Best VIP Room 2016 | LIV | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
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.


With seven distinct areas sprawled across two floors, Twist feels like the world's largest gay board game. Roll the dice, and advance three spaces to the patio bar to get yourself a nice, strong vodka cran (at an affordable, for South Beach anyway, price). Roll again, get a one, and move up to the pop-diva-themed bar upstairs (you know, the one with framed pictures of Beyoncé, Britney, and Madonna). Whoops, you ran into the guy you went on a date with a few weeks ago but never texted back. You get sent back to the Latin bar downstairs. Refill on a margarita, and let the dice-roll lead you up to the main upstairs dance floor. Take your chance flirting with the guy in the gray tank top, only to get rejected and find yourself back downstairs in the gogo-boy room. Stuff a couple of dollar bills in some muscular Colombian's tiny briefs to revive your confidence stats. Roll again, and find yourself in the front bar near the doorway. Congratulations, you've won! Here's your prize. His name is Cameron. He's dreamy and everything you've ever wanted, but unfortunately he's visiting from Chicago for a medical supplier convention. Oh, well, that's just how board games go. Even when you win, you end up rolling your dice again at next week's game. Playing is half the fun anyway.

Readers' choice: Twist

Photo by Nikolas Koenig

When you first watch John Waters' cult classic Pink Flamingos, you're bombarded with so much gross goodness that you're left wondering why exactly Divine ate that dog shit but also loving him intensely for doing it. It's easy to conclude that maybe you just had to be there in that unique time and place to really get it. But then you see the fantastically trashy Miami drag duo Juleisy y Karla in person, and you realize this is that time and that place again, the perfect moment to shock with raw humanity and wildness. You see that the beauty in the truly raunchy is again revealed and updated for a new generation. Every second Monday of the month, Juleisy, also known as Gio Profera, hosts a particularly notable gay party with cohost Pin Tits at Basement Miami at the Miami Beach Edition. Called Gio's Total Split Show, the bash gathers the gays to vogue and party to musical acts such as Otto Von Schirach at the bowling lanes at this downstairs club. The anything-goes attitude is what makes this party and its hosts so special. And the fact that it keeps Miami Beach gay and weird amid ever-slicker commercialization warms the heart of any nostalgic old queen. But the crowd is hot, mixed, young, and old. Whatever your bag, you're guaranteed to be delightfully horrified and refreshed by the end of a long, sweaty, colorful night.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®