Bars & Clubs

  • Best Bartender

    Sterling Warren Taurus Restaurant and Bar

    "My bartending skills? Yeah, sure, everybody gets a glass," quips Warren, known variously as "Butch" or "Beamer." So modest. Twenty years at the Taurus and you figure he's got the fundamentals down. But sitting opposite this drinkslinger is anything but routine. He has turned the skill of bartending into the entertainment of improv theater. Every day he transmutes into a… More >>
  • Best Club Dj

    DJ Sugar

    It's been some time since a DJ called Sugar Dick worked the decks in South Beach haunts such as the Whiskey, Sinatra Bar, and Barrio. Rene Lecour has dropped the Dick, kept the Sugar, and continues to expand his reach. Along with his spinning at Bar Room on Wednesdays, the Living Room on Fridays, Liquid on Saturdays and Mondays, and… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar/Central

    JohnMartin's

    The burnished wood interior, the power-suited clientele, and the eight-dollar cheeseburgers might seem to push JohnMartin's out of the realm of the neighborhood dive, but for those who live or work in the Gables and environs, this Emerald Isle-theme joint actually does serve primarily as the local watering hole. The Irish pub, founded ten years ago by John Clarke and… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar/North

    Bamboo Inn

    It's almost a cliché but nonetheless true that a worth-its-salt neighborhood tavern should feel like a second home. For most people that means slightly messy, a bit worn, with items reflecting the dweller's personality affixed to the walls. The Bamboo Inn has been around for about 60 years and it has all of the above in spades. The walls are… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar/West

    Sports Grill

    Sports Grill is as relaxed as a bettor on the upside of a fourth-quarter blowout. For seventeen years this casual bar -- with décor heavy on little plastic Bud dirigibles and Miami Heat logos -- has provided Kendall with a place to drink, eat, and watch televised sports (not necessarily in that order). There are eight television sets placed around… More >>
  • Best Female Strip Joint

    The Trap

    The Trap lives! God save the Trap! County commissioners (puritanical and hypocritical alike) mounted heated efforts to subdue adult entertainment throughout most of unincorporated Miami-Dade County, creating criminality based on certain geographical proximities. Miami's top topless joint has avoided this no-bare trap since it took effect in January. Owner Jim Robinson filed suit against the county, blocking enforcement of the… More >>
  • Best Go-Go Boy Bar

    Cactus Bar and Grill

    The bodies on the bar -- dancing, prancing around your drinks, or leaning down to give you a better view -- are fine. But so is the atmosphere, which is pleasantly relaxed. The go-go boys are not averse to cozying up to patrons, who in turn are not averse to slipping bills into tiny G-strings. And the drinks are as… More >>
  • Best Karaoke

    Tap Tap Haitian Restaurant

    Tap Tap owner Gina Cunningham wanted to offer karaoke to her customers, but she wasn't about to set the scene for a bunch of schmaltz-lovers crooning "Feelings." Enter James Small, the James Brown of karaoke. A bus driver from Fort Lauderdale, Small appears at Tap Tap on occasional weekend nights, sporting a leather vest over his muscled chest and toting… More >>
  • Second Best Karaoke

    Tokyo Club

    Hear the one about the guy who ate piles of raw fish, guzzled vats of booze, listened to karaoke all night -- and didn't throw up? He didn't blow his bankroll, either, because he mixed these hedonistic and gastronomically treacherous delights at the Tokyo Club, one of the Beach's great defenders of kitschy fun, all-you-can-eat sushi, all-you-can-drink weekends, and (ahem)… More >>
  • Best Bar Reconstituted

    1800 Club

    It was a dark day in June when creditors and city regulators forced Ira Cohen and his son Danny to shutter the venerable 1800 Club. Long a favorite watering hole of scribblers, flatfoots, and politicos, the 1800 Club was a noir cave of a bar with all the comfort of a living room but half the light. A year into… More >>
  • Best Rock Club

    Churchill's Hideaway

    The rock scene in Miami isn't exactly overwhelming. In fact it's barely even a scene. But alas there is Churchill's, that dingy, down-to-earth, ultra-British multipurpose pub so often lauded here. It's the place to catch surf-punk legends Agent Orange, experimental rock bands such as Melt Banana and Blonde Redhead, the balls-to-the-walls rock and roll of Nashville Pussy or the Belmont… More >>
  • Best Vip Room

    Bar Room

    You've spent hours sweltering on the sidewalk, climbing on a chair, hopping on a table, jumping up and down. At last you've made eye contact with the door gorilla/bouncer. As the crimson velvet ropes part, you thank the nightlife gods that your Versace suit is black. Better to mask the sweat stains dampening your armpits. Fork over twenty bucks, stroll… More >>
  • Best Place To Play Pool

    Peg's Pocket Billiards

    "You're not here to pick up a girl. This is not a pick-up joint," warns Frank Hunt, manager of Peg's. "This is more like 1950, if you went into a pool place and knew everybody. You come in here if you want to have fun." Peg's is fourteen Ivan Simonis-felted, regulation-size (nine-and-a-half-foot) tables of old-school pool. The kind of place… More >>
  • Best Bar To Model-Watch

