Best Gay Bar 2013 | Eros Lounge | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

Eros Lounge is known as neither a late-night hook-up spot nor a sweaty danceteria where the muscled and shirtless reign as demigods. Which, in Miami's too often homogenous gay scene, can be more than a welcome relief. One of the few homo-inclined watering holes in the city of Miami proper, Eros hosts a regular bevy of events — bingo nights, karaoke, drag shows, reality-TV viewing parties, Monday-night LGBT film screenings — and even gets a bit naughty on Friday with go-go boys. But Eros hasn't forgotten the ladies, and once a month it hosts one of Miami's few lesbian nights. Or if you want to keep things simple, pop into the two-for-one happy hour seven days a week from 5 to 9 p.m. Perhaps the best feature of Eros, though, is the fact that it tends to attract a more local crowd. Which means that cute dude eyeing you across the bar is a lot less likely to break your heart by having to catch a flight back to Stockholm in the morning. A happy hour, tons of fun weekly events, and a local crowd: Really, what else could you ask for in a bar?

Courtesy of Sports Grill

Sports, wings, and beer are a better threesome than the Stooges, the Musketeers, and the Kardashian sisters combined. And those three key elements are what Sports Grill, a well-worn bar tucked away in a South Miami strip mall, does best. When the Heat plays, the crowd lights up like a South Beach sunrise. Craft beers are aplenty, and good thing, because any Marlins loss is easier to take with a 7 percent ABV IPA in hand. Luckily, Sports Grill has a myriad of choices, from Terrapin Hopsecutioner to Sixpoint Apollo. But you can always score a Bud Light pitcher too if you're into that sort of thing. If it's wings you want, crisp, juicy chicken parts come in a variety of flavors, from the tongue-torching Miami Heats to the special grilled — arguably the city's best. That's the kind of combo that makes Sunday afternoons bearable, even with Monday right around the corner. And let's face it, the clever name choice makes this place an obvious pick. Well played, Sports Grill.

Photo courtesy of RM Studio Corp.
The Raspao margarita from Regent Cocktail Club.

When the Broken Shaker opened in 2011, the craft-cocktail mecca brought a new, much-needed wave of bars to Miami. Venues peddling overpriced, overhyped neon-blue slushy drinks with cheap vodka are a dying breed. And taking its place are savvy, classy, and smart watering holes. If the Broken Shaker began the movement, the Gale Hotel's Regent Cocktail Club is pushing the next step. The 1940s-era décor makes the place seem like a speakeasy in the middle of tourist-ridden South Beach. Dim lights, antiqued furniture, old champagne glasses, and a cocktail menu fit for Frank Sinatra are all part of its perks. Unlike the clichéd fluorescent SoBe slushies, Regent's concoctions make the old new again. Classic drinks include sazeracs, original daiquiris, old-fashioneds, sidecars, French 75s, Manhattans, pisco sours, mai tais, and mint juleps. This type of menu is rare these days, and with some of Miami's finest mixologists — Julio Cabrera, Angelo Viera, and Danny Valdez — at the helm, the experience here is far from SoBe ordinary. In short, the Regent does what every neo-bar in town has been trying to do for the past five years: make the past hip again.

Blue-and-white-striped linen sofas, white tea-light candles placed atop mahogany tables, and an oversize picture of Sophia Loren hanging behind the stage: The Hoxton definitely lives up to its "urban beach house" philosophy. Yet while the Hoxton's cool, relaxed décor gets a lot of the praise, its savory, aromatic cocktails do all the talking. There's the refreshing Quincy Cooler, made with citrus vodka, cucumber, and mint and topped with soda and fresh lime; the smooth Honey Ryder, featuring fresh lemon juice, blackberries, bourbon, rosemary, and homemade honey syrup; and the Hoxton Lemonade, combining vodka, fresh lemon juice, basil, strawberries, and ginger beer. Priced around $12, each of the handcrafted concoctions is prepared with fresh, locally sourced produce that creates an enticing explosion of flavor.

Kids today, with their free-range, cruelty-free gourmet cocktails and their macrobiotic arts-and-crafts beer. Pshaw! As if getting buzzed were all about being fancy. Look, when it comes to drinks, all you need is the following: (1) lots of alcohol, (2) some other tasty ingredients to make sure your throat does not burn by drinking lots of alcohol, and (3) something that keeps you cool (a South Florida-specific requirement). Which is exactly what Let's Make a Daiquiri specializes in. Besides the titular multiflavored libations, this place also has one of the tastiest piña coladas you'll ever try. If you can't decide between the two, you can have them mixed. Plus the two Let's Make a Daiquiri locations are smartly situated at Bayside Marketplace and Dolphin Mall, two spots no local over 21 should ever endure while sober. So put your drink snobbery aside, accept the fact that there's a reason tourists love frozen drinks so much, and go make a daiquiri.

