Miami's Top Ten Hipster Bars
Have you accepted that you're a hipster?
Probably not. It's in your nature to deny it. Most nights, though, you're inadvertently (or deliberately?) setting trends at a handful of offbeat, edgy boozing joints around town.
So, sorry to blow up your spot. But here are the top ten hipster bars in Miami.
10. Wood Tavern. 2531 NW Second Ave., Miami. Wynwood's Wood Tavern bills itself as "a bar's bar." Stroll in on any given night, and the dim main room and adjoining string-lighted beer garden evoke its other motto, "laid-back 'n' local." In 2012, Forbes named Wynwood one of America's 20 Best Hipster Neighborhoods. Yes, the arts district lures fixed-gear riding, American Spirit-puffing rascals who happen to frequent this watering hole. But it is Wood's mellow vibe that cuts through the pretentious bullshit. There's Taco Tuesday, offering delicious $2 Mexican street food out of a converted station wagon. Then there's Sunday's Backyard Boogie, an easygoing outdoor party with plenty of music, friends, and drinks. Affordable craft beer, mountains of booze bottles, and a Baby Birdman meet-and-greet? That's pretty chill.
9. Bardot. 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The now-defunct Studio A was a hipster haven abutting the elephantine Space on NE 11th Street in downtown. It was Miami's quintessential dance club/music venue, catering to the folks who fancied a Cat Power show Thursday and craved an Avenue D boogie-down Friday. When the spot closed in 2008, the Miami scene was in limbo. The midsize Grand Central's similar indie likability saved our asses, but in midtown, another music house is brewing. Namely, Bardot, whose inconspicuous alley entrance, floor-level Carpet Stage, and no-photography rule set a semisecret insider vibe. Of course, the lounge still provides bottle service and boasts a VIP area, and those elements are a tad affluent hipster, but the tunes are what we're here for. After all, underground indie, hip-hop, and electronic musicians such as Peter Bjorn and John, XXYYXX, and Felix da Housecat have all hit the rug.
8. The Vagabond. 30 NE 14th St., Miami. This is where hipsters go when they want to shake that ass — or spit some spoken word. The NE 14th Street nightclub and music venue hosts its fair share of indie DJs (including a brimming 2013 Winter Music Conference lineup that included Poolside and Julius the Mad Thinker), but the Vagabond is also synonymous with Stone Groove, the Tuesday open-mike night hyped as "tailor-made for jazz enthusiasts and poetic aficionados." Hosted by the delectably dapper Marcus Blake (who recently won New Times' Best Fashionista), the evening attracts bohemians who want to hear the sweet words of their peers while sipping $1 Grolsch bottles (from 10 to 11 p.m.) and $5 Jameson whiskey all night long. So you know, after some liquid courage, the highfalutin dude with the handlebar mustache in the corner will rhapsodically recite some Lauryn Hill.
7. The Corner. 1035 N. Miami Ave., Miami. It's a fundamental hipster trait to make grubby look glam. And planting a cozy speakeasy-like tap amid downtown Miami warehouses just oozes clandestine appeal. The Corner is its hood's only sign of gentrification, but the liquor loft is not necessarily kicking anyone out — especially if moonshine, white whiskey, and absinthe are your thing. The dimly lit saloon's eclectic wine list ($8 to $12 a glass) and impressive craft beer menu ($3, $5, and $7 a pop) are handwritten on a chalkboard. It's cosmopolitan yet unassuming enough to draw a scruffy-men-in-vests crowd. Take the edge off your New York sour with a toothsome croque madame, like the traditional monsieur but with a fried egg on top. We promise, one night at the Corner is light years away from the douchey debauchery around the corner in Park West.
6. Gramps. 176 NW 24th St., Miami. Happy hour is a universally celebrated excuse to drink away your woes. And Gramps has two. The latest edition, Girls of Gramps, features femme DJs, free chicken wings, and champagne. The homey Wynwood bar has a strong connection to the local arts community and hosts an array of indie, punk, and electro bands. Owner Adam Gersten and resident DJ Benton also whip up killer vinyl sets on the back patio. Above all, though, Gramps isn't snooty; bartenders will gladly serve you a Modelo or craft you a swanky cocktail, like the Penicillin, a Scotch-based commixture of lemon, ginger, and honey. The hangout attracts a younger, cool-kid crowd, but no one is excluded. Yup, moms and dads are welcome. We know, Gramps' photo booth and Miami-themed collage tabletops (with Cocaine Cowboys-era snapshots) are trendy, but this spot still bucks the dirty-hipster-bar stereotype. Oh, and they don't serve PBR. And never will. Now that's hipster.
