BEST PLACE TO PLAY LATE-NIGHT POOL 2003 | Diamond Club | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Across the street from the Diamond Club, a seemingly endless line of nightcrawlers wraps around the corner, waiting to get into Level. Cars cruise along Washington Avenue, drivers honk their horns, and passengers try to pick up women traipsing around in tight-fitting clothes that show off lots of cleavage. It's a typical night in South Beach. But inside this pool joint, patrons are focused on only one thing: sinking a shot, preferably the eight ball. Diamond's cool atmosphere, spacious layout, and plentiful tables make for a primo pool-playing place. And the wide, wonderful view of Washington Avenue will tantalize those who must people-watch as they rack 'em up. Plus it is open way late -- till 5:00 a.m. seven days a week.

For all you Who fans still fixated on the Tommy rock opera, Don Carter's offers a chance for the pinball wizard in you to show off. The bowling alley's rotunda game room, located to the right of the main entrance, includes several pinball machines inspired by movies such as Terminator 2 and rock groups like the Who and Kiss. The snack bar also offers draft pale ale to quench any true gamer's thirst. Of course, if you get bored with pinball, you could always pick up a game of bowling at one of the 72 state-of-the-art lanes. The place is also an insomniac's living dream. It's open till 1:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and till 3:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

It's not really the eighteen tables or the competitive pricing ($6 per hour per table from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays, $8.50 weeknights, and $9.50 weekends) that makes Bird Bowl the place to play pool. It's the people-watching. Weekend nights bring a massive throng to the pool hall section of Bird Bowl (also an arcade and popular bowling alley), but weekdays are the best time to check out the regulars. "They're here every day, seven days a week," says Bird Bowl general manager Wayne Graham. "They meet the guy who opens at the door every day at 11:00 a.m. They're neighborhood guys." The gentlemen in question (mostly older, mostly Cuban) are a marvel to watch, effortlessly intuiting the Euclidean geometry (and Newtonian physics) that guides the colored spheres while squinting through a puff of cigar smoke, grinning at opponents after a perfect bank shot drops into the pocket. Two warnings: 1) Despite the many tables, Bird Bowl's pool hall can get crowded on weekend nights; if you need perfect peace and quiet to make a shot, it's not the place for you. 2) The old guys shuffling around the tables may look harmless, but they're not. Play them at your own risk -- you may learn something.

This is the award they don't want to admit they deserve. But no other club in Miami is as synonymous with rolling as this legendary place, formerly known as Club Space (it recently moved down the street to even better digs). The reasons to come candy-flip here are as easy as its vast setting, where trance pounds nonstop from Friday night to Sunday morning. So if you are up on a weekend e-train you can't get off, Space 34 is full of bouncing, buxom, based-up chicks. It is at precisely early in the morning that pill-popping takes you to the cusp of logic and reason, and pushes you off. And when falling down Ecstasy's synthetic whirlpool, it is cooler to be around hundreds of other spun-out twist heads.

If you've never slow danced Jamaican-style, you've never slow danced at all. It isn't so much the speed of the music that makes the dancehall grind so sensual. However fast or slow the riddim, it's the economy of movement that makes dancehall grind. Lock legs with your partner and get so close that a toothpick couldn't pass between you. Start the movement from your pelvis and let it ripple along your belly to the top of your ribs. If your partner does the same, you may have the start of something beautiful. As long as you both keep your clothes on, it's all perfectly legal. Irie.

Located on the top floor of this Art Deco gem (for decades known as the Tiffany before the New York jewelry retailer objected, but only after designer Todd Oldham transformed it into a hot spot), the bar offers a sleek and civilized respite far above the maddening crowds and the cars crawling along Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue. Daylight hours offer an uninterrupted, bird's-eye view of Lummus Park, the sands, and the Atlantic Ocean that will be recognizable as the backdrop for a number of fashion shoots. With the days getting longer, it's highly recommended for a sunset cocktail, whether you're entertaining an important client, gearing up for a big night on the town, or just showing the folks the sights.

Mon, where can I git me some groovy rhythm in da name of Jah? The Madhouse, mon. Strangely enough, in a town with as many Caribbean folks and influences as Miami has, not to mention pirate radio that plays reggae regularly and multiple Caribbean festivals, there isn't a club dedicated to the tropical bass lines and the reefer rhythms of Rastafari melodies. The Madhouse, every Friday night, makes up for an absentee week, pumping up the reggae, dancehall, and calypso tunes. The night is authentically Rasta, blunts are out and burning, dreads brush against your arm as you make your way to the bar, and the dancehall is booming.

Long-time patrons use the phrase "dive bar" with only the utmost of affection when describing Churchill's. Its low-rent environs (please, use the bathroom before you arrive -- trust us), cheap drinks, and anything-goes spirit all personify what rock and roll is supposed to be about. And while the wall outside may read "A Sort of English Pub," and British soccer may indeed be playing on the television set inside, rock and roll is exactly what Churchill's is about. Countless Miami bands have formed and broken up, new musicians have hit town and then left just as promptly, and endless other nightclubs have opened and shuttered their doors. But like a musical cockroach, Churchill's endures, playing host to touring groups from NRBQ to Rilo Kiley, and practically every local who's ever owned a fuzz pedal. For more than twenty years now, owner Dave Daniels has kept his spot relatively unchanged, offering the talented and talentless alike a friendly stage. Long may he -- and Churchill's -- run.

Readers Choice: Churchills Pub

Just because a bar is a "sports bar" doesn't mean it shouldn't adhere to the same aesthetic rules and regulations governing bars everywhere, namely: 1) Said establishment should always be dark, or at least dim, even during the day (no one slinks into a watering hole at noon for a faceful of sunshine). 2) There should be at least one pool table. 3) Waitstaff, particularly waitresses and bartenders, must be capable of Dostoyevskian mood shifts, from frantic happiness and congeniality to drink-spilling surliness (this keeps things interesting; should conversation falter, you can always nudge a friend and ask just what the hell is wrong with Debbie tonight?). 4) The food should be good, reasonably priced, and include at least a couple varieties of burger. Corbett's meets all these criteria, and has built a healthy neighborhood following because of it. The burgers are excellent, food prices are reasonable, if not great ($5 gets you a seven-ounce burger, $7 a twelve-ounce, and $8 buys a fried shrimp platter). The place is always dim, the waitstaff aren't afraid to speak their minds (particularly in the wee hours when the sports fans have been in their cups commiserating the woeful fate of the Dolphins/Heat/Panthers), and patrons can play pinball, pool, or darts to see who buys the next round.

Readers Choice: Flanigans Seafood Bar & Grill

Prive is the club that serves as the VIP spot for the Opium Garden complex. It takes some moxie, if you don't have the VIP flair, to get into this place. But if you can manage to convince the celebrity doormen, Frabitzio and Cubby, that you belong with the big shots, you just might get a pass into clubland's most exclusive joint. The opulence rains down from the ceiling like the silk curtains. And yes, it's just as you imagined and more. Nary an ugly person in sight -- only round, perky boobs; tight asses; and chiseled faces among the assortment of models, celebs, and friends of important friends. Just make sure you have enough plastic; everything in here is as pricey as it looks.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®