Little Haiti isn't the first place you'd expect to find a punk rock British pub, but that's exactly where you'll find Churchills. This long-standing Miami icon has often been compared to New York City's once infamous CBGB's, and with good reason. Churchill's Pub has seen thousands of performers grace its multiple stages, from hardcore and metal bands to indie folk guitar duos and latin jazz combos, from punk rock legends like Iggy Pop to hip hop favorites like Mobb Deep. Drinks here are strong and generally cheap, and the locals run the gamut of Miami's music-loving, good-time-having population. Open early for those who want to catch soccer games on TV with a frosty beer, and late into the evening for those who don't ever want to go home.
Taurus has been the neighborhood bar of the Grove for as long as anyone can remember. This low-key watering hole right off Main Highway is the perfect place to relax with a post-work beer or to meet friends for cocktails and karaoke (seriously, the karaoke crowd here is second to none). It's wholly unpretentious and instead embraces its local clientele like an old friend. While they specialize in all things whiskey, you're more than welcome to sip some cabernet, cocktails, or even cider. You'll want to peruse the whiskey list even if it's not your usual drink, though, because you won't find another place with such a selection. Taurus is also home to the occasional festivities (in the past, they've hosted a Star Wars costume, punk rock, and a Hawaiian-theme party) and regular events like the Speakeasy Comedy Show, where you'll catch pros and newbies alike sharing the stage to make folks laugh.
Open Stage Club is an upscale joint for live entertainment with a side of dinner and drinks. Located in the heart of Coral Gables, this venue frequently hosts live bands as well as comedians, keeping audiences happy seven nights a week. Big band, jazz, latin, classical--Open Stage Club doesn't limit itself to one genre, making it a great place to visit on more than one occasion. Open for dinner daily (with happy hour specials Monday through Friday afternoons), you'll find a menu that marries american, and latin cuisine (with an especially heavy Peruvian influence). Among your options, you'll find grilled chicken wings and burgers, as well as empanadas, papas a la huancaina, and various ceviches. The drinks vary from classics like martinis and mojitos to more interestingly named varieties like dirty bong water (rum, curaçao, amaretto, sour mix and raspberry liqueur) and swamp (vodka, banana liqueur, curaçao, sweet & sour, triple sec, orange and pineapple juice, and sprite).
Miami's comedy scene is surely scattered throughout the city, and among the best places for it is a small stage inside Tom's NFL Sports Bar and Grill over in Miami Springs, just north of the Miami International Airport. The Backroom Comedy Club happens twice a month and showcases some phenomenal local talent. For just $10 admission (or $15 at the door), you get to enjoy a two-hour bonanza of laughs. It all starts at 8pm but many folks arrive an hour early to grab some dinner first. The menu's as varied as the on-stage talent, and you'll find everything from shrimp linguini to fajitas and philly cheese steaks, though most suggest the Friday Night Prime Rib Special.
You might not think you'd find too many chill bars in the yuppie-esque area of Brickell, but that means you probably haven't set foot in the new version of RedBar. This used to be your average young professionals' type watering hole but they've given it a retro facelift that is really working for them (and for everyone else). New arts hangs on the walls of this chic bar, but that's not the only reinvention. If you take a look at the new and improved cocktail menu, you'll see that they're taking the art of mixology quite serious here. Reputable local bartenders like Elad Zvi, Carla Rivera, and Ezra Pattek all had a hand in putting cocktails with names like the banana bread old fashioned and the watermelon blossom on the drink list, and truth be told, they're all a smash. Live DJs, board games, and comedy nights keep you entertained.
What once began as a small but special event in the Bird Road Arts District has now become the most diverse open mic event in town, and these days it's better than ever. Now located in the heart of Wynwood, Speak! Fridays showcases local talent of all kinds. From comedians and musicians to spoken word poets to actors and dancers, plus the occasional live painting demo, every event is different and memorable. The venue itself is dark and cozy, perfect for ensuring everyone in the house has a good seat without distraction from the main attraction. VIP seating is also available up front, complete with champagne to really set the mood for those extra special occasions.
Located in Southeast Kendall, The Comedy Inn is a well-established comedy club with a solid reputation for booking strong acts while also offering food and drinks at prices that won't leave you crying. The Comedy Inn is, somewhat bizarrely, tucked away inside of a conference room at the Quality Inn near the Falls Shopping Center. The unusual location of a comedy club might could certainly be fodder for a few jokes, but the owners of this mini house of laughs offer a full bar from 9pm until 1am and cover charges that beat out the competition, so guess the joke's on the other guys.
Artistic Vibes is a laid-back, homegrown venue for folks to come together and perform on stage. They are a collective of creatives looking to promote singers, comedians, musicians, and spoken word artists--and they do it well. Artistic Vibes keeps it real by making their cover fees dirt cheap (around $5-$10) and ensuring that everyone that attends has a good seat, whether it's a on a chair or couch. This Kendall-based venue opens its doors to aspiring performers every Thursday for Vibes Open Mic, which has become one of the most popular, mixed-bag open mic nights in all Miami. Re/verb Saturdays happen occur every last Saturday of the month with handpicked musicians and poets hitting the stage. And Laugh Attack, their monthly themed comedy night is among the most well-known and beloved in town.
If you ask anyone in Miami to name at least one comedy club, chances are this is the one they'll talk about. This long-standing improv theatre company has been making the crowds roar since 1999 and show no signs of stopping. The JTF cast puts on interactive comedy shows every Friday and Saturday night, where you'll enjoy everything from hilarious parodies and comedic songs to plenty of situational improv as dictated by you, the audience. They also serve as the local training center for aspiring comedians and actors. Children, teens, and adults can take improv classes and sketch writing classes to work on their craft.
Fan's of Chicago-style improv will rejoice when they learn of the Villain Theater, a fast-growing comedy club that's truly changing the face of Miami comedy. Started by Peter Mir and Jeff Quintana, the theater is both a performance space and a house of learning. Though only open for about a year now, it has already proven itself as one of the best places in town to catch sketch comedy from Thursday through Sunday, including their Saturday Gigantic shows that are just $5 (along with a full bar provided by Wynwood bar, Gramps). Whether you're coming in to take a class or sit in on for some laughs, know you're in especially good hands due to the fact that the founders themselves have experience performing with legendary locales like Upright Citizens Brigade, Groundlings, Second City, and Annoyance Theater.