Magnum Lounge

Magnum is like that old friend who, no matter how many years pass between visits, always stays awesomely, delightfully, perfectly the same. This piano bar seems to be an anomaly — in the best way possible — in a city obsessed with what's new and on trend. Why shouldn't Magnum be comfortable sticking to what it knows: belting out classic tunes and whipping up stiff drinks. There is no fuss here. You won't find "expert mixologists" or the city's hottest DJ. Instead, the dark ambiance begs you to cozy up to the bar and order a classic dirty martini. (There isn't a cocktail menu here, so don't bother asking for one.) And calling this place a "gay bar" does a disservice to the eclectic clientele that visits the lounge week after week seeking live music, amazing fried chicken, and fantastic drinks. Magnum isn't a gay bar; it's a bar that just happens to be gay. And once this city's obsession with the cocktail tomfoolery ends, Magnum will be there to welcome you back with a drink and a song. Just be sure to tip your bartender and piano man.

Bryson's Irish Pub

Wanna sip thick, creamy pints of Guinness in an authentic Irish pub? Go book a flight to Dublin, you wanker. If, however, you're simply looking to get rat-arsed at a nice, smoky spot while waiting for Aer Lingus jet planes to finish fueling up on leprechaun piss at Miami International Airport, meet us at Bryson's, a Miami Springs bar and liquor store that's painted white and green and adorned with four-leaf clovers. Inside, this joint is all wood paneling, tile floors, neon signs, big-screen TV sets, and fake-leather booths. There's no 1,000-year-old ornamental timber or bloodied shillelagh behind the bar. But the beer is cold. The burgers are thick. The whiskey is Jameson. And the regulars are cops, contractors, ex-military types, working-class drunks, hard-partying gals, neighborhood nobs, sweet chippies, and the like. Of course, though, the ultimate evidence of Bryson's being the dog's bollocks are the house rules, which prove that this brood can get just as weird and rowdy as a real gang of native Irish: "No fighting, shoving, scratching, biting, nor touching of the hair and face." So drink, eat, be merry. But keep those hands to yourself, boyo.

"Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name..." Eh, forget that Cheers crap. What you really want is a solid bar in your hood where you can grab a drink without anyone judging you. In other words, a comfortable spot. When you're in the northern reaches of Dade County, there's no better bet than Our Place. Legend has it a bar patron once walked through the door in pink cupcake pajamas. No one batted an eye. This lovely hole in the wall is situated inside a small shopping center on the Miami Lakes border with Hialeah, right off the NW 67th Avenue exit of the Palmetto Expressway. Inside, patrons include happy lushes soaking up DJ Manny's Top 40 tunes, shady booze-hounds itching for a bar brawl, and smooth-drinking hustlers looking to take a few suckers at a game of pool or poker. Drinks are cheap and stronger than Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez at the height of his supremacy. With its wood-paneled and red-brick walls, superchill bar staff, and quirky crowd, Our Place has that odd charm that draws you in for a cold brew. Before you know it, you're doing Jäger bombs till last call.

Clandestino Pub

"México Sabroso y Alcohólico":

In the evening I wake

from a SoBe siesta,

mouth dry as a salt lake,

and go in search of fiesta.

Cubans sip cortadito.

Tourists flock to the clubs.

I head to Clandestino

and order some suds.

México sabroso y alcohólico

at Clandestino Pub.

A rare spot for a chico

to get craft beer and grub.

Stouts, blondes, and ales

fill pint glass after glass.

While 80 bottles of beer can't fail

to put me on my ass.

Masks of luchadores,

bright paintings six feet tall,

posters of toreadores,

decorate the tavern walls.

México sabroso y alcohólico

at Clandestino Pub.

A rare spot for a chico

to get craft beer and grub.

Good movies on display,

live music in the rear,

tacos, nachos, ceviche,

and hot dogs cooked in beer.

Other spots I've gone

B-girls have robbed me blind,

But here I drink till dawn

with total peace of mind.

México sabroso y alcohólico

at Clandestino Pub.

A rare spot for a chico

to get craft beer and grub.

PAX Miami

Strange thing: In Miami, it's always been hard to find a place that does interesting Spanish-language music. But all that changed in 2011 when art buyer Roxanne Scalia opened PAX in a former Miami Herald distribution center under an I-95 overpass. Scalia and business partner Danny Davila renovated the space in urban chic, or urban cheap, or something like that. It's a secret, cool, interesting place to catch intriguing and entertaining bands such as Spam Allstars, Suénalo, and DJ Le Spam. That's not all there is, though. How about Tango Tuesdays, when you can pay $5 and learn a little something about Latin dance? And there's more than just Latin music here, but PAX is the top spot in Miami for this kind of melody. So head over and baile, you fool. You won't regret it.

