Bars & Clubs

  • Best Place To Drink And Watch The News Go By

    The bar at the Capital Grille

    This darkly hued downtown oasis is ideal for checking your investments while you quaff some refreshments. Sure it's a national chain with a gimmick: a news ticker. But at least it's an informative gimmick. Sit in air-conditioned elegance while the headlines and stock market updates whiz by on the wall. Somehow it's more exciting than watching television over the massive… More >>
  • Best Cigar Bar

    Macabi Bar Room

    Macabi's began as a retail store with one of the best tobacco selections around, as well as some of the best prices. But last June, after the nationwide cigar boom began to wane, owners Henry Vilar and Arturo Sosa transformed their showroom into a smoke room, complete with high-end liquors and cordials. Now, after picking out a hefty Arturo Fuente… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar/Central

    Gables Pub

    Tucked into the extreme south end of downtown Coral Gables, this unassuming ranch-style edifice next to the Knights of Columbus hall has been called the Crown and Garter as well as the English Crown before its current owners gave it a more prosaic moniker a couple of years back. In its latest incarnation as the Gables Pub, it attracts a… More >>
  • Best Rock Club

    Tobacco Road - CLOSED

    There's a saying that given enough time, even the town whore becomes respectable. That adage certainly applies to Tobacco Road, rapidly closing in on a century as one of Miami's most cherished watering holes. Once a notorious den of iniquity, the Road now has a family friendly vibe, or at least the atmosphere of an all-American frat party. Sure you'll… More >>
  • Best Haitian Club

    McArthur International Café

    Even if the Haitian music scene is dominated by men, Miami's best venue for live shows is powered by women. "The girls are in charge!" declares McArthur's social director Kathy Giddarie. Since March 1999 general manager Vivian Lazarre's female bartending crew has kept crowds of up to 800 compas fans happy. Out-of-town thrillers such as System, Sweet Mickey, and King… More >>
  • Best Low-Rent Bar

    American Champ

    Most people don't know the name of this bar. They know it only by its location: south of Wolfie's, a couple of doors north of an adult bookstore, which is a couple of doors north of the Déjà Vu strip club. This is perhaps the seediest block left in South Beach. And the Champ, one of the Beach's last shabby… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar Disguised As A Pretty Darn Good Italian Restaurant

    Sport Café - CLOSED

    It's late in the second period. The Heat is staving off the Knicks 48-46. Not far from the TV, a man and a woman sit cozily. The woman, holding a glass of wine in one hand and waving the other, tries to draw her man's gaze away from the game. She has things besides hoops on her mind. "Put more… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar/North

    Delaney Street Restaurant & Lounge

    Start by scoping out the looong L-shape wood bar planted in the middle of the room. Next sidle up to one of the cushiony metal stools upholstered in green velour. Now lean up against the bar and accommodate the shoes on the foot rests below. Once in perfect drinking position, order the liver killer. Northwest Miami-Dade suburbanites have visited this… More >>
  • Best Club Without Walls

    Nikki Beach Club

    Every so often the grind of city life pauses long enough to reveal why it's worth grinding on in our particular city. Nikki is just such an epiphany. It's a club/lounge/restaurant that exists solely under palm trees and on top of sand. Nestled in the dunes between the ocean and the rear of Penrod's, Nikki is the brainchild of long-time… More >>
  • Best Place To Catch The Blues On Monday Nights

    Tobacco Road - CLOSED

    On most Monday nights after nine, you can slip into Tobacco Road's beery downstairs barroom and enjoy the public rehearsal of Iko-Iko, this town's most seasoned and reliable blues ensemble. The band, led by local heavyweight Graham Drout, is a five-man Cajun-inflected Miami sound machine with a busy national tour schedule and official fan clubs in a dozen states, including… More >>
  • Best Upstart Jazz Club

    Champagne's Restaurant and Jazz Lounge

    At Champagne's the finest jazz in Miami is served with a Kreyol flavor. "Remember, this is not just a music club; this is a restaurant," reminds owner Frantz Olivier, who recommends the griot pork seasoned with sour oranges. He might add that this joint, which opened in November 1999, is a bit of an art gallery, too. An enormous mural… More >>
  • Best Latin Club

    Rancho Gaspar

    Snaking down the dirt roads to get to this ranch off the Florida Turnpike at Okeechobee is half the fun, especially after dark. Tires hug the earth as cars squeeze between oncoming traffic and the crops crowding the fields. Weekend party animals give way to four-footed friends during the week. Horses drink water out of troughs in the parking lot.… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    King Stable Bar and Lounge

