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."

Eros Lounge

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?

Sports Grill
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.

The Regent Cocktail Club
Photo courtesy of the 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.

The Hoxton

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.

Let's Make a Daiquiri

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.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®