Located on the top floor of a five-story beige shopping center just off the Palmetto Expressway, Las Tabernas de Wancho is an unlikely locale to earn the title of el quinto piso mas rumbero en Miami (translation: the most lit fifth floor you'll find in Miami). But damned if it doesn't deserve those plaudits. The floor hosts three rooms, each with its own flavor. Cuna del Sol fits about 450 partiers and plays mostly merengue and bachata. The most recent addition is Club 5, a smaller space that brings in a younger crowd by playing hip-hop, reggaeton, and techno. But Tropical Crossover is for the true Colombianos. Decorated to resemble a pueblito, the space makes patrons feel like they're in Antioquia. Each room features a disco ball and aguardiente bottle service. It's the LIV of Hialeah.

Readers' choice: Ball & Chain

Churchill's Pub
Alexander Oliva

Sure, Churchill's has been the grimy beating heart of Miami rock 'n' roll for decades. But only a couple of years ago, the pub's unwavering spot at the top of the scene didn't look so secure. When news broke that the bar's owner of more than 30 years, Dave Daniels, was looking to sell the place, Miami panicked. We’d seen this story play out way too often. A venue springs up, we grow to love it dearly, and then it's ripped from our grasp by greedy developers who think this city needs a few more luxury condo towers. Loyal Miami punks saw a future without Churchill's, without a dimly lit, densely packed floor of sweaty fiends thrashing to pure guitar noise. But, for once, the narrative changed. Instead of succumbing to the wrecking ball, Churchill's has persevered and even thrived under its new ownership. The music, still going down seven days a week, is still as loud as ever. Churchill's has mixed a regular lineup of national touring acts with plenty of slots for locals like Jacuzzi Boys while staging forever delightfully weird festivals such as International Noise Conference. Though other venues have stepped up to help fill the void, Churchill's remains the undisputed champ of the Miami rock scene. Long live the king.

Readers' choice: Churchill's Pub

King of Diamonds
Alex Markow

There's arguably no strip club on Earth that's been the subject of more hip-hop songs than King of Diamonds —Miami's sprawling, 60,622-square-foot ode to excess. So rather than tell you more about KOD, we'll let a mishmash mixtape of those lyrics tell the story: Ain't no pimp livin' like that 305 lifestyle/It's LIV on Sunday, King of Diamonds Monday/I come stuntin', 24s on my Beemer/That Bentley come from Exotic Rentals/You wanna ride with/Bouncers know us, I'm coming a hundred deep/Call up King of Diamonds and tell China it'd be worth the flight/I'll be at my table stacking dollars to the perfect height/No more livin' poor, smoking something like it's legalized/All the ladies love us/They know our faces like the ones we throw/She just tryna make it so she's right here getting naked/It's a work something, twerk something, world/But I don't judge her, I don't judge her/She ain't scared to get that money, though I could never love her/The one I love back at home got bitter, 'cuz I ain't come home this morning, hope she don't torch my shit/Every time I'm in Miami, my girl fina throw a fit/But 'fore the end of this year, I'll do King of Diamonds three more time/Smoking on that kush all in our section with Justin Bieber and the guys.

Readers' choice: E11even Miami

Cafeina Wynwood Lounge
Natalia Molina

Wynwood is the new South Beach. That is to say, it's the place cool kids want to be seen. The action is here, along with the culture and the excitement. Wynwood is the obvious location for your next celebration, art show, or public event. Whether you're looking to book a birthday party, a wedding shower, an afterparty, a musical barbecue, a graduation celebration, or just a corporate event that doesn't suck, Cafeina's lush tropical backyard, fully stocked bar, and delicious dining options are exactly the right spot in the buzz-worthy neighborhood. This place is large enough for your bash, offering a 1,560-square-foot interior lounge; a 1,000-foot art gallery; and a 5,000-square-foot outdoor space. What's most intriguing, however, is the cozy and intimate design, thanks to warm accents and plenty of flora. You can hang out in the yard and have a cookout, or you can sit by the bar and enjoy whatever local art is proudly exhibited. The space can accommodate a stage if you have some bands you want to play, or keep it casual with a DJ. The space is available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but please allow three business days for customization if you're booking for a large event.

Icon Miami
Photo by Chris Carter

When famed South Beach nightclub Mansion closed its doors last summer, many were shocked. Regardless of whether Mansion — one of the pioneers of bottle service, glammed-out performances, and South Beach swagger — was your cup of tea, everyone had to acknowledge that a Miami nightlife giant had fallen. But from its ashes rose a promising newcomer: Icon. When Miami nightlife veteran Emi Guerra spoke to New Times about Icon, he laid out big expectations. "We've been referring to it as the next-generation nightlife complex." A statement like that is easy to say and difficult to deliver. But when Icon opened its doors for the first time a few weeks later, Guerra was quickly proved prophetic. Visually, Icon is unlike anything else in Miami. Designed by local firm Thirlwall Building Design, the 30,000-square-foot space is an art-deco-inspired neon playground. If the sun had sex with a purple chandelier dipped in glitter and then their offspring went on to design a nightclub with the Miami Vice logo, you'd have something similar to Icon. The club carries on Mansion's legacy of big-name EDM and dance music while using technology to create an atmosphere that's both nostalgic and futuristic.

