BEST LATIN CLUB La Covacha 10730 NW 25th Street

Doral

305-594-3717

www.lacovacha.com Miami's best Latin club also has a very colorful history. What used to be a rural roadhouse where Cuban families would tie up their horses burned to the ground in the Nineties. Lucky for us, proprietor Aurelio Rodriguez lifted it from the ashes, gave it a face-lift (preserving the rustic thatched roof), and turned it into a nonstop Latin music party for residents of the western part of the county and those willing to make the trip. Whether a DJ spins or a live band plays, the dance floor is usually packed with gyrating bodies until the wee hours. Not all of the best clubs are on the Beach, as La Covacha proves.

Readers´ Choice: Bongo´s Cuban Caf´

La Covacha
BEST LATIN CLUB La Covacha 10730 NW 25th Street

Doral

305-594-3717

www.lacovacha.com Miami's best Latin club also has a very colorful history. What used to be a rural roadhouse where Cuban families would tie up their horses burned to the ground in the Nineties. Lucky for us, proprietor Aurelio Rodriguez lifted it from the ashes, gave it a face-lift (preserving the rustic thatched roof), and turned it into a nonstop Latin music party for residents of the western part of the county and those willing to make the trip. Whether a DJ spins or a live band plays, the dance floor is usually packed with gyrating bodies until the wee hours. Not all of the best clubs are on the Beach, as La Covacha proves.

Readers´ Choice: Bongo´s Cuban Caf´

Face it -- on any night, any nimrod can talk good enough game to get past even the most discriminating doorman. Veteran night owls are sick to death of elbowing Lil Jon off the sidewalk on Washington Avenue and shoving past Katrina Campins to get to the free Grey Goose bar at the National. Celebrity-hosted parties in public are over. What's really cool is to have friends, or at least acquaintances, who will invite you into their homes. There you can listen to whatever music you like, pour your own free drinks, and avoid all those annoying famous people. And going inside satisfies those voyeuristic urges as well, without the Plexiglas barrier. "The Miami of the moment is all about price per square foot," says designer and consultant Russell Hassell, who maintains residences in Manhattan as well as Miami Beach. "People want to see what Enrique bought for one million three years ago and sold for seven million today as validation for their own purchase of the half-million-dollar, loftlike, 655-square-foot condo with soaring eight-foot ceilings and glamorous sunset views of the MacArthur Causeway." Besides, Hassell adds, "House parties appeal to the suburban adolescent in all of us. The sight of all those cars on rich people's lawns is very Fast Times at Ridgemont High, only with valet parking."

Face it -- on any night, any nimrod can talk good enough game to get past even the most discriminating doorman. Veteran night owls are sick to death of elbowing Lil Jon off the sidewalk on Washington Avenue and shoving past Katrina Campins to get to the free Grey Goose bar at the National. Celebrity-hosted parties in public are over. What's really cool is to have friends, or at least acquaintances, who will invite you into their homes. There you can listen to whatever music you like, pour your own free drinks, and avoid all those annoying famous people. And going inside satisfies those voyeuristic urges as well, without the Plexiglas barrier. "The Miami of the moment is all about price per square foot," says designer and consultant Russell Hassell, who maintains residences in Manhattan as well as Miami Beach. "People want to see what Enrique bought for one million three years ago and sold for seven million today as validation for their own purchase of the half-million-dollar, loftlike, 655-square-foot condo with soaring eight-foot ceilings and glamorous sunset views of the MacArthur Causeway." Besides, Hassell adds, "House parties appeal to the suburban adolescent in all of us. The sight of all those cars on rich people's lawns is very Fast Times at Ridgemont High, only with valet parking."

BEST ONE-NIGHTER Bliss at Jade 1766 Bay Road

Miami Beach

305-244-5787

www.theblissclub.com The Madonna/whore complex dictates that individuals who succumb to it expect their distaff mates to exhibit demure qualities in public but devilish attributes in the bedroom. Each month the Bliss Club throws an erotic theme party at Jade that serves as the perfect fit for that dichotomy. In a socially acceptable atmosphere, upscale, professional women let loose their purity like it was prom night and, surprisingly, the men behave. Think of it as Swinging 101 for the curious, without the guilty conscience from bangin' a stranger. Carnal pleasures abound, but it's the voyeur who will be most satisfied. Though the themes are always changing, one of the more sultry ones this year was White Bliss, where the main garb was itty-bitty white string. One femme simply dabbed white correction fluid over her nipples; another went for the Full Monty and wore nothing but body paint. The emphasis is on the ladies, but the guys get in on the fun too, sometimes coming as colorful pimps or, as happened at Jungle Bliss, busting out exotic snakes.

BEST ONE-NIGHTER Bliss at Jade 1766 Bay Road

Miami Beach

305-244-5787

www.theblissclub.com The Madonna/whore complex dictates that individuals who succumb to it expect their distaff mates to exhibit demure qualities in public but devilish attributes in the bedroom. Each month the Bliss Club throws an erotic theme party at Jade that serves as the perfect fit for that dichotomy. In a socially acceptable atmosphere, upscale, professional women let loose their purity like it was prom night and, surprisingly, the men behave. Think of it as Swinging 101 for the curious, without the guilty conscience from bangin' a stranger. Carnal pleasures abound, but it's the voyeur who will be most satisfied. Though the themes are always changing, one of the more sultry ones this year was White Bliss, where the main garb was itty-bitty white string. One femme simply dabbed white correction fluid over her nipples; another went for the Full Monty and wore nothing but body paint. The emphasis is on the ladies, but the guys get in on the fun too, sometimes coming as colorful pimps or, as happened at Jungle Bliss, busting out exotic snakes.

