Best Neighborhood Bar/Central Miami 2006 - The River Oyster Bar
Readers' Choice: Churchill's Pub
You know you have found a true neighborhood spot the second all but one of the people perched on bar stools admit they live less than ten blocks away. Do these River regulars realize how lucky they are? Not just because this cozy gem is located virtually on their doorstep, but because they have the option of walking here -- and navigating the maze of one-way streets in a car is not fun. Nonetheless pull up a seat at the oversize wrap-around mahogany bar, and any incurred driving drama will soon dissipate -- a little faster if you make it in time for happy hour (Monday through Saturday from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m.). That roughly translates to $5 glasses of wine (more than twenty are offered), $5 Fris martinis, and of course an impressive selection of half-price, succulently fresh oysters (beginning at 80 cents each). If you're hungering for something more substantial, the kitchen dishes up a varied selection of reasonably priced plates to satiate even the most refined palate; our faves include steamed Mediterranean mussels in coconut milk ($14), sea scallop tiradito ($9), and whole yellowtail snapper served with pigeon pea rice and coconut spinach ($22). But at the end of the day -- when River really packs 'em in -- this is one of those places where everyone may not necessarily know your name, but tell the friendly bartender/manager/server just once, and he or she will remember. Cheers!