It's been around for only a few years, but the Magnum Lounge has a lived-in feel. It's dark and homey, and it comfortably pulls off a combination of gay-bar and restaurant atmospherics. If any one element does this trick, it's definitely the piano, which sits between the two halves of the lounge. This is a place where you're likely to see an Elvis Costello look-alike sipping his red wine and mooning over the bartender, despite the adorable object's questionable taste in tattoos. Across the bar a pretty woman picks idly through a dish of mixed nuts as a man, much too old for her, whispers eagerly into her ear. As the ice melts in your third drink, you will perhaps reflect on your own poor taste in men, which runs to early Brando -- gorgeous, tortured, distant. Never mind. Listen as piano man Walter Lena delivers a campy rendition of "New York, New York," drawing a smattering of applause. "Thank you, music lovers," he replies cattily. "Screw the rest." Good advice, dear friend, in so many situations. Each night offers a different player and sometimes an additional singer, but generally, if the spirit moves you to torment fellow patrons with a Broadway number, no one will stop you. Thursdays in particular are popular evenings for aspiring crooners and drunken sing-alongs.

Magnum Lounge
It's been around for only a few years, but the Magnum Lounge has a lived-in feel. It's dark and homey, and it comfortably pulls off a combination of gay-bar and restaurant atmospherics. If any one element does this trick, it's definitely the piano, which sits between the two halves of the lounge. This is a place where you're likely to see an Elvis Costello look-alike sipping his red wine and mooning over the bartender, despite the adorable object's questionable taste in tattoos. Across the bar a pretty woman picks idly through a dish of mixed nuts as a man, much too old for her, whispers eagerly into her ear. As the ice melts in your third drink, you will perhaps reflect on your own poor taste in men, which runs to early Brando -- gorgeous, tortured, distant. Never mind. Listen as piano man Walter Lena delivers a campy rendition of "New York, New York," drawing a smattering of applause. "Thank you, music lovers," he replies cattily. "Screw the rest." Good advice, dear friend, in so many situations. Each night offers a different player and sometimes an additional singer, but generally, if the spirit moves you to torment fellow patrons with a Broadway number, no one will stop you. Thursdays in particular are popular evenings for aspiring crooners and drunken sing-alongs.

You're the kind of person who owns a boat instead of a turntable. Your favorite pastimes are fishing and baseball, not wine tasting and yoga. You prefer cooked meat to raw fish. You think house is something to live in, not something to dance to. In other words, you'd rather drink a six-pack at home in your underwear than subject yourself to the "fashionable" bars and clubs in this town. Well throw on some jeans, buddy, because Shuckers has an empty barstool with your name on it. This may be the last place in the north county where you can park your truck öround the back for free, sit outside on the water, enjoy a cold beer with a burger and fries, and listen to some good old-fashioned rock and roll. No covers. No DJs. No club kids. No velvet ropes. Just your new favorite neighborhood bar.

Shuckers Waterfront Bar & Grill
Photo courtesy of Shuckers Bar & Grill
You're the kind of person who owns a boat instead of a turntable. Your favorite pastimes are fishing and baseball, not wine tasting and yoga. You prefer cooked meat to raw fish. You think house is something to live in, not something to dance to. In other words, you'd rather drink a six-pack at home in your underwear than subject yourself to the "fashionable" bars and clubs in this town. Well throw on some jeans, buddy, because Shuckers has an empty barstool with your name on it. This may be the last place in the north county where you can park your truck öround the back for free, sit outside on the water, enjoy a cold beer with a burger and fries, and listen to some good old-fashioned rock and roll. No covers. No DJs. No club kids. No velvet ropes. Just your new favorite neighborhood bar.

Before all the hoopla over slot machines, one place was making winners out of the locals by washing down their gambling needs with their choice of alcohol. Every Sunday and Tuesday from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. patrons can order anything they desire and then leave the bill to the whim of the fates. Just walk right up to the bar and order an expensive shot or whatever you prefer. The bartender will pull out a coin and flip it. Call it in the air. If you guess right, the drink is free. Aside from the fact that it's possible to go the entire night without dropping a dime, this idea keeps the folks coming back for their chance at that big score. The big winners are always easy to spot. They tend to be blasted beyond coherence.

Before all the hoopla over slot machines, one place was making winners out of the locals by washing down their gambling needs with their choice of alcohol. Every Sunday and Tuesday from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. patrons can order anything they desire and then leave the bill to the whim of the fates. Just walk right up to the bar and order an expensive shot or whatever you prefer. The bartender will pull out a coin and flip it. Call it in the air. If you guess right, the drink is free. Aside from the fact that it's possible to go the entire night without dropping a dime, this idea keeps the folks coming back for their chance at that big score. The big winners are always easy to spot. They tend to be blasted beyond coherence.

BEST PLACE TO PLAY DARTS Abbey Brewing Company 1115 Sixteenth Street

Miami Beach

305-538-8110 A crowded, dim beer bar may seem like an odd choice, but we're assuming you're not looking to play championship darts. Few beach bars are more collegial than the Abbey, which is unpretentious and friendly without attracting hordes of frat boys and hoes, and playing darts is all about such communal spirit. Two pluses: The dart board's location makes players unofficial doormen, so you might make a few friends, and the beer-and-wine-only alcohol selection ensures a significant time lag between arrival and alcohol-induced darts-related injuries.

BEST PLACE TO PLAY DARTS Abbey Brewing Company 1115 Sixteenth Street

Miami Beach

305-538-8110 A crowded, dim beer bar may seem like an odd choice, but we're assuming you're not looking to play championship darts. Few beach bars are more collegial than the Abbey, which is unpretentious and friendly without attracting hordes of frat boys and hoes, and playing darts is all about such communal spirit. Two pluses: The dart board's location makes players unofficial doormen, so you might make a few friends, and the beer-and-wine-only alcohol selection ensures a significant time lag between arrival and alcohol-induced darts-related injuries.

BEST CLUB MIX El Clique 1252 Coral Way

Miami

305-860-5360 A little gem tucked in where Coral Way forms a triangle with SW Third and Twelfth avenues, this place used to be a gay bar called the Eagle. But now it's a magnet for young, hip, Spanglish Miami. The crowd is a smooth blend of artists, musicians, and the cool kids who navigate the scenes at venues as varied as I/O, the District, Transit Lounge, and Hoy Como Ayer. However, the particular mix on a given night depends largely on the entertainment, which can range from trance to tango to an anything-goes open-mike night. Sometimes the crowd is older and more old-school Latino. The bartenders are friendly; the tapas are another magnet. When the place gets full, the parking lot becomes an overflow dining room.

El Clique
BEST CLUB MIX El Clique 1252 Coral Way

Miami

305-860-5360 A little gem tucked in where Coral Way forms a triangle with SW Third and Twelfth avenues, this place used to be a gay bar called the Eagle. But now it's a magnet for young, hip, Spanglish Miami. The crowd is a smooth blend of artists, musicians, and the cool kids who navigate the scenes at venues as varied as I/O, the District, Transit Lounge, and Hoy Como Ayer. However, the particular mix on a given night depends largely on the entertainment, which can range from trance to tango to an anything-goes open-mike night. Sometimes the crowd is older and more old-school Latino. The bartenders are friendly; the tapas are another magnet. When the place gets full, the parking lot becomes an overflow dining room.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®