Monty's Sunset
Sometimes you just want to kill everyone in Miami. The traffic, the sweating, the general idiocy.Cool down there, chief. You need to get your ass to Monty's. Enjoy a quiet beer on the water's edge. Stare out past the marina and watch the ships go by. Contemplate the vastness of the ocean and the insignificance of your worries.Or order a bucket load of margaritas and a half-dozen oysters, get yourself good and drunk, and giggle at the people getting their scuba certification in the swimming pool. They look like little seals!Soak up the sweet abandon of faux island tunes being pounded out on the keyboard by the guy in the Hawaiian shirt. No need to get angry. Life is but a Jimmy Buffett song.
"This is the best radio station in Miami," says DJ Bo. "Go ahead and change the station — I dare you." This is old-school, Miami-style pirate radio from the hood. "Fire it up and get loose," he says. "It's time for some booty music." He plays hip-hop songs at high speed, so they sound as if the Chipmunks were rapping in the background. He talks over the beat — "For the love of God, say what?" — and takes calls on the air, always asking the same three questions: (1) What neighborhood you represent? (2) What school you represent? And (3) Who is your best friend for life? Don't be afraid. Give him a listen and a call.
Tobacco Road
Tobacco Road has provided a venue for local artists, and booze for its loyal patrons, for what seems like an eternity. (Actually, in Miami, the club's 96 years comes pretty close to eternal.) But The Road stands out among its competitors for more than its longevity; you'll be tapping your toes and rocking out any day you walk in. The open-air patio provides the perfect festival atmosphere, even if there is only one band playing. Sure, Tobacco Road isn't as seedy as it once was, but what centenarian is?
Shuckers Waterfront Bar & Grill
Photo courtesy of Shuckers Bar & Grill
Dark, macho, foul-smelling sports bars are easy to find in every American city. What makes a great sports bar is its ability to incorporate the style of the town into its atmosphere. This is the beauty of Shuckers Bar and Grill: There aren't too many burgs where you can sit outside comfortably to watch a December NFL matchup. The bar and bay-side patio are lined with flat-screen TV sets, so you can sit and sip a rum runner by the water while you watch the Dolphins lose ... again (sigh). The food is good and cheap and includes all the sports bar standards — chicken wings, peel-and-eat shrimp, burgers, and fish platters. But the location, on the 79th Street Causeway, is what puts it over the top. You can park your car in the Best Western lot and just follow the smell of fried grouper to the back dock, or pull up in a boat, tie off, sit down in front of one of those flat-screens, and get your cheer on.
Located in Little Haiti, Take One Cocktail Lounge is ghetto-fabulous. It's a place where thugs chill, a small strip club with the stage directly behind the bar. The smell of ganja fills the air, and the staff makes you feel welcome. Most of the patrons are locals, and the strippers have some of the biggest booties you will ever see. One of these hot mamas has "100%" tattooed on her left buttock and "Beef" inked on the right. Go ahead and stick a dollar bill into her butt crack. She will shake that rump in your face. Oh, the joy of being smacked with some big ass and titties. Order a drink and consider getting the most inexpensive lap dance in Miami ($10). She will dry-hump you, bumping and grinding until you are satisfied. The DJ plays nothing but hip-hop; songs with lyrics like "Slob on my knob, like corn on the cob" create the perfect ambiance. Admission is free, but please leave your guns at home. Owing to a number of shootings on the premises, the bouncers will pat you down before you enter.
The Fillmore Miami Beach
Photo by Jason Koerner
When concert-production company Live Nation announced a rebranding of several storied music venues across the country, to be named after San Francisco's historic Fillmore, more than a few eyebrows raised. But Miami was one of the cities to benefit most from the retooling, with the company's takeover of the Jackie Gleason Theater. Sure, it boasted a star-studded past, but in recent years it had become a stale, moribund, pastel hulk used only intermittently. After several months of construction, the venue emerged, butterfly-style, a completely different being. With a cozy interior of dark colors and low lighting, tons of bars, and a revamped stage complete with stylish red velvet curtains, finally, here was a place where you'd actually want to hang out. And with a flexible capacity of several hundred up to a couple thousand, it fills in a much-needed venue gap in South Florida for bands that are too big for clubs but want to play a more intimate spot than an arena. The eclectic lineup has included everyone from Ricky Martin on opening night, to prog-futurists The Mars Volta, to no less than Jay-Z, in a pre-arena-gig "dress rehearsal." In short, it's a coup for both live-music-starved South Beach and for music fans who are now spared the drive to Broward and beyond.
Santo
You couldn't turn up your iPod loud enough to replicate the groove you'll find at Miami Live. Sure, you could fork over some of your hard-earned bucks to Ticketmaster, but even then you probably couldn't get closer than 100 feet to the artist; at Santo, no one is farther than that from the stage. Each Wednesday, locals and tourists mix with A-list sports, music, and movie stars for a night of live music and surprise performances. Walk through the doors of this chic restaurant not knowing what to expect, and you just might become incapacitated by the sheer grandness of it all: people dressed to the nines, an amazing band, and performances from the likes of John Legend, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, and many others from your favorite playlists. The night begins with the "L.I.V.E." Loves the Ladies dinner party and ends with you texting your friends: "Guess who I just saw onstage?" And if you don't believe us, ask the folks who fly into MIA for the night just to see what the hell everyone is raving about.
Flower Bar
The term florist just doesn't cover this gem, which moved to its current location in time to be covered by construction dust from Miami Shores' downtown renovation. Not only does Flower Bar deliver some of the most stunning arrangements you'll ever see, but also it's an art gallery. And a tearoom. Plus, you'll be able to buy gourmet sweets there pretty soon. Finally, don't forget the greeting cards and fragrances. Started as an art gallery in a seedier neighborhood by a guy named Alex Rodriguez (not the baseball player, you ninny), it moved to its latest spot last fall. The place has garnered some of the classiest jobs in South Beach, providing flowers for the Tides hotel and Table 8 restaurant. Our favorite service is the flower cantina: For $125 a month ($275 for three months), you get a small but hugely creative floral delight. Or if you want to show your lady you really love her, try an orchid a month for three months at $160. And everything is delivered right to your doorstep, so you don't have to drive through the Shores' improvement mess. "That's the way Miami is," says 74-year-old part-time employee Donald Englert. "There will always be construction."

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®