    The Beehive at Penrod's

    Penrod's has shed its frat-house décor of neon beer signs and emerged as a refined spot on Mondays for those "in the industry" (acting, fashion, modeling) and those who enjoy watching those in the industry. The credit goes to two young promoters, Ted and Linley (to maintain a fashionable mystique, both declined to divulge their last names), who ran the… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    Score

    If you happen to be a buffed Crunch regular with fashion-model modalities, score is exactly what you'll do here. The beauty of this ten-month-old Lincoln Road hot spot, however, is the fact that there's plenty of room for discretion. Even celibacy. With its mix of wildly varied theme nights and block parties, Score-ing's fun for everyone: boys, girls, doms, subs,… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar

    Jimmy Johnson's Three Rings Bar & Grill in the Eden Roc Resort and Spa

    Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson has a careerlong knack for assembling winning organizations, though paradoxically they often choke on game day. But you can't lose visiting the coach's beachside establishment at the Eden Roc. Whatever your game a pair of big screens and about 25 standard sets ensure an unobstructed view. Monitor the action from a table or barstool on the… More >>
  • Best Cigar Bar

    Condal & Peņamil House

    Sounds like a vaudeville team, but this spot actually stocks hundreds of cigars imported from the Canary Islands. And it's a cool, high-ceilinged, relaxing place in which to puff away. But the number of folks actually smoking seems to be dwindling these days. Good thing Condal & Peņamil mixes a sweet-tart sangría and serves a pleasant, if pricey, cheese platter.… More >>
  • Best Gonad-Driven Club

    Cream

    Yo, yo, yo, yo, yo. Welcome to homeboy heaven. You've seen the cars with low-profile tires and booming bass rolling from Hialeah and Kendall to South Beach. You've seen the cars' passengers with pants drooping off their butts while their gold fronts glitter through defiant smirks. Cream is the ultimate destination of all those young yo-yos. The only thing that… More >>
  • Best Bar Food

    Tobacco Road - CLOSED

    If bar food everywhere was as good as it is at Tobacco Road, beer drinkers would be even fatter than they already are. The Road slings the nonliquid staples: burgers, nachos, chili, French fries, wings. Except everything is done to chin-wiping excess. Prime example: four kinds of burgers with names (Death, Mega) that convey a Mad Max spirit of gluttony.… More >>
  • Best Traffic Jam

    Firehouse Four

    If yuppies were cars, what a jam we'd really be in. Every Friday afternoon thousands of stressed-out corporate types working off their office rage flood the block in front of this historic restaurant, an actual restored firehouse from the Twenties. Fortunately the only beeping to be heard emanates from the cell phones folks forgot to turn off. And though the… More >>
  • Best Place To Play Darts

    Irish House

    In the category of sports involving the launching of potentially dangerous projectiles at targets, skeet shooting seems to lately be eclipsing the more reasonable game of darts. But Miami-Dade still has a few dark corners where dartage remains the call of the day. The newfound passion for the shotgun arts is probably a mere fad, and a more expensive one… More >>
  • Best Biker Bar

    The Last Chance Saloon

    Motorcycle? Check. Open road? Check. What else does a biker need? Draft Buds are a buck, White Castle burgers are $1.75, and Marlboros go for twenty dollars per carton. Check, check, and check. Of course the Last Chance is more than a pit stop for biker provisions. It's a pit stop for bikers, many of whom kill the afternoon… More >>
  • Best Latin Club

    Club Mystique

    Club Mystique is a landmark of Latin Miami. Hidden in the airport Hilton, the space is big and dark, with quintessentially Scarface-era décor: sunken dance floor, prominent stage, cozy tables accented with wall mirrors. But while other clubs have come and gone, the neon-enhanced Mystique has kept the beat and kept the crowds coming. They come to dance. You'll see… More >>
  • Best Low-Rent Bar

    El Toro Bar Liquors and Lounge

    In 1937, about ten years before Hickey joined the other misfit dreamers in the saloon of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, El Toro Bar opened. Old-timers testify that the gin mill was a swell place in those early days, full of sunshine and happy anglers who hoisted brews and spewed fish tales after a day on the bay. In the… More >>
  • Best Place For Cocktails

    Piccadilly Garden Restaurant and Lounge

    The word cocktails implies concinnity. No squeezing through huddled masses in order to elbow up to the bar. No jostled drinks. And there certainly should be no need for shouting. Piccadilly exists for civilized outings in refined surroundings. After ordering your libation at the bar, you can sit either in the lush courtyard amid parrots and plants, or inside by… More >>
  • Best Place To Slow-Dance

    Café Nostalgia

    Ponce de León came to Florida desperately seeking the Fountain of Youth. It can now be found at Café Nostalgia, Little Havana's vintage Cuban music mecca. For lovers of Latin sounds, slow dancing is a way of life, and it has been clinically proven to keep them young. Just look at the glowing couples on the dance floor at Nostalgia,… More >>
  • Best Martini

