Best Party Venue 2016 | Cafeina | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
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.

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.

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.

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.

"You smart. You loyal. Matter fact, you a genius." Those words, immortalized forever in the music video for DJ Khaled's "Hold You Down," helped propel the former 99 Jamz DJ to far greater heights of cultural relevancy than anyone could have predicted. It's easy to imagine that video's director when he ordered the whole production team off the set so he could get the shot without anyone laughing. Gil Green knows how to handle Khaled and make him look his meme-worthy best. Green has been working with the affable producer since 2007's "We Takin' Over." But Green's resumé goes much deeper than working with America's favorite cocoa butter enthusiast. He's also the man behind many of Miami's most iconic music clips, from Rick Ross' "Aston Martin Music" to Ace Hood's "Bugatti." He's proudest of his videos with a message, in particular Lupe Fiasco's "Bitch Bad," but he sure knows how to film a party scene. Just check Lil Jon's "What You Gon Do." Green won an MTV Award for Lil Wayne's "Lollipop," and he most recently killed it with the colorful, super-'80s, super-Miami images for Pitbull's "F.U.N.," featuring Chris Brown. You might have also seen his work at the American Airlines Arena, because he's the official director of all of those Miami Heat intro and promo clips. It suffices to say that Green keeps this city at the heart of everything he does, and the way he makes our city shine onscreen has us all feeling like we just listened to a Khaled inspirational speech on repeat.

Photo courtesy of Karaoke by Bernie

Karaoke is like a sex joke dropped in a stuffy business meeting — it'll either be a raging, knee-slapping riot or a horrible, cringe-worthy embarrassment. For 12 years running, Seven Seas Bar has hosted a karaoke night that consistently hits the highs and avoids the awkward lows. Host Bernie holds the scene together three days a week, offering thousands of jams ranging from all genres and styles for silly crooners to attempt — for better or worse. The nautical-themed bar provides a laid-back atmosphere devoid of pretentiousness, a place where everyone is welcome and no judgments are cast. The drinks flow cold and crisp, ready to lower your inhibitions and loosen up those belting muscles. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, the mike is open from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., and while Saturday is usually the busiest and Tuesday is often more of a locals affair, Bernie says every week is different. A karaoke night doesn't thrive in Miami for 12 years without bringing something special to the table.

Readers' choice: Ball & Chain

Photo by Rod Deal

In Miami, one of the most important parts of your night out is usually in the hands of someone else: the DJ. Sometimes, this can be good. But sometimes, you're forced to listen to Pitbull and the Black Eyed Peas until your ears shrivel up like raisins. This is not good. But there are still a few joints in Miami that adhere to a more democratic approach, musically speaking. We're talking about the jukebox. Our forefathers would have been proud. It's the most American way to compose a soundtrack, because everyone gets a say (assuming they have some extra cash — just like in the real democratic system). Any chump who can scrounge up a few quarters can subject the entire bar to any musical adventure, from Journey to Rick Ross. And few places do this better than Lost Weekend. While live music thrives next door at Kill Your Idol, Lost Weekend — a comfortable haven of flat-screen TV sets, pool tables, and foosball — offers its patrons a chance to control their own sonic fate at jukeboxes stocked with plenty of classics, '90s rock, hip-hop, and anything else you'd want to jam to while sinking an eight ball. Other venues in South Beach need to take note. Can you imagine if LIV let its customers pick each song? If nothing else, it'd be more entertaining than watching Calvin Harris pick his nose for 45 minutes.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®