Employee's Only began as one of NYC's hottest cocktail bars, then stretched itself out over to Singapore. Its owners have now opened a third establishment, right on South Beach's bustling Washington Avenue, and Miamians can't get enough. Part of the relatively new Washington Park Hotel, and located inside the historic Coral House, the art-deco speakeasy delivers all the palatable delights of its northern sister with the added bonus of enjoying the occasional cocktail en plein aire. Nosh on bacon-wrapped appetizers, sip on Lazy Lovers, and fall in love with yet another bar in the Magic City.
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.