LIV
Courtesy of LIV

Partying with the proletariat isn't a VIP's idea of a good time. That's not to say they aren't needed. After all, if a champagne sparkler lights up a room and nobody is there to Instagram it, did it really happen? That's why any self-respecting bourgeoisie knows you need an audience to show off to. That's where LIV's skyboxes come in. Soaring above the central dance floor, almost high enough that the space's lighted domed ceiling seems within reach, the skyboxes provide the ultimate in VIP partying. It's private enough that if you want to get a little crazy without everyone witnessing the debauchery, you can do that, but it's still open enough for your own Eva Perón "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" moment playing to the cheering crowd below. What's the price? If you have to ask, you can't afford it. OK, we'll spill. According to LIV, the cost depends upon who's DJing, whether it's high or low season, and the day of the week, but expect anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 plus service charges and taxes. Chump change, really.

Floyd Miami
Photo by Adinayev

Miami doesn't do nightlife quite like anywhere else. It's loud, flashy, steamy, sexy, and — thanks to a 5 a.m. last call — up all night. Yet there are still so many nights when the party can't stop until way past sunrise. In those cases, you gotta head to NE 11th Street in the heart of downtown. The bars and clubs of that late-night district are ready and willing to rock till you drop, which might not be ever. In that case, you'll want to head to Libertine. "Whenever" is definitely this venue's operating plan for last call. It's cozy inside, comfortably fitting about 200 on a busy night. The inside is ornately decorated and dim with a candle-lit vibe, which means you can feel suave ordering bottle service at a table or another hand-crafted cocktail even if the sun has risen. There's always a bumpin' DJ playing from the club's swanky converted piano of a DJ booth. You might hear some indie dance, some hip-hop, or some deep house depending upon the night. You'll have to ask the doorman if there's a cover, but there isn't a strict dress code, and everyone is welcome. Honestly, if you're ready to drink, dance, and have a good time, who really cares what you look like?

Nassie Shahoulian, better known around these parts as Notorious Nastie, has been a fixture in Miami nightlife for decades. But it's not the type of nightlife many picture when they think of the glitz and glamour of South Beach bottle service. Nastie doesn't earn his living in the six-figure VIP sections of the 305. He's best known for throwing parties in the dark, grimy underbelly of Miami's nightlife, which, quite frankly, is its best side. Most recently, the heavily bearded entertainer — who's prone to jumping onstage in only his underpants — was behind the revival of Miami's beloved goth night, Kitchen Club, at Jada Coles and Kill Your Idol. He's also a member of Otto Von Schirach's Bermuda Triangle crew, a squad responsible for providing the music and vibes of Miami's most booty-centric shindigs. Nastie also hosts events, as he recently did for Churchill's 4/20 festival and Trick Daddy concert. And if all of that's not enough for you, Nastie will also occasionally get onstage himself and perform some wonderfully dirty parody songs, like the Cure spin­off "Friday I'm a Goth," or his rap with his Wu-Tang-inspired Jew Tang Clan.

Remember Nerf guns? Remember chasing your brother around the house while blasting him in the face with dart after dart until he begged your mother to intervene? Well, the Nerf gun is all grown up. And your brother is now a pool full of half-naked party people. One of the most Miami inventions to hit the market this year is the Champagne Machine Gun. Distributed by Miami's Jeremy Touitou, a French entrepreneur who specializes in nightlife accessories, the Champagne Machine Gun is a must-have for every Miamian with $459 and dry friends. The gun is equipped to shoot only magnum-size bottles (the ones that look like missiles) and has a range of up to 23 feet. After a few shakes, the gun can shoot for 45 seconds straight, which should give you plenty of time to soak all of your friends before turning the gun on yourself to get a taste of the good life. If Dr. Dre were a scientist, he probably would've invented something like this.

Basside has created a Miami masterpiece. Centuries from now, when futuristic divers scour the ocean floor in hopes of understanding the fabled lost city of Miami, let's hope they find this music video. It will tell them everything they ever needed to know about the 305. Filmed in a vintage '80s filter, "QLCL" features Basside spending a large portion of the video parading around in thongs and pouring bottles of champagne onto the vibrating booties of random beachgoers. It's Miami Vice meets 2 Live Crew. "Birthday sex and cheap champagne" is the refrain repeated throughout the song, and — whether in the club, in the hot tub, on the beach, or posted up against a Mercedes — Basside keeps the rich tradition of Miami bass alive with that modus operandi. This video is, in fact, the greatest two minutes and 50 seconds in Miami history. And, yes, we're including that one time Diddy punched Drake on-camera at LIV.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®