Finnegan's on the River
What's great about the Finnegan's jukebox is that it's a flat-panel touchscreen inside a fire engine-red telephone booth, the same type you'd find outside a real Irish pub. So when someone is lurking behind you, breathing down your neck to hurry up your music selection, you can just slide the door closed and stick your tongue out at them. Most of the playlist is a predictable blend of rap (50 Cent and Ludacris), country (Trace Adkins and Willie Nelson), and rock and roll (Lynyrd Skynyrd and Marilyn Manson). But we did find some unexpected gems from Spanish boy-band pioneers Menudo and the great Maná. We were also pleasantly surprised to find tracks by the Oak Ridge Boys, and our all-time favorite hair band: Ratt!
Miami is a playground for the gay male community — from downtown to South Beach, the boys have plenty of places to romp. Unfortunately Miami doesn't offer as many options for lesbians. What's a girl (who loves girls) to do when she just wants to have fun? For starters, look hard. Anam's, an exclusive women's club, is easy to miss. The clandestine bar is located on the second floor of a building tucked between the Little Cuban Museum and a HEARx store on Coral Way. Hidden from the street, the only hint of Anam's existence is its name etched into a glass door in swirling cursive. Stairs are visible from the other side of the door, but what they lead to is a mystery for those not in the know. Inside, dimly lit, stained-glass chandeliers shroud the bar in ambiguity, and faces are hard to distinguish among the shadows. For the most part men aren't allowed in, and the crowd is usually Latin women anywhere from their late twenties to early fifties. Owner Olga Sanchez serves the drinks while her partner, Ana Pou, plays the bongos to the DJ's mix of salsa, bachata, and other Latin beats. The club has a dancing room and a quiet room, where women can retreat to for a more intimate setting. One of Anam's unusual features is an old freight elevator that's been used as a showcase for a belly dancer. There's also an art space that will be put to use for future events.
Mac's Club Deuce
Photo courtesy of Mac's Club Deuce
Twelve years ago Melissa Burley was an overworked and underpaid teacher in Miami-Dade's public school system. She supplemented that income with a job at late-night taco institution San Loco, located within stumbling distance of Mac's Club Deuce, Miami Beach's most venerably liquor-soaked bar. Within no time Ms. Burley found a new hangout and a family of fun regulars. She spent a lot of time on the customer side of the bar. "I used to always ask Mac, 'When are you gonna hire meç'" she recalls. "One day it was raining and I asked him again. And he replied, 'What're you doing tomorrowç'" As they say, the rest is history. Burley's friends, the regulars, helped her learn the ropes — "because the customers know the bar better than the new bartenders," she laughs. In the decade that Melissa has been tending the Deuce, Miami Beach has been through bouts of popularity with Eurotrash, model types, ravers, and the hip-hop glitterati, and she's been slinging cocktails through it all. She may not be the most instantly chummy bartender you've ever had, and to hell with all of that Tom Cruise Cocktail bottle-flipping bullshit. She's a no-nonsense blond who serves her drinks strong and fast. Along the way she's adopted some basic bar rules for both tender and customer. Rule number one: "The bartender should never be drunker than the customers." Rule number two: "You always want to befriend your bartender. Cause we know a lot of things about a lot of people." Melissa is also keeper of the Deuce's legacy. She created the bar's MySpace page (www.myspace.com/deucebar) and updates the Deuce Screen of Fame, a photographic retrospective of debauchery and nudity that takes place in the darkened, historic establishment. If you're lucky (or acting the fool enough), you'll get your picture snapped as well. The scrolling images feature regulars and newbies, and it's heavy on locals and light on famous faces. "We only put famous people in it if they're into it," she says. "We've got Johnny Knoxville in there, I think. Often we just leave them alone. The slide show is funny whether you know the people or not. It's about the crazy people and the stories that take place. Like when Tara threw the iguana." Normally an evening in which a live iguana is flung across the bar would be one of those you-just-had-to-be-there stories. Thanks to Melissa's quickness with the camera, the moment was captured for posterity. And she needs to be quick, because who knows what can happen nextç
Fox's Sherron Inn
Fox's is where serious booze hounds do their thing. No better place for James Bond's favorite drink than this cozy, dimly lit, circa-1946 joint. Sit at a wood-paneled booth or just sidle up to the bar. The old pro behind the counter will make you a mean martini (the "dirty" version is a knockout here). Depending on the label you ask for, it'll set you back $6 to $10 — or about half the price you'd pay at a South Beach spot with half the personality. That leaves money for ... another martini. And if you go during happy hour (4:00 to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday), or from 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays, drinks are two for one. Which means ... more martinis!
