Best Bar Food
Courtesy of Ricky's

Ever get a little crunk with your friends and tell them you wish you had a giant plate of mac 'n' cheese in front of you? Then one of your friends sees that and raises you one by adding pulled pork to the dream dish? The drunk-food gods understand your fantasy. They have given you Ricky's. At this South Beach bar, find mac 'n' cheese-stuffed waffles with smoked pulled pork ($11); fries loaded with jalapeño Cheez Whiz, bacon, and fried cherry peppers ($8); and sliders with bacon and tater tots ($4.50). There's also gourmet popcorn and corn dogs because why not? Save room for dessert, and you'll be rewarded with childhood favorites from the "Carnival Sweets" menu: bomb pops and Snickers bars. Add a crafted cocktail menu and videogames, and you're 15 again, but with a credit card and the ability to legally drink alcohol. Whooo! Ricky's is open Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Readers' choice: Tap 42

Best Bartender
Courtesy of Bitter Truth

If you live in Miami, Teddy Collins has likely already served you a cocktail and a smile. The affable barman, originally from Rhode Island, moved to South Florida for college and, like many of us, fell for the beaches and nightlife. Collins has worked behind the stick at favorites like Radio Bar and Dolce Italian, but it's at his midtown Miami spot, Bitter Truth, that the barman really feels free. Her serves, in his own words, "fair and balanced" cocktails including a Sazerac made with cold-brew coffee and a Moscow mule in a fruit juice can ($13). The best deal in town, however, is his daily punch ($5), poured from a handmade Rube Goldberg contraption of pipes and lighting fixtures. The bar is open Wednesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Best Happy Hour
Courtesy of GK Bistronomie

Camouflaged amid Wynwood's bright, sprawling murals, this sleek industrial spot offers a happy hour that's the best-kept secret in this boozy hood. While the hipsters flock to Wood and Gramps in never-ending lines, the folks at GK Bistronomie usher their happy-hour patrons to either a stool at the counter or a table — the latter comes with a server, who shuttles orders and drinks back and forth from the bartender to guests. The drink selection isn't limited to brews on tap: GK serves elaborate $5 cocktails like frothy chicha pisco sours and all the Moscow mules and margaritas a thirsty soul can swig between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. And if your tummy starts grumbling, this place also dishes up savory, artistic small plates such as fish tacos and yuca fries for a reasonable chunk of change. Without the eardrum-shattering tunes or crowds of other establishments, it's the ideal spot to exchange workplace horror stories, talk shit with your besties, or meet a Tinder date IRL. If you snag a booth by the street-facing windows, you can sip with delight as you watch the skinny-jeans zombies stampede past.

Readers' choice: Sweet Liberty

Boatyard
Courtesy of TRP Restaurant Group

What's better than ladies' night at a waterfront bar? Ladies' night on a boat. And that's what you get at the all-new Boatyard in Fort Lauderdale, where an exceptionally awesome evening de la mujer goes down every Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m. Those of the female persuasion drink free at any one of the restaurant's three bars, including an outdoor fire-pit lounge area. Each bar offers a wide selection of complimentary bubbly, cocktails, house wine, and domestic beer. A ladies-only happy hour begins at 4 p.m., when all drinks, including wine by the glass and specialty cocktails, are half off. Get there early, and you and your girls can snag a spot on one of Boatyard's complimentary champagne cruises on the Intracoastal, which depart hourly at 7:15, 8:15, and 9:15 p.m. Onboard, you can sip free champagne, house liquor, house wine, and domestic beer. Reservations for the boat rides, which hold ten passengers, are first come, first served.

Ora Nightclub
Courtesy of World Red Eye

The era of the traditional VIP room is over. Everyone is VIP these days. Just stand next to any velvet rope in South Beach, and sure enough, you'll hear someone scream, "Don't you know who I am?" after being denied entry. So what do you do when everyone feels like a special snowflake? You make your entire club one big VIP section. That's exactly what Ora Nightclub did when it took over the former Adore space at the Boulan South Beach. The 10,000-square-foot space is decorated like a megaclub but feels intimate anyway. Upstairs you'll find the Anti-Social Room, a sort of club within a club that offers well-made cocktails and a decibel level that allows you to have a conversation with your fellow VIPs. Recently, nightlife heavyweights Emi Guerra and Louis Diaz joined the Ora team, so the programming, which veers toward house music, is expected to ramp up throughout the year. However, be warned: At the door, Ora is by no means egalitarian. If you don't look the part or your group's gender balance is out of whack, you'll probably encounter roadblocks. But isn't trying to get in half the fun?