If you want to predict the fun-slash-danger level of an average night at any boozing establishment, simply inspect the floor, walls, and bathroom stalls. Waxed, clean, and pristine? Too tame. Blood-puddled, puke-stained, and shit-slathered? Too extreme. But soaked in suds, papered with NSFW party pics, and covered in a phone book's worth of numbers "for a good time"? Welcome to Tavern in the Grove, the perfect dive bar, where the booze is cheap, the boobs are out, and no one can remember your name. Drafts come in only two sizes: the standard 16-ounce pint and a 36-ounce "wonton soup container." But either way, you won't need anything larger than a $5 bill. Unless it's Monday, when $13 buys all-night, all-you-can-drink light beer. Oh, and a final tip: Don't try calling for a reservation. The Tavern doesn't serve dinner. The stools are always empty. And it's not like this place has a damn phone.

Photo by Chelsea Olson

In the swanky South of Fifth landscape, there are more $20 martinis, $75 steaks, and $200,000 Bentleys than you can shake a Louis Vuitton bag at. Luckily, for less-than-monied locals, service-industry staffers, and club-weary tourists, there's Ted's — a welcome respite from the sensory overload of luxe elsewhere on the Beach. Although marked by a pink exterior and sprawling purple neon sign, it's surprisingly easy to miss. But once you're inside, it's hard to forget. The smoky, dimly lit interior is a level playing field for boozers. Yacht owners toss back Fireball shots with restaurant bussers. Locals ante up quarters to shoot pool with out-of-towners. Jimmy Choo-shoed hotties hunker down with wheezy, gap-toothed day drinkers. Heat games flash on TV screens. Classic tunes echo from the jukebox. And all while smokin'-hot, unpretentious chicks in fishnets and corsets happily serve Yuengling, Jamo picklebacks, and taquitos. There's no ennui, no affectation, no douchebags allowed. Just good times, stiff drinks, and new friends. It's an easy escape for an hour or two — or ten. Time slips away at this little hideaway.

Neon glow. Ambient buzz. And the crack of 15 balls scattering toward empty pockets. Open till 4 a.m. and tucked into a corner unit on the second floor of a strip mall in swank Sunny Isles Beach, this Collins Avenue pool hall is just a single narrow room full of sunburned hustlers, Russian teens, hot mamis, arcade games, and well-worn pool tables. During the daylight hours, Sunny Beach Billiards certainly doesn't seem to be the sort of place where paychecks are lost. A Black Flag song on the jukebox is a buck. Pitchers of Bud are only $10. And you won't go broke playing the $15-per-hour tables. But as dark settles over the parking lot and midnight drifts past, the hustlers come out, the games go long, the lights grow dim, the drinks get stiff, and the bets get stiffer. So grab your billfold, after-dark shades, and custom two-piece cue in a leather case. But watch you don't get snookered. Cash up. Eight ball down.

What do Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," and Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" have in common? Besides the fact that you regularly embarrass yourself fist-pumping to them in your car while stuck in traffic on the Dolphin, they're three karaoke tunes you can belt out at Sing Sing Karaoke. Inside this Washington Avenue haunt, there's a traditional karaoke bar for those who love being in the limelight to down a $6 shot of signature Liquid Courage, grab the mike, and harmonize to any of the more than 120,000 songs in 13 languages. And for those who'd rather unleash their inner diva behind closed doors, there's another option. Sing Sing Karaoke has 17 private karaoke rooms equipped with couches, cocktail tables, two mikes, sound-activated lights, and a remote-controlled karaoke system (although those spots have to be reserved). Come during happy hour from 5 to 8 p.m., when room rates are half-price and drink specials are available. After happy hour ends, karaoke is also available at the bar for $2 a song (you also get a complimentary song with every drink over $5). At that point, everyone will sound more like Whitney Houston and strangers will become your number one fans.

For ladies tired of hitting the same dingy spots for boring drink specials, Viceroy Miami has put together quite a glamorous girls' night out. Every Friday, the luxurious Brickell resort inside the Icon Brickell hosts Indulge, an "ultimate ladies' evening" that will leave the fairer sex feeling like Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. The festivities begin at the hotel's Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, Eos, a sexy, bold establishment with an innovative wine list and signature cocktails on the 15th floor, where free drinks are served from 8 to 10 p.m. Then the party moves up to the deluxe lounge in the sky, Fifty. The rooftop spot's stunning interior features grained marbles and woods, Japanese woodblock-inspired prints and plants, and salt air and fresh blossoms scenting the high-altitude atmosphere. The sweeping vista gives partygoers an unparalleled perspective of Biscayne Bay and the downtown Miami and Brickell skyline. Ladies can dance under the stars with free entry and 50 percent off drinks till midnight — and end the evening by jumping into the spectacular Asian-inflected pool.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®