Best of Miami®

Best Of 2010

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Bars & Clubs

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Best Of :: Bars & Clubs

Best Local Music Video

At the beginning of the year, Sweat Records announced a contest for amateur filmmakers to create a video for local sweetheart Rachel Goodrich's latest single, "Lightbulb." The winner would receive bragging rights and $500. Thirty-seven artists uploaded their entries to YouTube for Sweat and Goodrich's consideration. The song, like much of Goodrich's work, is quirky, unthreatening, and full of kazoo. It's sunny and hummable enough to land in a Crayola commercial. So most of the would-be video directors submitted similarly twee clips and animations. Not Lucas Leyva, the young, upstart member of the local Borscht Film Festival. The Miami native is diehard 305 till he dies, and his version went for reality. Filmed in the streets of Wynwood, the video shows a gang of street children on bicycles, tattoo artists, and thugs with gold vampire teeth — all lip-synched along to Goodrich's happy-go-lucky tune. Some are loading guns or rolling dice. Oh, and between each of these vignettes, there's plenty of booty-clapping for emphasis. The entry was completely unexpected, and the predictable offended comments on YouTube were as funny as the concept itself. Leyva scored second place in the contest, but he's the winner in our book. (You can see it by searching Leyva and Goodrich on YouTube.)

Best Neighborhood Bar/North

This local watering hole has a nocturnal name, but it does a fantastic job catering to early-morning boozers. Nite Cap opens at 7 a.m. six days a week. The first happy hour runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. So if you're in the mood for a beer or a Jameson on the rocks for breakfast, head to this 30-year-old wonder. There you will run into easygoing locals from North Dade and maybe even Southeast Broward who enjoy a low-key party vibe and low prices. The joint's walls, bar, and tables are decorated in ancient Miami Dolphins regalia, commemorating the team's glory years. Stop by and get to know bar wench Kelly, a peach of a lady who knows all the regulars. The place officially closes at 2 a.m. but — shhh, don't tell the Man — has been known to operate extended hours. On the Lord's Day, however, Nite Cap gives patrons a chance to go to church services and repent by opening at 12:30 p.m. During NFL season, the bar offers free hot dogs, kielbasa, and sliders all afternoon on game days.

15544 W. Dixie Highway, North Miami, 33162
MAP
305-940-6700
Best New Bar/South
Brickell Irish Pub

Brickell Irish Pub gives Miami's scene stealers a fresh new place to get gritty. Opened last year, it's a place where cosmos and Cuba libre's are traded for Guinness and Jameson. The place is regularly slammed with a crowd that overflows onto the bar's outside terrace. Inside, it might take you a minute or two to reach the bar, but kilt-clad waiters and waitresses keep the $12 drinks coming. Live bands frequent the 6,000-square-foot warehouse-style bar at least six nights a week and play on a stage that resembles an antique library. The pub also keeps the clean and sober occupied and content with a pool table, darts, and 20 plasma TV screens. The crowd is mixed, and while the music selections vary, the tunes are those best sung by an entire bar full of drunks — i.e., anything by the Police, Sublime, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Nightly themes span the week, including Monday poker night, Wednesday rock night, and Sunday dedicated to all things sports. The bar is open Sunday through Wednesday noon to 2 a.m. and Thursday through Saturday noon to 3 a.m.

1451 S. Miami Ave., Miami, 33130
MAP
305-381-6651
Best Campus Watering Hole
Wetlab

Miami has so much natural beauty that it's unfortunate most of our bars and clubs revel in synthetic aesthetics: the intricate design, the electronic beats blaring through speakers, the surgically altered bodies of the people let past the polyester velvet rope. Luckily, there are a few places that still put nature's beauty on display. One of them is Wetlab on the University of Miami campus on Virginia Key. The patio affords an unobstructed view of undeveloped Biscayne Bay in all its glory, while the bar offers a full selection of sanely priced drinks in all their different but equally breathtaking glory. Yes, Wetlab is on a college campus, but it's open to the public, and the grad students here form a far different crowd from those you'll find at the Rathskeller on UM's Coral Gables campus. The only real drawback is that Wetlab is open only Wednesday and Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. and Friday from 4:30 to 11 p.m.

4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, 33149
MAP
305-421-4000
Best Place to Sample Tequila
El Scorpion Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar

Chances are you've hummed the pop culture-heavy Champs tune "Tequila" before, maybe even done the Pee-wee dance while under the influence. Or you might have had a Sandlot-esque moment. Tequila is not for the faint of heart, and El Scorpion has boldly created a long, backlit bar that houses more than 120 blue agave spirits, including Patrón's golden child: Gran Patrón Burdeos. First it's aged in American and French oak for at least a year, and then it's racked in vintage Bordeaux barrels. A shot goes for $100. Don't come here expecting all of those frou-frou drinks you'll find at the chain bars. El Scorpion sticks to the basic goods. And the bar food includes five guacamoles and four salsas, so "Tequila" might be the theme for many nights to come.

433 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, 33139
MAP
305-532-4544
Best Wine Bar
Eno's Winebar Cafe
Leah Gabriel

A Miamian's dilemma: You want to enjoy all the great things about Lincoln Road — the unparalleled people-watching, the sidewalk-café ambiance under gently lit palms, the crackling South Beach energy. But you're a local. You're not about to fall for the ol' hot-Ukrainian-model-waving-a-menu-in-your-face ploy, and you're sure as hell not going to spend 200 bucks just to relax in the shade for a couple of hours. Who would have thought that a wine bar, of all the bourgeois haunts, would come to the rescue? Eno's Winebar Café is a slim and stylish storefront in the middle of Lincoln Road Mall, lit with an audacious red chandelier and stocked with hundreds of wines. Best of all, Eno's rotating cast of vinos is hooked to a high-tech sampling machine. You can "charge" a plastic card with as much cash as you'd like and then taste away with a splash of that Armand de Brignac or a full glass of the Leroy Bourgogne Rouge. Shady outdoor tables alongside a gently gurgling fountain are the perfect setting for finally enjoying Lincoln like a local.

920 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, 33139
MAP
305-695-1119
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Best Local Music Video: Lucas Leyva's video for Rachel Goodrich's "Lightbulb"

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