Mixing a bloody mary sounds easy. Just some vodka with tomato juice, rightç But it takes some serious skill to make a good one. A bad one may taste like ketchup and Skol, or bitter shrimp cocktail sauce. Some bartenders make it so spicy that your lips will burn. The perfect bloody mary can be found on the seventh floor of the Four Seasons hotel, in the heart of Miami's financial district. The hotel's upscale and classy bar is called 14-Thirty-Five, and its bloody mary is intensely refreshing. The bartender uses Absolut Peppar, a vodka made specifically for a bloody mary. The Absolut is mixed with a unique blend of tomato juice, horseradish, basil, rosemary, and pepper. Order it on the rocks, add the twist of lime, and there you go. Not too spicy, but just enough to clear the sinuses. Outside the bar area, there's a stunning view. Enjoy.
When it comes to cocktails and the places that serve them, details matter. Dirty martinis require just the right amount of vermouth and olive juice, while decent bars thrive on atmosphere and quality service. All things considered, Cielo has the right ingredients to make it the ideal place for relaxing with your drink of choice. Beads hang from the windows, creating the illusion of a sparkly blue waterfall trickling over diners and drinkers. Suede barstools and white contemporary sofas look as if they were inspired by the creamy softness of a white Russian. The clientele and ambiance scream wealth, but rest assured that at $9 for well drinks and $12 for premium cocktails, you're getting your money's worth — the staff is both attentive and well versed in the art of mixing drinks. Live Latin acts take the stage most nights, but a quieter experience is still available with a simple reservation. In the wine room, patrons can dine and drink in a glass-enclosed area supplied with wine racks and a high-def i. Those who opt to chill at the bar or in the lounge area will quickly see that the patrons at Cielo are as pretty as the décor — and remember, the only thing that makes a good cocktail better is the environment in which it's enjoyed.
Yuca
It's you on the stage, kickin' verses about your life. Just you, the band, a microphone ...oh yeah, and those hot-ass lights. You peer out into the crowd and the faces staring back seem to be standing at attention. Oh, this place is fly. The mood is right, they dim the lights. And the stiff drinks help to ease your tension. You've been working on this sonnet, this haiku, that rhymeYou punked out last week,But the ever-vivacious Ingrid B pulled you out of your shell this time.And here you are.Listed under your nom de plume.It must be Wednesday NightOpen mike nightAt the Bohemia Room.
Miami's nightlife scene is undeniably fickle. Just think of all those clubs closing and opening like the legs of a pantyless celeb caught on camera. Wait, that's not right — there's nothing fickle about Paris, Lindsay, and Britney's ho antics. That stuff is permanent. But seriously, the one thing you can always count on (at least in Miami) is variety. And with so many options, why stay in one club all nightç The biggest nightlife destinations around 305 tend to cluster in proximity to each other, making it easy to hop from one place to the next. If you're downtown, you can start the night off chill at PS 14 (28 NE Fourteenth St.) and then take it up a notch by heading two blocks south to Pawn Shop (1222 NE Second Ave.) or one more street down to Twilo (30 NE Eleventh St.). On the beach, Mansion (1235 Washington Ave.) and Cameo (1445 Washington Ave.) are within walking distance, while the chic Nikki Beach (1 Ocean Drive) and elite Privé (136 Collins Ave.) are just a short cab ride away. If partygoers still have fuel (or drugs) to burn at 5:00 a.m., Space (34 NE Eleventh St.), Nocturnal (50 NE Eleventh St.), and Cafeteria (546 Lincoln Road) are just some of the clubs on the after-hours sampler platter — and it won't cost you even a gallon of unleaded.
Jazid
Long live Jazid, the bastion of live music on Miami Beach — perhaps the only venue that assures a live performance every night. Once upon a time, there was a variety of venues at which reggae fanatics could find live vibrations at least one night a week. Now Kulcha Shok Reggae Sunday nights at Jazid keeps the heartical flame burning. The weekly jamdown is put together by cool-dude-about-town DJ Lance-O, who mans the ones and twos in the club's upstairs lounge. The Kulcha Shok crew, rounded out by Jr. Lee and Mello D, keep the crowd happy with classic boom shots from Barrington Levy, Dennis Brown, and Jacob "Killer" Miller, all while keeping things fresh with the latest from Cham, Collie Buddz, and Niyorah. Downstairs you'll always find a skilled live band enthralling a writhing audience. Starting weekly at 11:00 p.m., 4th Dimension, Sweetbone, and the ever-energetic Fitzroy fling their dreadlocks and share progressive, bass-heavy riddims that transport fans back into the work week. The crowd is diverse and friendly, the vibes are irie, and admission is free. It really can't be beat.
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.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®