Miami's Ten Best Neighborhood Bars: After-Work Happy Hours, Drink While You Work
Time to bust out another ol' list of best drinking spots in Miami. Every bar is good in our inebriated view, but some have better décor, drink variety, menus, bartenders, location, etc. All of these spots are popular places to meet up with colleagues to really get shit done, chat about overthrowing your boss, and pound some happy-hour booze.
What a makes a good neighborhood watering hole? It has to be gritty, of questionable character, and not a place that many people know about, says Jorge Blanco, 26, a local who avoids chain restaurants and bars as often as possible.
"It's not a neighborhood bar until a random person starts talking to you," Blanco says. "Support your local small-business owner, man -- that's what America is all about."
10. Corbett's Sports Bar & Grill
You want a locals' bar? You got it. Screw the Yelp ratings -- you best come here rough and ready to brawl, down a few dozen shots of Jameson's, or at least have your washing machine ready at home to immediately scrub the cigarette-smoke-infused jacket you came in wearing. Tucked away in a Pinecrest strip mall on South Dixie Highway, Corbett's has been around for a long time, probably because of the reputation for a friendly staff and down-to-earth atmosphere. They have a full bar with bar food such as burgers and fries, onion rings, jalapeño poppers, and wings. The bar itself sits kinda in the middle of the joint, with darts, pool, foosball, and TV sets here and there blasting sports games, during which you can get $7 beer pitchers.
9. Abraxas Lounge
Miami Beach tries to outdo itself in so many ways to get you to walk into one of its clubs, and usually there is some sort of dress code/cover/know-the-doorman required for admittance. Not this place. It's located south of Fifth Street on Meridian, far removed from all the tourist traps. A chic, cozy, and dimly lit place is interspersed with TV sets and seating available with loveseats and small tables. Friendly bartenders, a good selection of 50-plus wines and champagnes, assorted sakes, and microbrews for beer snobs make this place full of win. Happy hour from 5 to 9 p.m. with $4 house wines and beers, and a weekly schedule of events that includes a Tuesday pub quizzer and Wednesday ladies' night.
8. Churchill's Pub
Ah, Churchill's, how we love it, not because it's a British pub that's also a rock club, but it's a fine local establishment that's been rolling for a long time, hasn't changed, and doesn't plan on it. Try coming here during the day when the weirdos are hiding and partake of some delicious English grub such as shepherd's pie or vegan-friendly vegetable curry.
7. Stache Bar
A total locals' joint with a friendly staff, Stache Bar is a fairly new place on Normandy Isle that has half-price well drinks and bottled domestic beer for a 5-to-9 p.m. happy hour (four hours ain't bad). It's a gay-friendly place too, but all are welcome. They have a comfy little patio out back if you need to catch some fresh air.
6. The Corner
Another downtown locals' bar with a following is the Corner. A speakeasy-like place, the Corner is unique because the bar is constructed with 150-year-old imported wood. Characterized by a cozy feel and a warm glow, the Corner has specialty cocktails and more than 50 beers, as well as a fine menu with an emphasis on sandwiches. They're open late on weekdays till 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. on weekends.
5. Elwood's Gastro Pub
Elwood's enjoys a local following despite its central downtown location. An English pub, it's family-owned and you'll frequently catch the proprietor, Louis, hanging out to make sure you're having a good time. It's a gastropub too, which means there's fancy bar food. The main courses are more English-like than anything else, such as fish 'n' chips and bangers 'n' mash. On Sunday at 5 p.m., you can catch some traditional English roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and gravy. They also have a fine selection of English beers on tap.
4. Cutler Bay Sports Bar & Grill
This place isn't near any section of town that's normally inundated with tourists and college students, or found along or near a major highway. When you travel south on Old Cutler Road through Cutler Bay at night, this place is hard to ignore because of all the cars and motorcycles parked in front. Why is this place so special? There are a few things to consider: good pub grub, happy-hour specials, and Texas hold-'em poker tournaments five nights a week.
3. Filling Station & Garage Bar
The Filling Station & Garage Bar is just a bit north of the Miami River on SE Second Street. This place is probably best known for the frequent Dogfish and Stone Brewing Company tap takeovers and the incredible burger creations. What else do you need to know about this place? How about the incredibly chill bartenders and waitstaff.
2. Tobacco Road
If you live in Brickell, frequenting Tobacco Road is mandatory. Hell, if you call Miami home, going here at least once is mandatory. Closing in on its 100th birthday, Tobacco Road is Miami's oldest bar. It's also one of the best music venues in the city. There is always something food- and music-related going on here thanks to DJ Oski. There are too many things to list about this bar, so if you want to know what it's all about, go check it out.
1. Bougainvillea's Old Florida Tavern
You might miss this place -- hidden in the shadow of the Shops at Sunset Place in South Miami -- if you walk too fast. Dimly-lit on the inside like a proper locals' bar, it can get tight on the inside when it's packed, but there's a larger patio. Surrounded by foliage, it has a jungle look going on. Every holiday is celebrated as if it were New Year's Eve. Even getting off work for happy hour is a cause to party at this place -- standard criteria for a neighborhood bar. It's a meeting place for all occupations -- from barista to barrister. It's also a venue for all types of music, including reggae nights on Thursdays. There are even hookahs for smoking at the patio bar.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Miami dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.