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Bars & Clubs

  • BEST PLACE TO SLOW DANCE

    Hoy Como Ayer

    Sometimes the magic is simply in the place. No matter what you call it. No matter how lively Thursday nights get with all those boisterous kids. Fridays and Saturdays after midnight at this little place on the corner of Calle Ocho and SW 22nd Avenue -- with the lights down low and Luis Bofill at the microphone channeling Beny Moré… More >>
  • BEST OLD-FLORIDA TIME TRIP

    Jimbo's - CLOSED

    Your generic Cheers-type bar -- a neighborhood hangout that could be located in Anywhereville, USA -- feels fine most of the time. But when you want a brew at a bar that screams, "Hey, this here's Florida!" there's only one place in Miami: Jimbo's. Which isn't actually a bar. Officially it's a bait shop, tucked away at Shrimpers' Lagoon on… More >>
  • BEST DRINK SPECIAL

    Fox's Sherron Inn

    Miami is a late-night kind of place, so it makes more sense for happy hours to begin late. At Fox's little den of iniquity, it's two-for-one on whatever you're drinking (barring the top shelf and imported beer), from 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday and Saturday nights. "It's standing-room-only, honey -- a lot of fun," assures the bartender in… More >>
  • BEST KARAOKE

    Studio in the Shelborne Beach Resort

    Not everyone is destined for fame and glory, but at this quintessential karaoke club, one can sure as heck pretend. Here the extremely vocally challenged rub shoulders with the karaoke fanatics, and anyone with the nerve to get up on the raised stage in front of the tipsy and boisterous crowd on the dance floor is guaranteed to be rewarded… More >>
  • BEST DANCE CLUB

    crobar

    Meander up and down Washington Avenue on a Saturday night and there's no shortage of clubbing options -- from small and loungy to sprawling and manic. There's even a host of nightspots across the Bay attempting to give South Beach a run for its late-night money. But if you're looking to dance -- period -- crobar remains a sure bet… More >>
  • BEST PLACE FOR COCKTAILS

    Mike Gordon's

    It started in 1946 as a bait shack. Then it began serving fish sandwiches. Then the menu expanded. Then the bait was phased out and a bar added. Today the bar is still there. So is the food. And so is the Old Cracker spirit of the original establishment launched by Anne Gordon. Her late son Mike didn't change much… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR/NORTH

    Tuna's Waterfront Grille

    Tuna's has been described as North Miami-Dade's best-kept secret. Its bar certainly is underappreciated, a neighborhood tavern in a community forced to gather on the neon strip of Biscayne Boulevard. By opening outward onto Maule Lake Marina, Tuna's waterfront views manage to convey some of the beauty that brought so many of us down here in the first place. Tuna's… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR/SOUTH

    Jake's Bar & Grill - CLOSED

    A big, sturdy mahogany bar, handsome wood interiors, and Diana Krall on the sound system lends Jake's a New York ambiance. Or the wide-open space of the place, the booths along one wall, and a pool table can make you think Old Florida. Whatever. Local restaurateur Patrick Gleber -- he also owns Tobacco Road and Fishbone Grille -- says he… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR/CENTRAL

    Two Last Shoes

    The Bohemian barrio of Wynwood keeps burgeoning, thanks to the efforts of people like Mario Irusta, who has brought a kind of noir whimsy to the neighborhood with this place. He derived the seemingly random name from an old shopping mall called Ten Last Shoes he happened upon years ago in a one-street town in Nevada. Irusta, who hails from… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR/WEST

    Doral Ale House

    This big, often teeming room is a popular oasis for Doral area denizens and has the community feel of a European beer hall. Watch televised sports, play pool and foosball, or heck, talk to your Doralian neighbors (or new acquaintances, since this part of town is ever-more packed with newcomers from South and Central America). The U-shaped bar seems half… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR/MIAMI BEACH

    Smith & Wollensky

    This veteran steak house may look stiff and formal, and the patrons may appear stuffy and overfed. But if you think that's all there is to this place, then you haven't been downstairs and outside, where an oceanfront bar serves a group of regulars who arrive in shorts and, well, usually leave in them, too. A big destination for South… More >>
  • BEST BARTENDER

    Maria Lara - The Roof Top Lounge

    It would have been easy to go to South Beach or the Grove with this category, two areas filthy with gin joints and beer halls, all staffed by popular, and always busy, pourers and shakers. But because those who sit and wait also serve, we've decided instead to acknowledge the grunts, those bartenders who are the backbone of South Florida's… More >>
  • BEST MARTINI

