Best Pop-Up Bar 2012 | Broken Shaker | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Karli Evans

This past year gave birth to the "pop-up" in Miami, the temporary-restaurant phenomenon that began in larger culinary communities such as New York, Los Angeles, and London. (Even Thomas Keller got into the spirit with his ten-day pop-up version of French Laundry inside Harrods department store). First came Phuc Yea!, next the Broken Shaker, and then Eating House. Plus there were a bunch of pop-up dinners featuring an assortment of chef swapping and special-tasting menus. Although there is an increasing trend toward thoughtful cocktail consumption, the Broken Shaker boys did it better, making their own ginger beer — swirling cucumbers, fennel, and gin to become punch-ified — and perfecting classics like the Manhattan. Cofounders Elad Zvi and Gabriel Orta have a true passion for mixology that reinvents the cocktail wheel. They built everything at the Broken Shaker — which closed May 24 — with their own hands. The interior space was homey, and the garden offered comfy couches and twinkling lights under starry skies. No guest list, no attitude, no lines. The place was much like a lover you might meet during aimless summertime travels. It's difficult to give your heart to someone (or something) that you know in advance will leave. Yet this place claimed our love, and thus we memorialize our favorite pop-up, the Broken Shaker.

The Local is not only a great little neighborhood bar (it has 24 beers on tap) but also a damn good place to grab a bite. This is not the standard parade of chicken wings and sliders. The menu instead offers a well-thought-out mix of globally influenced dishes dressed in gastropub garb. Seasonal specials are updated daily, and chef de cuisine Vince Tien prefers that the food be procured locally whenever possible. Florida grouper is deep-fried for a traditional take on fish 'n' chips ($14) and then served with hand-cut thick fries and a dill tartar sauce for dipping. A bowl of steamed mussels ($13) is packed with chunks of cured pork belly and surrounded by a pool of "mushroom miso beurre fondue." We love the sticky gochujan glazed ribs ($14) topped with "chopped kimchee nuts" and scallions, and the glazed doughnut bread pudding ($8) with salted caramel and a brown butter crème anglaise. We can't say enough about the Local's love of pleasing patrons. On a recent visit, a dish that we ordered failed to arrive. Executive sous-chef Paul Cantrell appeared from the kitchen to apologize profusely when it showed up on our bill, and then he raced to follow us outside as we left, with free drink tickets in hand for our next visit. We can't remember another white coat ever following us into the street.

Adrian Gaut/The Standard Spa

The Standard Hotel's Sunset Cocktails happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill. It's a dockside respite from what would otherwise be considered a yoga- and health-centric hotel. There is a wide-scope view of the water where you can enjoy happy hour as the sky gently shifts from day to evening. Although the shots here usually involve wheatgrass and ginger, we like to load up on limoncello, lychee martinis, and the Arnold Palmer of frozen drinks — Lido's layered mix of a strawberry daiquiri and piña colada (just ask for it!). Everything by the glass (including wine and beer) is offered at half-price, and for some strange reason, the French fries are addictive. This past April marked the first anniversary of Gold Dust Lounge's weekly sunset gig at Lido on Friday nights, when there's jazzy surf music to sway by. The best part: The Standard is a bit off the beaten trail, so you'll see local patrons rather than tourists gathered around long tables shielded under a canopy of umbrellas. It's an ideal spot to casually enjoy the moment. Come happy hour, we'll be at the Standard, waterside. No, you can't sit at our table. Get your own.

Easily the largest outpost of the local mini-empire, Finnegan's River doesn't resemble sister locations Finnegan's Too and Finnegan's Way or any other sports bar we've visited. The draw here isn't the game but the massive patio, which boasts 400 feet of Miami River frontage and one of the most dynamic views of downtown you can get without condo access. Yet rare is the night that ample seating isn't available at the patio's four-sided central bar (which easily seats 50-plus) or that there's anyone occupying its attractive heated pool. The beer, liquor, and food are solid, and you're virtually guaranteed spectacular views, quick refills of that pint, and your own public yet oddly private pool party. Come at dusk, when police boats and commercial trawlers head home and the Miami Tower's hues illuminate the horizon. You'll imagine melodramatic Jan Hammer synthesizers scoring your own personal episode of Miami Vice.

Plopped on a working-class section of NW Seventh Avenue, this place looks like some kind of cheap theme-park castle. And from the street, it might even seem to be closed, because the main gate is permanently barricaded and the back door is always locked. But just ring the bell, and the barmaid will grant you entry to the kingdom. It's fun and low-key, and the drinks are cheap. It's our kind of regal. So if King Arthur were still roaming the wilderness, waving around Excalibur, and getting wasted with his knightly buddies, Round Table Sports Bar & Lounge would probably be his favorite place to watch the World Cup of Jousting. He'd down a dozen $1.75 PBRs, dine on a $6 chunk of Captain Greg's smoked fish, and collect on an entire afternoon's worth of winning bets.