    So, your baby left you the same day you lost your job, and when you got home the landlord was waiting. Well, pull up a stool. Although the King Stable, a Miami mainstay for 31 years, isn't just for the blues, it's a fine place to start. Crammed into its jukebox is an assemblage of 99 songs sure to ease… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar/South

    BB's Sports Grill and Lounge

    This local honky-tonk has long been a drinking well for Ridge Rats and other South Miami-Dade folks. It used to be called Norm's Hideaway back in the Eighties, and many an illegal substance could be found there. Now renamed and expanded, it continues to quench the needs of locals, though not with quite the same wild abandon. Still, no matter… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    Level

    Debuting this year amid more new nightspots than South Beach has ever seen, Level has the personnel, parties, and square footage to rise above all else in clubland. Led by nightlife impresario and fashion designer Gerry Kelly, this huge yet versatile space hosts everything: the grandest of bashes and the smallest soirees. From the intimate upstairs room dubbed Level 6… More >>
  • Best West Indian Club

    Mad House - CLOSED

    The pirates from Mixx 96 FM make merry every Friday night at the Mad House on Key Biscayne. A breeze wafts over the outdoor soca deck on the bay and boats pull right up to the dance floor. The Trini South Boys along with DJs House Arrest and Giselle "the Wassy One" make the crowd jump and wave to the… More >>
  • Best Bar To Get Primed

    Blue

    Proper preparation is the key to life. It not only applies to careers; it carries over to the social scene. One can hardly stroll sober into a South Beach nightclub and easily mingle with the depraved. Enter Blue. This intimate bar lies several paces away from the hippest spots on Washington Avenue. The cool blue tones that dominate the interior… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    Twist

    All gay. All the time. Believe it or not, in an area that some call the new gay mecca, surprisingly few bars or nightspots cater exclusively to the gay market. Recently renovated, this club now boasts three spacious spaces, including an outdoor patio, so there's plenty of room to move around. Bartenders and clientele that are among the nicest on… More >>
  • Best Place To Slow Dance

    Añoranzas

    Añoranzas (which means "longing" in Spanish) is the perfect place to lose yourself in yearning for a loved one. The décor is ripe for nostalgia, done up with rough-hewn wooden tables and a thatched ceiling, just like a cantina in the Medellín, Colombia, countryside. An actual chiva -- a brightly painted country bus -- is built… More >>
  • Best Place To Play Darts

    Tom's NFL Club

    Tom's has two British-made dart boards, located in a carpeted corner, a comfortable distance from pool tables, TVs, and those tipsy folks over by the bar. That distance is important, because darting mishaps can ruin an otherwise fabulous outing and prompt an awkward conversation. Tipsy man to another tipsy man: "Hey, good buddy, you've got the biggest weirdest mosquito sucking on… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar/West

    Holleman's Steak and Seafood

    If the creators of the TV series Cheers had lived in Miami Springs instead of Boston, the dimly lit bar at Holleman's might have been immortalized by now. This 25-year-old establishment is so down-home its proprietors print a monthly newsletter listing customers' birthdays and wedding anniversaries. It's the kind of place where an old bearded codger sitting on one side… More >>
  • Best VIP Room

    Level 6

    It's a tiny cubbyhole at the tippy-top of one of the coolest clubs in town. And it's exclusive. Not "exclusive" like other nightspots, where anyone with $300 to plunk down for a bottle of scotch is admitted. Entry into Level 6 is by invitation only. And isn't that what a VIP room is really about? Level 6 also has its… More >>
  • Best Drink Special

    Iguana Cantina - CLOSED

    Does paying $20 to enter a South Beach club where you have the privilege of plunking down $9 per drink have your bank account a bit barren? Don't worry -- if it's a low-dough night you're looking for, then stumble no further than Loco Thursday at Iguana Cantina. Be forewarned that scores of college drinkers and cheap alcohol… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar/Miami Beach

    Norman's Tavern

    With all due respect to Club Deuce, Zeke's, and the Abbey Pub, sometimes even those establishments aren't powerful enough to shield you from attitude-heavy South Beach. When such ennui strikes, try Norman's. It's just far enough away to be unfashionable, which for the rest of us means relaxed, not subject to the supercilious gaze of the fashionista. "This is very… More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Debra Douglas

    From the jukebox at the 1800 Club on the Miami side of the bay, Mick Jagger laments, "You can't always get what you want...." At the dimly lit bar, surrounded by a square copper countertop, 44-year-old Debra Douglas doles out Budweisers the way a saint manufactures minor miracles. A kiss on the cheek for the regulars, full regard for the… More >>
  • Best Cracker Hideaway

    Eddie's Place

    So-called progress dislodged Eddie's from the corner of SW Eighth Street and 126th Avenue in the early Nineties to make way for a god-dang restaurant, parking lot, and minor strip mall. So this cocktail lounge with an Anglo-Alabaman aura was chased into in a narrow mall storefront only 50 feet away from its original location. Damn straight it was. As… More >>
  • Best Drink Special