    Joe Allen - CLOSED

    Restaurateur Joe Allen, who operates dining establishments in Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, and Miami Beach, knows his way around a bar. In January 1999, nine months after his popular local eatery opened, he told the Herald's Meg Laughlin: "Life is a cruel joke. But less cruel and more of a joke when you're in a good bar." Of… More >>
  • BEST GAY BAR

    Twist

    There are two ways to survive as a tourist-town bar: specialize in one thing or cut loose and try everything. SoBe staple Twist unloads the queer-club crate when delivering its weekly party favors. Be it billiards in the lounge, a variety of DJs handling multiple dance floors, impromptu drag queens, or fresh eye candy, this watering hole is a tropical… More >>
  • BEST LESBIAN BAR

    Purdy Lounge

    All right, so their Sunday-night lesbian party, Purdy Girl, fizzled. That doesn't mean this funky joint lacks that estrogen-to-estrogen thing. Any Miami lesbian worth her MAC lipstick knows that if she's going to look for a chica, she's gotta deal with bi-girls. And Purdy, with its couches full of adventurous young women, screams Anne Heche. So if you're bored with… More >>
  • BEST LOW-RENT BAR

    Bikini Bar

    Young unemployed hipster, you who've been pink-slipped from that career that promised to shoot you forever upward, there's no need to drink alone. Come to the place that promises skin and sin and delusion with the glow of its pink neon and cheerful surfer murals. The Bikini Bar beckons you into its mirthful malaise, but be aware that anything can… More >>
  • BEST BIKER BAR

    La Carreta Restaurant

    Residents of the nearby neighborhoods hear the unmistakable sound every Thursday night. The vroom, vroom, vroom of motorcycles -- from lightning-fast Japanese models to lumbering Harley-Davidsons -- roaring their way down Bird Road toward, of all places, La Carreta Restaurant. It's there, in the parking lot, that bikers of all ages congregate from 9:00 p.m. until sometimes 3:00 or 4:00… More >>
  • BEST BACKUP BAR

    Tobacco Road

    It's Tuesday. Concert canceled. Need to hear some music. Need a beer. Need to park. Need to park for free. Need to dive into some fries. Need not to be alone. Tobacco Road. It doesn't matter if it's Wednesday or Friday either. There isn't another place in town you can be guaranteed all the above every night -- when that… More >>
  • BEST BLOODY MARY

    Shucker's Bar & Grill

    Let's say you've been chasing some official or politician all day and you find yourself dazed on the 79th Street Causeway, and the sun is setting, the sweat is staining your car seat gray, and you just cock your wheel onto the parking lot and crunch onto the gravel. A long, cool vista past the Best Western to a kind… More >>
  • BEST OPEN-MIKE NIGHT

    Spoken Word with No Apology

    On Saturday nights the microphone stands open until the last poet drops. And what the street wordsmiths throw down is nothing short of a verbal pipe bomb -- homemade and packed with angst, sexual longing, and political rage. Billed as a night of poetry for the strong and conscious soul, this poetry jam often goes until 5:00 a.m., the evening… More >>
  • BEST BAR TO HAVE A DRINK ALONE

    Piccadilly Garden Restaurant and Lounge

    Mary Klein, wife of Mac Klein, owner of the famed Mac's Club Deuce in South Beach, creates a social atmosphere like an English pub (Piccadilly's dark-wood, ornate interior even looks like a pub). That means you're quickly taken into the group: beauteous, hip Debra Douglas, the legendary former 1800 Club bartender; Karen Oltan, whose wicked humor and leather pants break… More >>
  • BEST ROCK CLUB

    Churchill's

    Churchill's has been our winner over and over and over again, and we don't care if the sound system sucks or people get jacked in the parking lot or that the worst imaginable musicians play here as often as they want to. Some of the very best musicians play here too, from psychobilly fiends Southern Culture on the Skids to… More >>
  • BEST JAZZ NIGHT

    Three Fingers Lounge

    Friday Nights

    If it's Friday, it's Cotton Club night at this dive. The joint starts jumping around midnight. A little while later, depending on the number of shouts and stomps, the cozy club is leaping and rolling with the sounds of some of Miami's most accomplished jazz players. Jesse Jones, Jr. -- Liberty City's maestro of bop -- and his combo are… More >>
  • BEST FOLK VENUE

    Main Street Café

    Far removed from the rest of the nation, South Florida has always had difficulty attracting major musical acts in every genre, but these days the folks who play folk seem to flock here. At Homestead's Main Street Café, each Thursday is folk night. For the past year the eatery's Up-Close and Personal Concert Series has presented a relaxed evening of… More >>
  • BEST SPORTS BAR

