Churchill's Pub
Alexander Oliva
Yeah, yeah, Churchill's is a great place to drink beer, shoot pool, smoke cigs, look surly, and show off your lousy acting talent — but it's also got one hell of a jazz jam. Monday nights are what you want. The music starts around 9:00 p.m. and includes a performance by a band, followed by a couple numbers on the keys from "Piano Bob." Then, 'round midnight, it's the after-hours jazz jam, hosted by bassist Mike Wood, who's led the event for the last five years. Whether you bring an instrument or go just to listen, it's a lively scene with lots of energy, an appreciative audience, and some primo music.
Felt
Nowadays, when it seems like even the corner bodegas in South Beach demand a cover charge, it's reassuring to find a hangout that caters to low-rent locals. And it's even better when said spot has a kick-ass karaoke night. Thanks to Felt, the friendly and nonpretentious billiards bar on Washington Avenue, the community's would-be singers have a karaoke night to call their own. Every Tuesday evening, Felt hosts a no-holds-barred sing-your-heart-out night. You won't find any velvet rope attitude here, but you will certainly run into plenty of jukebox heroes willing to rock out to their favorite songs. But be forewarned: You never know who's going to strut in and treat you to a round of covers. Just two months ago Vince Neil (lead singer of Motley Crue) got down to Journey's megacheese classic "Loving Touching Squeezing," and, you guessed it, sang an alcohol-fueled karaoke rendition of what else but "Girls, Girls Girls," his band's heartfelt paean to South Florida strippers. What more could you ask of a karaoke nightç Well, drink specials start at five dollars and there's no cover. However you better be able to hold a tune. These regulars take their karaoke seriously.
Michael's Cafe
You might be wondering: Is it a gas station, a restaurant, or a barç It's really a combination of all three. This former Texaco station has been converted into an elegant Middle Eastern eatery that specializes in alfresco dining, an experience formerly unheard of on bustling Kendall Drive. You can indulge in all of the traditional cuisine of the region — we recommend the beef shawarma platter, which costs a mere $11.99 and comes with delicious roasted meat, lentil rice, hummus, pita, and a salad. Although Michael's is a cafe, it functions just fine as a bar. The restaurant's owner, Michael Touma, made the most of the gas station's built-in glass-door fridges. Now Michael's offers what may be the finest beer selection of any Middle Eastern restaurant in the region. A sixteen-ounce Tucher costs a mere $3. Every night is hookah night, and on Fridays and Saturdays the typically calm scene is transformed into a live music and bellydancing haven, with a bevy of damsels in spangled clothes spinning and gyrating around the tables where gas pumps used to be.

Best Nightclub to Die in the Past Year

Shine

Only in South Beach does a nightclub experience a short-lived revival during Winter Music Conference. Such is the case with Shine at the Shelborne Hotel. It opened in late 2005 under the helm of nightlife veteran Gerry Kelly and techno music extraordinaire Jonathan Cowan. The place was divided into four environments, from a swanky lounge with handcrafted rock walls; to the ballroom where the hard-pounding house was played; to the "Terrace Café"; to the poolside retreat, complete with beds, hammocks, and torch lights. But the club had a contentious existence as condo residents hammered the city to shut down Shine's weekend parties. In April of last year, Shine held its closing party and Kelly moved on to another nightclub venture. Yet during the halcyon days of WMC 2007, Cowan resuscitated Shine for some of the most outstanding electronic performances in town. Greats like Todd Terry, Kenny Dope, Miguel Migs, Frankie Knuckles, and Satoshi Tomiie took to the decks that, for at least seven days, brought the Shine back to Collins Avenue.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®