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR/WEST Sports Grill 10005 Sunset Drive

Kendall

305-598-2227 The surest testament to a good neighborhood bar is whether locals actually frequent the place. For 17 years Sports Grill has been hosting families for lunch and dinner and bar patrons well into the night. The atmosphere is comfortable, featuring video games, picnic tables with wood benches, and plenty of cheap sports gimcrackery on the walls. The food is awesome, especially the bar-food triumvirate: burgers, wings, fries. The fries are homemade and tasty, and the burgers are high-quality, but the wings -- Sports Grill is known for excellent wings without breading or excess grease. They are simple and delicious: chicken grilled (not fried) and served completely unadorned, with sauce on the side. Wing prices are also good: 16 pieces for $10; 25 pieces for $12.50. There is only one drawback: Sports Grill is so popular with families that the place is swarming with kids during the dinner hour. Then again, knee-huggers are an essential element of a neighborhood.

Readers´ Choice: Stampede Bar

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR/WEST Sports Grill 10005 Sunset Drive

Kendall

305-598-2227 The surest testament to a good neighborhood bar is whether locals actually frequent the place. For 17 years Sports Grill has been hosting families for lunch and dinner and bar patrons well into the night. The atmosphere is comfortable, featuring video games, picnic tables with wood benches, and plenty of cheap sports gimcrackery on the walls. The food is awesome, especially the bar-food triumvirate: burgers, wings, fries. The fries are homemade and tasty, and the burgers are high-quality, but the wings -- Sports Grill is known for excellent wings without breading or excess grease. They are simple and delicious: chicken grilled (not fried) and served completely unadorned, with sauce on the side. Wing prices are also good: 16 pieces for $10; 25 pieces for $12.50. There is only one drawback: Sports Grill is so popular with families that the place is swarming with kids during the dinner hour. Then again, knee-huggers are an essential element of a neighborhood.

Readers´ Choice: Stampede Bar

Terri Weisberg is a tall woman, cresting six feet, with forearms to rival Rosie the Riveter. But it is Terri's calm demeanor, facility with mixology, and all-around 'tude that bring tranquility to the Flanigan's in Coconut Grove. Like the legend of the wind and the sun, Terri coaxes, never threatens, and so, for a sports bar where the shots are poured generously and passions for football, baseball, and sometimes the UPN comedy series Girlfriends run high, patrons are enthusiastic but rarely rowdy. Terri keeps the kind of bar where a girl can, in total seriousness, pull up solo to the counter to read Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, drink a syrupy sweet cup of turquoise Hypnotiq, and expect not only not to be bugged by the dudes on the premises but lauded for her ability to eat French fries, watch the Notre Dame game, read, and converse at the same time. That's just the kind of influence Terri has on the male species. But Terri wouldn't be the best bartender in a town awash in every type of beer, wine, and spirits ever envisioned by Bacchus himself unless she really knew how to mix it up. Go ahead, bring in your bartender's recipe book and see if you can stump Terri by calling for a purple eyeball on the beach or a soaking wet melon. Just be aware that when you receive a glass full of Jägermeister, peach schnapps, and Old Bushmills, you're going to pay for it. Until recently Terri had a head of commandingly long coal-black hair stretching unfettered past her waist. One day Terri showed up for work, a charming bob tucked beneath her Flanigan's visor. She had had her lovely mane lopped off, all nineteen inches of it, and donated the hair to make wigs for children undergoing chemotherapy. You really need to drink to that.

Terri Weisberg is a tall woman, cresting six feet, with forearms to rival Rosie the Riveter. But it is Terri's calm demeanor, facility with mixology, and all-around 'tude that bring tranquility to the Flanigan's in Coconut Grove. Like the legend of the wind and the sun, Terri coaxes, never threatens, and so, for a sports bar where the shots are poured generously and passions for football, baseball, and sometimes the UPN comedy series Girlfriends run high, patrons are enthusiastic but rarely rowdy. Terri keeps the kind of bar where a girl can, in total seriousness, pull up solo to the counter to read Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, drink a syrupy sweet cup of turquoise Hypnotiq, and expect not only not to be bugged by the dudes on the premises but lauded for her ability to eat French fries, watch the Notre Dame game, read, and converse at the same time. That's just the kind of influence Terri has on the male species. But Terri wouldn't be the best bartender in a town awash in every type of beer, wine, and spirits ever envisioned by Bacchus himself unless she really knew how to mix it up. Go ahead, bring in your bartender's recipe book and see if you can stump Terri by calling for a purple eyeball on the beach or a soaking wet melon. Just be aware that when you receive a glass full of Jägermeister, peach schnapps, and Old Bushmills, you're going to pay for it. Until recently Terri had a head of commandingly long coal-black hair stretching unfettered past her waist. One day Terri showed up for work, a charming bob tucked beneath her Flanigan's visor. She had had her lovely mane lopped off, all nineteen inches of it, and donated the hair to make wigs for children undergoing chemotherapy. You really need to drink to that.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®