    Tom's NFL Club Sports Bar & Grill

    Tom's is a low-key, friendly place to watch the game. Just about any game is usually playing on one of the bar's several well-placed televisions, although they favor the all-American triumvirate: football, basketball, and baseball. But if you are a golf or soccer nut and a good tipper, the bartender can usually be talked into switching to whatever obscure match… More >>
  • BEST HAITIAN CLUB

    Spirit Lounge

    Although Spirit doesn't host Haitian parties every evening, this little nightclub on the west side of the airport sizzles and sweats most Friday and Saturday nights to the sounds of compas. The club is so well-known among Haitian promoters that it regularly books traveling acts like T-Vice, Sweet Micky, and Kreyol Kompas. Sometimes, around 5:00 a.m., as young Miami Haitians… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO HEAR TANGO

    Zuperpollo

    Saturday nights, when his cozy parrillada is just about full, Jorge "Papa Gallo" Sanchez, the Uruguayan owner of Zuperpollo, wedges his burly frame from behind the cash register and onto the restaurant's tiny stage. A big man with a giant personality, Sanchez easily dominates the room when he takes the mike and treats his guests to dramatic interpretations of tangos… More >>
  • BEST LATIN CLUB

    Café Nostalgia

    ¡Coņo! Two weeks before press time the damn club closes. Maybe we should have given it this award last year. Here's what we were going to say about Nostalgia: We've been holding out, waiting for the floor to get a little scruffy, the walls to get smoky, the barkeeps worn down, but Little Havana this will never be. Pepe Horta's… More >>
  • BEST CLUB DJ

    Edgar V.

    For years Edgar V. has played the gracious host and properly set the turntables for many guest DJs claiming to be superstars. He's done it so well, in fact, that certifiable star Paul Van Dyk doesn't want anyone else opening for him. But now Edgar is proving he's ready to deliver the main course. He's patented a wax recipe for… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO PLAY POOL

    Churchill's

    If you're a certain age it does your heart good to snarl, "Nine ball off the five in the side pocket!" and then crack the stick while young loons like the Laundry Room Squelchers or Dolly Rocket are ululating in the background, and the Youth Attitude crowd is teetering around the room in their six-inch, winkle-picker-heeled boots. Even when these… More >>
  • BEST BAR TO MODEL-WATCH

    Pearl Restaurant and Champagne Lounge

    Since the dawn of time, models have been in love with fur-covered chairs. Especially orange-red fur. That's one reason they flock to Pearl, located in deep-south South Beach. Designer Stephane Dupoux, a native of France, must have known about this mysterious phenomenon, for he placed such shaggy furniture around the purple-and-red neon aura of the second-floor bar of what was… More >>
  • BEST JUKEBOX

    Churchill's

    The meager buck you have to kill between bands won't buy a beer. Pinball and Ms. Pac-Man wreak havoc with your sore shoulder. No patience for the pool table; you've already poked one too many a sloshed patron with your cue tonight. What's left? A couple of songs on the jukebox. The Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Al Green, Nirvana, the… More >>
  • BEST ONE-NIGHTER

    Fuácata

    Thursday evenings at Hoy Como Ayer

    It's saying something that the best night out in Miami unfolds far from the clogged swath of Washington Avenue's clubland. Forget about velvet ropes, overpriced drinks, canned beats, and -- most of all -- the kind of preening folks you've been trying to avoid since high school. In fact forget about South Beach altogether. Instead hit the causeways in reverse… More >>
  • BEST MIAMI COCKTAIL

    The Mojito

    Yes, you can walk into a bar in New York or Los Angeles and order a mojito. The bartender will probably know what you're asking for and might even try to make you one. But only Miami can truly claim the mojito as its own. For local Cubans the drink (whose exact origins are difficult to pinpoint but nonetheless are… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SIP A SUFFERING BASTARD WHILE RESEARCHING THE HOFFA DISAPPEARANCE

    Lagoon Restaurant and Lounge

    This venerable establishment, located on the east bank of the Intracoastal under the bridge that carries NE 163rd Street over the water, might appear at first glance to be more Jersey Turnpike than old Miami. But don't be fooled. The Lagoon, a combination marina/restaurant, has been open for business since the Thirties, when goodfellas like Al Capone used to drop… More >>
  • BEST VIP ROOM

    Rumi

    Granted, you might not want to be sitting in one of the two VIP lounges upstairs at Rumi until the restaurant does its reverse-Cinderella act. At 11:30 p.m. or thereabouts the Murphy bed that plops down in the downstairs dining room signifies the transition from restaurant to club. At that point, if you want a table, a champagne purchase is… More >>
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