The Eight Best Miami Bars Where You Can Still Smoke

Thanks to a bizarre legal loophole, many Miami bars allow smoking.
Thanks to a bizarre legal loophole, many Miami bars allow smoking.
Photo by George Martinez

Smoking inside is a throwback to a simpler time, reminiscent of the 1950s, when powerful business executives puffed on cigarettes during meetings and housewives could smoke as they prepared dinner. But those white picket fences couldn’t stave off the dangerous truth about cigarettes for long.

Eventually, officials learned that 480,000 people die from tobacco use every year. Now, smack dab on every carton is a big, fat surgeon general warning that smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and pregnancy complications like fetal injury and premature birthweight. In 2003, Florida banned smoking inside and in public spaces. But one exemption still baffles people from other parts of the country: The ban doesn't apply to bars that do not make more than 10 percent of their revenue from food sales.

Look, whether inside or outside a bar, it certainly isn’t a good idea to smoke. Ever. Very smart scientists have determined that it will guide you to an early grave.

But — if you still long for that cancer stick, especially as your blood alcohol content starts to rise, here is a list of the eight best Miami bars that still allow such behavior.

Libertine is an upscale joint that still lets you light up.
Libertine is an upscale joint that still lets you light up.
Photo by Ben Thacker

1. Libertine, 34 NE 11th St., Miami.

Located in the 24-hour district of downtown Miami, across from the bright lights of E11ven, Libertine is a much more low-key affair than its neighbor, Space. Sure, the chandeliers are a bit gaudy and the wallpaper of bookshelves can feel a tad pretentious, but it’s the city’s equivalent of a modern-day speakeasy. And, like all good speakeasies, puffs of cigarette smoke are scattered about. If you ever wanted to smoke a long, elegant cigarette a la Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, this would be the place to do it.

2. Happy’s Stork Lounge, 1872 79th St. Causeway, North Bay Village.

Perched on an unassuming shopping plaza on the way to North Beach, the Happy Stork is a dive bar only a true local would know about. The bar's been sitting at the same location for over 50 years, and the blinds at this dimly lit watering hole probably haven’t been opened since the Vietnam War. Like a true time capsule, the hazards of smoking in an enclosed space don’t concern the sunburned regulars who curl around the bar — at least as long as three domestic beers or three well drinks still cost $6 during the 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. happy hour.

3. Billy's Pub Too, 732 NE 125th St., North Miami.

This divey North Miami Beach spot boasts some of the best wings in Miami. Though cigarette smoke doesn’t particularly pair with tangy buffalo sauce, Billy's Pub Too does also host legendary Wednesday poker nights that do — just make sure not to ash on the pool table.

4. Round Table, 11205 NW Seventh Ave., Miami.

To the first-timers, this North Miami bar might seem a little scary and unwelcoming initially. First of all, patrons must be buzzed in to enter through the heavy door, and windows are covered to keep curious passersby from peeking inside — which, depending on the type of bar you love, is either a very good or very bad sign. But inside, Round Table is its own quarantined oasis of tobacco smoke and cheap liquor. As long as the bartender keeps whipping up the mysteriously nuclear-blue Long Islands, patrons wouldn’t have it any other way.

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