The Room
There's nothing about the Room that's reassuring. It's a damp, dark grotto on the southernmost tip of the beach. Conversation is inaudible and overlapping, like in a Robert Altman movie. Seats? Forget about it. The leather barstools, back bench, and misplaced ottomans in this gulag are invariably taken up by the regulars who get there at 7 p.m., when the bar opens. Yet this seven-year-old joint is comfortingly familiar. It's far removed from the usual mess of South Beach, so there's never much foot traffic outside the concealed hole-in-the-wall on First Street. You might run into a couple of lost, vacationing Australians from the hostels in the neighborhood. Inside, it is spa-dark, with a few candles sputtering behind the counter, as if the bartender wants to rub your shoulders while telling you a bedtime story. This is a place that would welcome the weariest drunk after a nightlong bender. And the sprawling beer menu — almost 80 brands from around the world — make it an inviting place to get shit-faced. The Room is the Epcot of booze. Owner Craig Weiss says he didn't open the place just for beer snobs; he did it to educate South Florida's palate. So bartenders don't scoff when someone asks for a Corona. Instead, they suggest Costa Rican lager Imperial ($9) or a Japanese Hitachino wheat ale ($9). The Room is open seven days a week from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Black Point Ocean Grill
Yeah, yeah, so Black Point Ocean Grill has one exquisite waterfront view — thanks to its locale in the mangrove-lush paradise that is Black Point Marina — but that's only a fraction, maybe half a cup's worth, of its charm. Food, such as fresh seafood packed into sandwiches, burgers, and tasty smoked fish dip, earns this South Dade gathering place another quarter of charisma. But a good chunk of its appeal is the vibe. Cool and laid-back, it's the perfect spot to swig a few frosty brews after a long bike ride on a Sunday afternoon. Or if you like the nightlife, join the gray-haired, khaki-shorts-loving, fishing-themed-T-shirt crowd every Friday and Saturday night as it gets down to a live band that covers every song you've ever heard on Big 106 or Magic 102.7. Add in a dash of flavor for the arbitrary bicycle hung over the dance floor, friendly service, and a twist of craziness due to the mermaid-kissing, scurvy-carrying, and squid-wrestling characters who come here fresh from the sea; shake well; and you have yourself one hell of a cocktail. Cheers!
Kill Your Idol
Everyone at Kill Your Idol was coupled off, but not Henry. He sat alone at the end of the bar, and from the look on his face, the night wasn't going so well. But then he snapped out of his Pabst stupor and his eyes shone bright. He pointed in the air and shouted, "This is my song. I played this!" Neutral Milk Hotel's "Holland, 1945" was blaring on the jukebox. It was the song Henry used to blast in his bedroom with the door closed when he was only 16. Although technically alone, Henry was deeply in love. He was smitten with Fireball, the glowing, red-hot vintage juke in the corner. Deep inside its guts were all the songs that could carry him away from the present loneliness. Other jukeboxes didn't satisfy; they were empty shells of flashing lights that merely streamed MP3s. Fireball was stocked with actual CDs that contained personalized playlists chosen by Miami music makers and lovers. Local band Astari Nite included fellow Miami musician MillionYoung on its mix. Hood Songs, the CD by writer John Hood, contained everything from Tom Waits to Ice T, with a wildcard Fiona Apple thrown in. Deep cuts from throwbacks such as VNV Nation and MC5 were mixed thoughtfully in with current favorites Surfer Blood and the XX. Losing more dollar bills than at a strip club, Henry couldn't take his eyes off Fireball — that is, until he caught a glimpse of the Playboy pinball machine in the other corner.
This new megalounge sits directly across the street from Bayfront Park. Outside, the bar and terrace offer an Asian vibe with orange lanterns, red pop-up umbrellas, and bamboo-style chairs. Guests can enjoy direct views of the park's cascading fountain. Inside, diners sit on plush couches while tear-drop chandeliers hang overhead. Designer Isaac Valdes's incorporation of the European, interactive iBar and iWall technologies adds a high-tech touch to the rich palette and décor. MIA's bars are stocked with unique cocktails you can't find anywhere else, including edible and nitrogen cocktails ($10 to $15) with ingredients such as Pop Rocks. The extensive list of signature drinks includes the Blackstone cocktail (Imperia, Amaretto, raspberry liqueur, pineapple juice, and raspberry juice, $12). They taste even better during happy hour, when they cost half the normal price.
VMidtown
Mystery novel writer and totally gay lady Rita Mae Brown once said, "My lesbianism is an act of Christian charity. All those women are out there praying for a man, and I'm giving them my share." If she arrived at Vlada during one of the bar's monthly girl parties, she would earn some serious high-fives. That's because the 1-year-old venue is one of the few places in the city of Miami that features a regular lesbian event. (Dates fluctuate.) It boasts an ice bar and an — we'll call it "urban" — outdoor lounge for smokers. Girls varying in age, race, and style dance to pop, hip-hop, salsa, and electro depending on the DJ. On nearly every other night of the month, you'll find an intimate crowd of gay men from the neighborhood. It's open until 3 a.m. seven days a week.