5. Kill Your Idol. 222 Española Way, Miami Beach. This place's hipsterness begins with its moniker. A Yelp reviewer, Paul M., from Arlington, Virginia, wrote of the bar: "I like to think this bar is named after the Sonic Youth song 'Kill Yr. Idols,' but I wonder if the real origin is much more obscure and I'm not cool enough to know it." Another Yelper claimed the bathroom reeked of pot and there was an unflushed cigarette in the toilet bowl. Of course, Kill Your Idol is also an oddball refuge from the fist-pumping of Washington Avenue. The carefully placed astronaut figurine, pinball machine, Jaws head, and jukebox are the kind of ironic props that scream kooky South Beach. Like the bar's bio says, KYI is what happened when "pop culture and the milky Moloko bar from Clockwork Orange got together one night, got drunk on vodka, and fornicated on a pristine marble slab to create a 'love child.'"
4. Blackbird Ordinary. 729 SW First Ave., Miami. This Brickell boozing establishment is a novelty among the area's dive bars and hoity-toity cocktail lounges. But remember, it's Brickell, so don't expect cheap sauce. Still, that $12 Blue Long Island is liquid candy. And the seamless blend of eclectic dance music (the DJs play a steady mix of hip-hop, '80s, classic rock, and indie gems), Connect Four/Jenga hub, and schmooze deck forge a very faddish allure. Oh, and about that "edible wall": The verdant slab isn't just a garnish; it's pure farm-to-cocktail goodness. Plus, Blackbird makes its own simple syrups from homegrown mint leaves and basil. Now that's progressive.
3. The Electric Pickle. 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Don't mess with the Pickle. Along with several other Wynwood bars this year, the Electric Pickle was subjected to a vexing police crackdown, causing the neighborhood music emporium to close temporarily. And in previous years, the venue endured brief closures due to "fire code violations." But "we can't be stopped... we won't be stopped," the staff said in an open letter to the Pickle people. The self-proclaimed "liquor-fueled love machine" continues to bestow the Miami electronic dance music scene with underground techno and house in a 3,500-square-foot, multi-area sanctum. And though signature cocktails cost $13, the Moore County Muddle and the Storm Chaser pack a punch. Oh, don't worry, cheapo — there are bargain brews too. Nothing fazes the Pickle, and that's what makes this place rad.
2. The Garret. 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Yes, it's the hideaway above the pulsing party at Grand Central. But something grimier is unfolding upstairs. The house-, trap-, and moobah-ridden Slow Roast Thursdays (the second Thursday of every month) and the eclectic Latin funk of Sabrosura (the third Thursday of every month) warm up the Garret for your girl's favorite party: the lionized Peach Fuzz, a Friday hoopla for the trillest hip-hop and club heads. Ladies sip complimentary vodka cocktails (from 11 p.m. to midnight) as resident DJ DZA spins everything from Uncle Luke to Ricky Rozay. The venue also hosts eclectic monthly acts — synthpop cutie Charli XCX and soul-jazz virtuoso Kevin Sandbloom recently graced its intimate stage — and has ignited His & Hers Saturdays, an indie-dance classics shindig. Hipsters like every kind of cool, and this spot has it all.
1. The Broken Shaker. 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach. If elixirs and bitters are part of your boozing lexicon, you are what we call a refined hipster. And you belong at the Broken Shaker. Classic Prohibition-era cocktails are aplenty at this vintage-chic canteen in the Freehand Miami hostel (a retro revival of the historic Indian Creek Hotel), but the drinks are served with a nonpareil twist. The bar's eager mixologists concoct rare libations made with herbs from their own garden. A Mexican chocolate old-fashioned (Old Forester bourbon infused with bitter chocolate, ancho chili syrup, and bitters) and the Fruta de Agave (Florida grapefruit, Cocchi Americano, local honey, and El Jimador tequila) are just a sneak peek of the extensive, ever-evolving drink menu. Share a custom punch bowl with friends on the patio by the sparkling pool. Or channel your Mad Men alter ego with a smoke and a pisco sour on a groovy floral chaise longue. The drink prices are steep. But hey, you're a hipster in Miami. The world is at your feet.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.