Best Party
Courtesy of Klangbox.FM

Staying up until an ungodly hour to see your favorite DJ spin is something you can handle only once in a while. Sometimes you just want to get home at a decent hour and wake up without a hangover. Enter Vamos a la Playa: Laura (of Miami) and Patrick Walsh's late-afternoon-until-early-evening party at Gramps. The Klangbox.FM crew throws the party on select Sundays, because weekly parties are so passé these days. Acts that have appeared so far include In Flagranti, Palmbomen II, Jacques Renault, and King Britt. Plus, there's no cover, which means you can put that money toward your bar tab. And because the party wraps up around midnight, you can still make it to work Monday and spend your day dreaming about the next time Klangbox.FM lures you out for a fun night.

Best Doorman
Courtesy of Alan T

If you've been around Miami's club scene, you know Alan T. He's flamboyant, loud, aggressive, charming, and funny all at the same time. He has to be. He deals with throngs of people trying to get into some of the city's brightest hot spots. He has to hear, "But I know so-and-so, and he told me I was on the list!" about a hundred times every night. So you can't blame him for being curt with patrons. However, unlike the French doormen that litter Miami Beach's nightclubs, Alan T puts on a show, sometimes with a loudspeaker to amplify the insults he throws at people. Currently, he works for Space on Saturdays, but he's been around, working the doors for spots such as Pawn Shop Lounge and Nocturnal. In addition to being a doorman, he's also a house-music vocalist (he has the Discogs page to prove it) and holds a master's in architecture from Columbia University. He's basically a nightlife renaissance man. Still, Alan T's greatest talent is making the door at Space more interesting.

Best Promoter
Photo by Emanuele D'Angelo

Men tend to dominate the nightlife game in Miami. It's not that there aren't plenty of women who are involved. It's just that reporters — including some at this paper — can be a bit myopic when it comes to the women playing the game well. Nobody — man or woman — plays it better than PL0T founder Becks Lange. Her parties have long been the talk of the town, but she has really found her groove in the past few years thanks to stellar events such as the yearly Life and Death bash during Art Basel. And because Lange isn't necessarily beholden to one venue, PL0T parties float around to places like the Electric Pickle, Trade, 1306, and Bardot. (That being said, if you want to catch one of PL0T's parties, the Pickle seems to host them with some regularity.) She and her cohort of nightlife denizens are free to mold the events to their vision. They book some high-caliber underground dance acts like Nina Kraviz, DJ Tennis, and Âme. Lange doesn't do your average EDM fare and instead wants to expose Miami to acts that are bringing something different to the table. Miami is lucky to have her.

Sing Sing Karaoke

Karaoke might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Sing Sing. But the place is based on the hugely popular establishments in Japan that include multiple private rooms, each equipped with a karaoke player and microphones. At its flagship in Miami and two locations in New York, Sing Sing provides a public space, complete with a small stage in the corner, for budding sopranos or tenors walking in off the street. But the real value is in the private rooms. Standard room rates run about $8 per person for a space that accommodates ten to 12 people. Happy-hour pricing, from opening till 8 p.m., is about $4 per person. Plus, VIP rooms offer space for up to 22 people and are ideal for birthday and wedding parties. Sing Sing is open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m., and Sunday from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. The music catalog is regularly updated and about as international as Miami, with songs in Chinese, Russian, Spanish, and English. Though, yes, it's necessary to buy a drink in order to sing in the public space, that's sort of the point, isn't it? Plus, you never know who you might run into. In 2014, none other than Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland crashed a karaoke set of a Destiny's Child song by a pair of very surprised customers. This place is all about being a star for a night.

Readers' choice: Ricky's South Beach

Best Place to Meet Single Men
courtesy of the Rhythm Foundation

Actually, finding single men isn't the difficult part. They're everywhere! They're sitting around the table at every poker game, chugging Bud Light at every sports bar in town, and ogling bikinis on South Beach every weekend. But those aren't the kind of single fellas you're looking for. You want a man who wants to spend the night paying attention to you and — gasp — who is willing to try something new. You'll find him every second Thursday of the month at the North Beach Bandshell, at Dance Band Night, an entirely free event (with an option to donate) put on by the Rhythm Foundation. The event comes in two parts: At 7 p.m., experts give lessons in every type of dance you might want to try in Miami, including salsa, swing, samba, and konpa. There is also a happy hour, when you can partake of a little liquid social lubrication to loosen things up. Then, at 8 p.m., you can put the moves you just learned to use with a concert from a killer live act such as Rose Max Samba Band or Batuke Samba Funk. If you can't find romance here — with stars in the sky, music in the air, and the beach only steps away — you might as well give up.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®