Twist
E.M.
If Mova were an ad in the men-for-men section of Craigslist, it would read, "Young, Sean Cody type casually seeking late night of carousing and heavy petting." At the lounge, just off Lincoln Road, the crowd that revolves around the oval-shaped bar skews young. The place has slowed the exodus of young gays to Fort Lauderdale. Mova stands apart from the decades-old haunts catering to crowds that still remember the decadent foam parties of the '90s. It's classy, wholesome, and as beautifully lit as a Zac Efron musical. The only leather you're likely to see here is on the upholstered love seats. Even the drinks are twinky: They're named things like "elderflower fizz," "treetini," and "açaí breeze." On Wednesday, college night, vodka cocktails are $3 all night long. Served by strapping bartenders as pretty as the Jonas Brothers, these cocktails are deceptively light. And the fizz ($15) is the kind of libation that loosens things up. Plus from 3 to 9 p.m. daily, all drinks are half-off. But the best thing about Mova is that it's located right in front of the Frieze, the 24-hour ice-cream shop where you can drown your sorrows in food if you haven't hooked up with anyone by the end of the night.
When Aaron Bondaroff and Al Moran of the O.H.W.O.W. gallery are behind the scenes of anything, you can expect some catalyzing creativity. The duo/owners came up with the concept for Bar, where almost every 90 days, a new artist transforms the interior. And we don't mean a simple paint job; the walls become murals and full-blown collages. An artist named Freegums was the first to cover the place with doodles one might find in a composition notebook. Then Todd "Reas" James came in with his signature pink naked ladies and bright, whimsical characters. Bar's goal is to keep the process organic, never announcing the next artist too far in advance and unveiling each new installation during the Monday-night party Locals Only.
Electric Pickle
Courtesy of Electric Pickle
When Tomas Ceddia (Aquabooty) and Will Renuart (Boogie) took over the former Circa 28 space, we knew house music would be a cornerstone of whatever they had planned for the venue. Later, when the name was revealed — Electric Pickle — it left us wondering if there was some kind of joke. It wasn't. Together they have made sure the Pickle takes its music — the dance variety in particular — very seriously. Alexander Technique, M.A.N.D.Y., dOP, Wolf + Lamb, Marques Wyatt, In Flagranti, Seth Troxler, Tony Rohr, Junior Sanchez, and others have given the lounge's Dynacord system a workout. The downstairs area is perfect for the chill-out lounge experience, while the upstairs usually turns into an all-out dance riot. Let's not forget about the back lot, perfect for those cool Miami winters and habitual day parties. The best thing about the Pickle is that you won't be judged based on your looks or gender. As long as you're 21 and pay the cover charge (or somehow put your name on the guest list), you're in. And though Saturday's Poplife party has moved on, we don't expect things to slow down here.
Club Space
Karli Evans
It's 5 o'clock Sunday morning — closing time for most nightclubs in Miami. But you want to keep the party going. You are totally juiced, and your honey is looking fine. Where can your Affliction-loving, sunglasses-at-night-wearing self keep the tunes pumpin', bro? Space, of course. Located at the north end of downtown Miami in just about the coolest, most urban neighborhood anywhere south of Manhattan, Space is everything to the party set. So keep your head up high, bro, and make sure not to leave the club without your honey by your side. Nuff said.
In Miami's balkanized music world, every neighborhood has its sovereign genre. Downtown is hipsterdom, Kendall owns Muzak, and South Beach is the land of house. In Little Havana, salsa holds sway. Hoy Como Ayer, the hole-in-the-wall cabaret on Calle Ocho, is the bedrock of this estate. Its walls are lined with portraits of the icons of Cuba's musical heyday: Celia Cruz, Benny More, Arturo Sandoval. But on Wednesday nights, Oscar G, one of the headlining DJs at Park West bacchanal Space, enters the smoky inner sanctum. For the past year, he has hosted a dance party here called Tropicasa that would spook the regular clientele of viejitos in crisp white guayaberas if it weren't so damn funky. The DJ doesn't so much spin club house as remix it live with traditional guaguanco and Afro-Cuban sounds. He borrows a bass line from one song, a drum loop from another, a vocal sample from a third, and plays it over a rolling house beat while El Chino Dreadlion, former vocalist for cool-kid band Yerba Buena, sings and a drummer plays the timbales. While Oscar G at Space might set you back a 20, cover here is just seven bucks, and a Presidente beer only five. For two hours, the musical jambalaya throbs at an unrelenting pace, shaking the joint so hard the portraits on the walls vibrate like tiny gongs. Doors open at 10 and close at 3 a.m.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®