Best Neighborhood Bar/West (2008)

LA Sports Bar and Grill

This bar is Miami's version of the Eighties sitcom Cheers, where everybody knows your name. "This place is like a family. I know everybody in here," say Steve, a regular, as he waves to a "drinking buddy" across the bar. The vibe is friendly, the bartenders are sexy, and the pitchers are cheap ($6 domestic). Located across the street from Miami Dade College's Kendall campus, LA Sports Bar and Grill opened six months ago, where the legendary College Park Inn once stood (next to Hungry Bear subs). The bartender brags about her martini skills: "I make them with love," she says while measuring vermouth. The horseshoe-shape bar is surrounded by large plasma TV sets tuned to ESPN. Tuesday is the night for videogame players. In the restaurant area, patrons play Guitar Hero on a 100-inch TV screen. Wednesday is poker night. Thursday is biker night, when the patio becomes a scene out of some Hells Angels documentary. On Friday night, DJ Steve spins the wheels of steel. On Saturday night, a live salsa band called Grupo Select performs. And Monday — karaoke night — is the most jam-packed of them all. This bar's food is amazing: Philly cheese steaks, pizzas, and chicken wings are surprisingly delicious. And yes, she makes a damn good martini.


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