Alas, the era of the reggae club is over. Even though Miami certainly has a large enough Caribbean population to support a club entirely devoted to island music, few establishments want to put all of their eggs in that particular basket. For those craving the dancehall vibe, it's all about hot reggae nights at unexpected, and in some cases hard-to-find, locations. Case in point, Big Fish. "We wanted to create something that was as close to being back in the islands as possible. Literally the first flyer we did was a half page, and the whole back of it was directions," laughs Kevin Palmer, the director of events for the crew that puts these randomly scheduled Caribbean fetes, called Blink, together. The idea has grown so large that it has been exported to the land that inspired it. "We've taken it to Jamaica, and it's one of the biggest parties there. A lot of people travel back and forth for the parties," Palmer says. Blink has earned this dedicated following by changing themes for every party. Blink All White called for uniformly pale attire; Blink Pimps & Hoes brought crazy costumes out of the closet; and Blink Colors's attendees were asked to sport the Rasta colors of red, green, and gold. Every second Saturday of each month, Big Phat Fish at Big Fish delivers the latest in reggae and soca. Named after calypso superstar Machel Montano's hit song, this party is like Blink's younger Trinidadian cousin.

Amy Alonso, Yesi Leon, Alison Burgos, and Julie Garrity are four very involved lesbians. Not in the way that every hot-blooded, horny man has wet dreams about, but rather in a collaborative effort to mix sexy fun with legitimate issues concerning their lifestyles. Their parties, which include Cherry Pie, Fever at Soho Lounge, and the annual White Party at Nikki Beach, draw huge crowds of women who love women. Unlike the usual suspects in clubland, their events are much more than simply a flesh fest. In conjunction with the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, they organize philanthropic and civic events like the Women's Networker monthly meeting, which is held at a new happy-hour location every month. They raise money and awareness for a bevy of charitable causes.

Amy Alonso, Yesi Leon, Alison Burgos, and Julie Garrity are four very involved lesbians. Not in the way that every hot-blooded, horny man has wet dreams about, but rather in a collaborative effort to mix sexy fun with legitimate issues concerning their lifestyles. Their parties, which include Cherry Pie, Fever at Soho Lounge, and the annual White Party at Nikki Beach, draw huge crowds of women who love women. Unlike the usual suspects in clubland, their events are much more than simply a flesh fest. In conjunction with the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, they organize philanthropic and civic events like the Women's Networker monthly meeting, which is held at a new happy-hour location every month. They raise money and awareness for a bevy of charitable causes.

The District and its competitor, Grass, are breathing new life into the Design District after the sun goes down. While Grass is a hoity-toity affair with a velvet rope, the District has forgone the staid doorman and the cover charge in favor of a more welcoming vibe. Walk through its doors and into the courtyard on any given evening and you'll find a vast array of people socializing around the tiled fountain or inside at the stunning glass bar as a DJ spins funky music in the background. The District is also a restaurant, so imbibers can fill up on selections from a full menu that features appetizers, killer salads, and entrées. But if you stroll in for the drinks and the people, you'll find an easy comfort. This is a neighborhood bar, just a classier version than most.

Readers´ Choice: Tobacco Road

The District and its competitor, Grass, are breathing new life into the Design District after the sun goes down. While Grass is a hoity-toity affair with a velvet rope, the District has forgone the staid doorman and the cover charge in favor of a more welcoming vibe. Walk through its doors and into the courtyard on any given evening and you'll find a vast array of people socializing around the tiled fountain or inside at the stunning glass bar as a DJ spins funky music in the background. The District is also a restaurant, so imbibers can fill up on selections from a full menu that features appetizers, killer salads, and entrées. But if you stroll in for the drinks and the people, you'll find an easy comfort. This is a neighborhood bar, just a classier version than most.

Readers´ Choice: Tobacco Road

BEST NIGHTCLUB TO DIE IN THE PAST TWELVE MONTHS

Nerve Lounge

Mario Sopena's vision created the chillest place on South Beach. Hassle free and far enough from the glitterati of Washington Avenue, it attracted the hottest DJs thanks to the creative bookings of Michael Storms. Notable personalities like Rudolph Piper, Jon Cowan, and Sami Stormo helped spread the word, and for a time it seemed Nerve was on its way to earning a place among the South Beach standards with its dance-friendly and relaxed attitude. Then, after some discord behind closed doors, lawsuits over equity, and the demise of its neighbor Rain, Nerve began to unravel. Nerve tried to reinvent itself as an exclusive joint for big spenders, but it was too late. The pulse of the venue slowed to a still until it finally vanished into the clubland void. RIP Nerve Lounge.

BEST NIGHTCLUB TO DIE IN THE PAST TWELVE MONTHS

Nerve Lounge

Mario Sopena's vision created the chillest place on South Beach. Hassle free and far enough from the glitterati of Washington Avenue, it attracted the hottest DJs thanks to the creative bookings of Michael Storms. Notable personalities like Rudolph Piper, Jon Cowan, and Sami Stormo helped spread the word, and for a time it seemed Nerve was on its way to earning a place among the South Beach standards with its dance-friendly and relaxed attitude. Then, after some discord behind closed doors, lawsuits over equity, and the demise of its neighbor Rain, Nerve began to unravel. Nerve tried to reinvent itself as an exclusive joint for big spenders, but it was too late. The pulse of the venue slowed to a still until it finally vanished into the clubland void. RIP Nerve Lounge.

Flanigan's Seafood Bar & Grill
Photo courtesy of Flanigan's
It's Sunday night and you're still suffering from a wicked hangover. You need food, water, and a little hair of the dog. The best cure for the cocktail flu is a bloody mary with enough spice to give those queasies a kick in the ass. Select your favorite vodka, say how spicy you want it, and you'll be served a superior beverage with a heaping dose of sympathy. And the price is right ($1.99 for well; $4.49 for Grey Goose) for someone who spent Saturday night buying scores of drinks, yet didn't score one phone number.

It's Sunday night and you're still suffering from a wicked hangover. You need food, water, and a little hair of the dog. The best cure for the cocktail flu is a bloody mary with enough spice to give those queasies a kick in the ass. Select your favorite vodka, say how spicy you want it, and you'll be served a superior beverage with a heaping dose of sympathy. And the price is right ($1.99 for well; $4.49 for Grey Goose) for someone who spent Saturday night buying scores of drinks, yet didn't score one phone number.

The American Legion Harvey W. Seeds Post 29
There's something eerie about American Legion Post No. 29 at night. The bar, a huge sunken square that could probably fit 60 people, is almost always empty. The comfortable couches, unused. The pool table and dart board, dormant. Often the only person in the place is the bartender, watching the big-screen TV set alone. This makes sense only in Miami, where people wait in line to get into swanky clubs with overpriced drinks rather than chill at an inexpensive watering hole like the Legion. For instance, during happy hour at the American Legion (5:00 to 9:00 p.m. every weekday), six dollars gets you two bottles of Bud and a shot of Jack. At most SoBe spots, you're lucky if six bucks gets you a Red Stripe and a condescending sneer from the bartender.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®