Eternity Coffee Roasters

Great moments in coffee history:

1669: Louis XIV sends a single coffee seedling to Martinique, which begins the spread of the beverage through Central and South America.1670: Dutch introduce coffee to America. 1688: First coffeehouse opened in London by Edward Lloyd, who would later build the insurance giant Lloyd's of London.1878: Sanborn & Chase introduce coffee in tin cans.1901: First instant coffee sold (later marketed as Nescafé in 1939).1903: First decaffeinated coffee hits stores.2011: By-the-cup coffee shops open in Miami. There's not one, but three excellent places: Panther Coffee, Alaska Coffee Roasting Co., and Eternity Coffee Roasters. It's a worthy trio through and through; we give an edge to Eternity because we like the single-origin beans it uses, from the mountains of Kenya, Colombia, and Ethiopia (flavor notes for each bean are noted) — and, ultimately, we're enamored with the smooth, potent, nonacidic flavor of the finished brew. The beans are roasted in-house and prepared using the pour-over method — first they wet the filter with hot water, next the beans are ground, and then the water is poured ever so slowly into the coffee and filter, which rests in a glass funnel cone. Depending upon which bean you choose, the price of a calibrated 12-ounce cup is between $2.75 and $5.50; most are in the $3 range. Double espressos are exceptional as well ($2.85). Tables, chairs, and a long comfy couch are scattered about in the spacious room, which has free Wi-Fi. Desserts are tasty too, but it's the historically delectable cup of joe that brings us here again and again.
George Martinez

"Una croquetica, por favor. And while you're at it, mami, get me four of those cream-cheese-stuffed pastelitos de queso, some meaty chicharrones, five of those killer beef empanadas, a freshly squeezed orange juice, and three café con leches. No, it's all right, I'll wait. I know you're busy. I'll just stand here next to abuelo and contemplate why your bakery is usually standing room only while the Starbucks in the same shopping center is practically empty. Hell, no matter how long the wait, people come in all day long to order Cuban delicacies. Maybe, just maybe, the delectable recipes and undeniable authenticity put one over on corporate America and the gentrification that seems to be taking over every other bakery in the 305. Or maybe I'll just stand here and rejoice in the fact that I can take my grandparents and tía out to breakfast on this resplendent Sunday morning and spend only 15 bucks.

The finest seafood in Miami does not arrive on a porcelain plate in some glimmering South Beach dining room. It's served fresh and spicy under Las Delicias Peruanas' flickering fluorescent lights. This place might look a bit like a Third-World dive bar, nearly hidden in a Soviet-style gray building in Wynwood. But the food is first-class. Of course, as in any good seafood joint, you can't go wrong with the ceviche. Las Delicias serves it half a dozen ways — fish, shrimp, octopus, mixed shellfish, and various combinations — all of them doused in tart, spicy sauce. The price for a large plate is $11.99 to $13.99. For an extra $6, you can get the ceviche mixto tricolor — a giant, decorative, and tasty mélange of sea creatures served with three spicy salsas. Las Delicias is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For ordering purposes, it helps to speak Spanish. We recommend Friday and Saturday nights, when you can slug Coronitas and sing karaoke as you recover from overindulging in ceviche.

Foxhole Bar

The folks at Foxhole call it an "upscale locals' joint." Strange to see the words upscale and joint together in a sentence, but that is exactly what Foxhole is, a slightly classed-up version of the coolest lowbrow bar that happens to be located in South Beach. This bi-level fun house has it all — throwback '80s videogames, including Galaga and Miss Pac-Man (we dig that chick; she's fast), as well as classic bar staples like pool and darts. There's a high-techno gadget jukebox, comfy banquettes, and a big bar you can approach from all sides (cocktail traffic control is key). Bottle service can be arranged upon request, but there's a strict no-attitude policy. If you show up to drink, you are welcomed; it doesn't matter if you are a toad or a Euro-supermodel. We love that Foxhole is open seven days a week and that the drink lineup suits everyone, offering both creative cocktails and about 30 beers. You'll have to seek out the unmarked entrance, though; it's in an alley between Alton Road and West Avenue. Look for the lamp and consider it an adventurous lesson in game hunting.

Marlin's Stadium website

The chunks of fresh, succulent Maine lobster are as meaty as Giancarlo Stanton's biceps. Scallions are sprinkled on top gingerly, the way Emilio Bonifacio takes his lead at first base. A squeeze of lime sparks things in the manner of José Reyes. Add a Carlos Zambrano-like punch — um, pinch —of seasoning, and nestle it all in a split-toasted bun baked at a local Cusano's Bakery. The $17 price does seem high for ballpark chow, but when peanuts and Cracker Jack add up to $9, and a cheeseburger is $8.50 — well, that's your lobster roll dough right there. Thing is, you can't go wrong with Metro Grill's burger, either — a savory blend of brisket, short rib, and chuck. It's a new ballpark, a new season, and most important to foodies, a new vendor — Levy Restaurants. The 45 concession stands have a modern kitchen behind each and feature an extensive roster of quality snacks, from Cuban sandwiches to ceviche to that sumptuous lobster roll — all prepared to order. As Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen says, "I love that lobster roll as much as I love Castr — oh, sorry, I was thinking in Spanish again."

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®