    Iguana Cantina - CLOSED

    Does paying $20 to enter a South Beach club where you have the privilege of plunking down $9 per drink leave your bank account a bit barren? Don't worry -- if it's a low-dough night you're looking for, then stumble no further than Loco Thursday at Iguana Cantina. Be forewarned that scores of college drinkers and cheap alcohol… More >>
  • Best Martini

    Mark's South Beach (in the Nash Hotel)

    Last year we ranted over the debasement of this most refined of cocktails. Haplessly clutched to the noxious bosom of mass culture, the martini recently had been drained of its noble heritage and left to molder as a pop icon. Uncomprehending amateurs ordered facsimiles of them by the millions from uninitiated bartenders -- with disastrous results. And no… More >>
  • Best Place For Cocktails

    Marlin Bar (in the Marlin Hotel)

    The bar in Chris Blackwell's hotel has been a consistent standout for nine years. It hasn't had to reinvent itself to grab attention, like a plastic-surgeried Palm Beach matron. Instead it has remained confident in its own cool. The lounge's brushed-steel interior provides a refined platform in which to sit and sip a drink. The bartenders are swift and attentive.… More >>
  • Best Bloody Mary

    The Strand Restaurant & Beach Grille

    Great ambiance can only make a cocktail taste better. Not that the Strand's bloody mary needs much help. The house recipe -- fashioned with hearty tomato juice and a masterful blend of vodka, horseradish, garlic, salt, pepper, lime juice, Worcestershire, and Tabasco sauce -- is a winning combination. Complement the eye-popping beverage with a clear view… More >>
  • Best Bar Food

    Fox's Sherron Inn

    The dim lighting, the cramped, blood-red faux-leather booths, the dark wood paneling. Even though the place is clean, somehow when you're here, you feel ... dirty. Like, if you're not already having an affair or planning a bank robbery, you oughta be. Funny how the place also manages to feel welcoming, in a seedy sort of way. Must be that… More >>
  • Best Bar To Model-Watch

    The Living Room

    Strange how the beautiful people flock together. Even stranger is the number of places in which they choose to converge that close. Bar Room, for instance. The club converted an upstairs space into the Moon Bar, a watering hole especially for the modeling industry. The fabulati came in droves. Unfortunately for owner Chris Paciello, so did the feds. (We all… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar

    Duffy's Tavern

    What distinguishes a truly sophisticated sports bar from the run-of-the-mill? The intelligent details, coach. For instance clever television placement, such as a stack of two TVs on a cigarette machine. Large wooden tables that provide excellent acoustics by softening brash television sound waves. An extensive collection of old beer taps hanging upside down from some rafters to help you ponder… More >>
  • Best Club For Latin Rock

    Club Millennium

    Long a glittery weekend salsa pit, Club Millennium now offers a welcome respite to Latin rockers who complain they get no respect in Miami. The Doral-area disco caters to the South American kids of the city's western suburbs with a Thursday-night series of the best Latin rock acts from Tijuana to Buenos Aires. Heavy on the frenzied sounds of the… More >>
  • Best Karaoke

    Hooligan's Pub & Cabaret

    Since when do people dance at a karaoke night? Patrons usually are too busy cringing from the wails of the aspiring vocalist at the mike to consider boogying. But every Wednesday evening at Hooligan's, a neighborhood crew unabashedly jumps up and cuts the rug to the sounds of a seemingly endless stream of would-be starlets gracing the stage. Of course… More >>
  • Best Biker Bar

    Alabama Jack's

    Both pipes open up on a stretch of road as long and flat as the devil's driveway, and that damn tropical sun beats down on you like a mess o' troopers on road-kill day. Your machine's growling like a hungry lion, and your ol' lady starts whining that she'd like something to drink. Problem is, nothing around. You could backtrack… More >>
  • Best Open-Mike Night

    Main Street Café

    Off the beaten path, ensconced in the suburbs of Homestead, is the area's most musician-friendly open-mike night. Itching to play Friday evening, but don't have a guitar handy? No problem. One of the café's four owners, Laurie Oudin, will lend you her battered Ovation, if you ask. How's it sound? Pretty damn good. Want to sound better? Invite MCing regulars,… More >>
  • Best Club DJ

    DJ LeSpam

    There's little shortage of DJs in Miami, and if you poke around town beyond the velvet ropes, you might even find a couple spinning some half-interesting music. Disc jockeys in the literal sense, however -- individuals skilled in riding high in the saddle and coaxing their treasured vinyl collections to new and transcendent feats -- are… More >>
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