Tobacco Road

Tobacco Road's claims to fame are numerous: Oldest bar in Miami. Ex-downstairs neighbor to Miami New Times' first office space. Greatest outdoor seating this side of South Beach. Now, thanks to a recent revamp that left the nicotine-stained, beer-soaked ambiance but added some gleam to the indoor stage, the Road can add another accolade to the list as one of Dade's premier spots for local bands to rock out. Along with the renovation, the Road hired a new booking agent and new production director, a team committed to bringing original, quality local and touring acts to the space and making sure they sound amazing. Tobacco Road usually throws in a little something extra too, like during the recent South Florida Musicians' Get Together, when a free pig roast and drink specials for the bands came with a day of great jams. Call it proof positive that the Road is one venue feeding Miami's music scene — both literally and figuratively.

There's a reason they call the postwork wind-down "happy hour." Your forced labor is over for the day. You're unencumbered for another glorious evening. Free-flowing alcohol awaits. That, friends, is a truly joyful hour. At Sunset Tavern, you can get sated and sauced during that most magical time of day for less than $20. Call dibs on a wooden booth beneath the hanging Canes flags and wall-mounted Dolphins gear. Get riled up over a Heat game onscreen or just talk some shit with your friends. Snap up a half-priced Magic Hat or one of the endless fruity concoctions. With each drink you down, you can order a $1 app, everything from truffle fries to fried artichoke hearts. It's cheaper than McDonald's, and boozier too. For a few delirious hours, at least, it's easy to forget that tomorrow's daily grind is looming in the background.

Pilikia by the Pool
pilikia.com

What good is 100 percent humidity and skin-crisping sunshine if you can't enjoy it lounging alongside brilliant blue water with a cocktail in hand? A poolside lifestyle is half the fun of living in MIA. But with the douchebag overkill at your standard South Beach pool parties, sometimes locals just need a laid-back place to lay their towels for a Sunday staycation. Pilikia is the place for unpretentious pool-goers. Ease into a hammock, order a $10 mango margarita, and hide your eyes behind mirrored shades. Here, you're just another expat looking to escape. Well, maybe you're more like a cube-dweller trying to maximize the weekend, but it's easy to slip into fantasyland for an afternoon at this hidden oasis. Snag a little piece of Polynesian paradise. This is why the world wishes it lived in the 305.

Rec Room

Chances are that you, like most Miamians, don't have a basement. That might be for the best, because if you did, you'd forever be jealous that it wasn't anywhere near as cool as the subterranean lounge beneath the Gale South Beach. Rec Room looks and feels like your grandma's New England converted cellar with a makeover that's equally chic and kitschy. Wood paneling dominates the walls, while brown leather couches slither through the space to provide ample seating. The interior design is topped off with winking touches such as vintage board games, a party-ready naked mannequin, a hodgepodge of garage-sale-worthy junk, and, perhaps most important, an in-house record collection. Like the décor here, the beats tend to be of the retro variety, including old-school hip-hop and classic disco. After a few hours, you might not want to head up above ground again.

Royal Bavarian Schnitzel Haus

With Angela Merkel holding Europe's financial markets in her hands like an angry physician giving an unnecessarily rough testicular exam, it's easy to think of Germany as a sour and severe place where movies are still made in black-and-white and people scowl during orgasms. But nicht! Nicht, mein Freund. Germany loves you. It loves you so much that it sent its emissary, Alex Richter, to Miami many years ago to open his Royal Bavarian Schnitzel Haus. Step out of the summer heat and stroll into Richter's shaded beer garden. Here, the steins are full, the schnitzels are simmering, and David Hasselhoff politely asks over the radio, "Is everybody happy?" before reassuring you that you're "gonna have some fun." Choose from five types of draft beer, ranging from the light Falkensteiner Hefe — perfect to wash down a flaming appetizer plate of honey-garlic Brie — to the Köstritzer Schwarzbier, a malty dark beer that goes well with pork chops and mashed potatoes. The Schnitzel Haus also does birthday parties like the Berlin Wall is coming down all over again. Just call a day or two in advance to ensure that Richter can serve enough schnitzel or special orders for everyone. So sit, sip some Bavarian beer, and let the Hoff soothingly sing your stress away: "Forget your troubles and your aggravations. We're gonna have ourselves a celebration."

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®