    The herd mentality that led countless clueless to "rediscover" the martini, and which has resulted in untold thousands of badly made cocktails to be served here over the past several years -- that maddening mindlessness has finally reached its nadir. We point to three unrelated events as proof beyond doubt that the party is over. (And none too soon, we… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    Kitchen Club

    Unlike its homogeneous counterparts in South Beach, this ten-year-old danceteria doesn't cater to celebs and fashion slaves, or to the hype engendering such trendiness. Hell, the Kitchen doesn't even have a telephone. What the club has is a dedication to the dark side of nightlife, the Gothic ethos, those decadent delights of revelry no one will ever tell their grandchildren… More >>
  • Best Place To Take A Twelve After You Zer0-Six, QSL?

    Chasers Bar, above the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association

    Tough shift. Good thing it's over ("zero-six" is code for "end of shift"). Now you need to get a bite to eat (known as a "twelve") and recover, right? ("QSL" in policese -- for "that's acknowledged.") You tore your pants tackling that fleeing suspect. Your sergeant's looking for you about the coffee stains on your report. And on top of… More >>
  • Best Nightlife Trend

    Legal after-hours

    For reasons best left to the dark side of the imagination, many people firmly believe that 5:00 a.m. is an inappropriately early time for bars and nightclubs to shut their doors. Simply put, party till noon. Over the years clandestine postdawn haunts such as Hombre, Club X, Niva, and Jones Town remained confined to South Beach's shadow world. Then the… More >>
  • Best Lush-Life Bar

    Club Deuce Bar and Grill

    All anyone need say is that they're going to the Deuce for a drink. The rest is understood: reasonable prices liberally mixed with surreal circumstances. Proprietor Mac Klein says his is a neighborhood bar, a description that takes on new meaning in South Beach. The Deuce's patrons are generally a tolerant, open-minded lot: straight, gay, bi, transsexual, roughnecks, gentry, white… More >>
  • Best Bloody Mary

    Delano Hotel

    Mary Tudor, for whom this concoction was named, ruled over England and Ireland during the Sixteenth Century, re-establishing Catholicism and permitting rampant persecution. Much could be made of the cocktail's namesake, and, with a bit of effort, much can be made of the tomato-based cocktail itself. So why do we so often find generic product wearing this historically provocative moniker?… More >>
  • Best Drink Special

    College Night Thursday

    So what if you have to run a gauntlet of soon-to-be-sloshed college kids? The penny (yes, as in one cent) you'll pay for your brewski from 10:00 p.m. to midnight on Thursdays at this venerable reggae-oriented hangout makes minor the annoyances of addled youth. Urp!… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour

    National Hotel

    On South Beach the happiest hour used to be midnight, and any party that occurred in daylight hours was known as a tea dance. That's before locals added years, pounds, and day jobs to their lives, and realized they couldn't a) start drinking at 11:00 a.m., or b) stop drinking at 11:00 a.m. Recognizing the Beach's changing demographics, the National… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar/Miami Beach

    Zeke's Roadhouse

    On New Year's Eve, with crowds of tourists swarming Lincoln Road, Zeke's owner Victor Deutsch closed early. "Too many problems," the erstwhile engineer said. Friends protested, not because there was a lack of bars to visit, but because they wanted to see Zeke's profit from the surge in activity. "We're a locals' bar," Deutsch told his supporters. "We're not sprinters,… More >>
  • Best One-Nighter

    The Magic Garden at the Albion Hotel

    Like any great one-nighter, the Garden changes its themes and alters its tunage weekly. But the campfire, it's a regular. It stays. No other once-a-week fling offers such diversity, such comfort, and the opportunity to roast (complimentary) marshmallows. Of course the fabulousness of the setting doesn't hurt. The Garden promoters set their Friday night party at the Albion, with its… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar/South

    Sam's Hide Away

    This old shack would be just another old shack were it not for the year-round Christmas lights, the puffer fish mounted on the wall behind the bar, the two aged pool tables, and the melting pot of a jukebox that plays Hank Williams, Jr., Derek and the Dominoes, and Counting Crows in the span of a few minutes. Not to… More >>
  • Best Open-Mike Night

    Faatland Tuesdays

    DJ Snowhite hosts this gathering of urban poets and aspiring hip-hop stars every Tuesday in the confines of the dark, rectangular club Zanzibar. An assemblage of youth gathers to compete, unleashing prepared and extemporaneous raps and other poetry that ranges in quality from borderline brilliant to painfully lame. The Spam Allstars attempt to accommodate the performers with music to suit… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    Lost Weekend

    To stand out a jukebox must be like an aural smorgasbord: variety along with abundance. Sampling Miami's pay-to-play fare suggests most are pretty good. That's because they all seem to have the same pretty good selections. Lost Weekend's Rowe is always evolving and boasts a veritable feast of varied artists. This machine is loaded with the standard Rolling Stones, Doors,… More >>
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