The Sports Haters' Guide to Avoiding the NBA Playoffs in Miami

Miami Heat mania is sweeping South Florida, which means that for the next week, every sports bar, Irish pub, and swank lounge will be full of rabid fans screaming and flailing with every dunk and swish.

That's great if you're a sports fan. But not everyone is enamored with the courtside charms of D-Wade and Lebron. Some people, well, just don't give a shit about the playoffs.

If you count yourself among that off-the-bandwagon minority, don't worry. We've got you covered with a list of places to avoid the traffic, the testosterone, and the trash talking that comes with playoff season. You don't have to stay home during Game Two tonight to avoid the headache. Just read on for plenty of fun ways to avoid the hysteria.

5. Eat Up
Far from the downtown American Airlines Arena traffic apocalypse, Catharsis is an oasis on Calle Ocho. This intensely calm, romantic eatery will make you lose yourself in pasta pillows of pear & gorgonzola. You'll forget playoff season ever happened. So chill out and eat up.

4. Toast to Sportslessness
Dark bars with no TVs are where it's at. Particularly if you're trying to avoid mainstream hysteria. And there are few darker or smaller than Miami Beach's The Room. This itty-bitty beer den serves up an impressive selection of brews. And because they won't be showing the game, you won't have to elbow dozens of rowdy fans out of the way to order one.

3. Get Away
Escaping the confines of the Magic City will surely mitigate the hometown fanaticism. Sure, you'll find Heat fans in Broward too, but like all things in our neighboring northern county, they'll be just a little more tame and boring than what you get in the 305. So cruise up to the Hard Rock tonight and let the classical quartet Il Divo wash those "Let's go Heat" chants out of your ears with their sultry vocals. And during Game Four next Tuesday, you can soak up the sounds of Latin crooner Jose Feliciano. Pretend it's Christmas in July (almost) while singing along to Feliz Navidad.

2. Do It Yourself
Maybe you're a basketball fan, but your team just got knocked out of championship contention (coughBostoncough). Now, all you want to do is blow off some steam -- and avoid Heat fans like the smug, condescending plague. So go get your dunk on. The perfect time for you to practice those jump shots is while everyone else is just playing at spectating. Check out one of Miami's many public basketball courts, all sure to be deserted while the Heat is dominating the small screen.

1. Belt It Out
Spend your Sunday basking in the sweet sounds of Madama Butterfly. This epic operatic masterpiece is a spectrum away from the raucous shouts of Heat fanatics. It may not have the last-minute melodrama of Game 6, but it's got tear-jerking charm nonetheless.

So fear not. There are hidden pockets of Heat-free hustle all around; you just have to know where to look.

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