Proper Sausages
Photo by Sergio Del Giudice

Freddy and Danielle Kaufman began their meat careers selling single-pound packs of their custom sausages at South Florida farmers' markets. In early 2013, they had gained enough momentum to open their own cozy butcher shop in Miami Shores. Four years later, anyone with a passing familiarity of tubed meats knows there is simply no better sausage (about $12 for four links) in town than the ones you'll find at Proper Sausages. The beloved butchers have also branched out to ribs, bacon, and other delightfully marbled slabs of meat, as well as fresh to-go sandwiches that make for the perfect lunch break. Butcher shops are experiencing a resurgence in America but still need a lot of help. Luckily, it's not difficult to support Proper Sausages. Any carnivore with at least one working sense owes this place a visit. The Kaufmans have a pretty liberal policy on staring and drooling.

Concrete Beach Brewery
courtesy of Concrete Beach Brewery

It's true that Miami's beer scene is exploding. But what makes Concrete Beach tap into the city's community is its taproom, called the Social Hall — and rightly so. The brewery is a spot to not only refresh with a pint or two but also meet people. A robust calendar of events includes art shows, live music, contests, and beer-release parties. The brewery even hosts a monthly run where joggers loop around Wynwood for three miles and are rewarded for their efforts with discounted pints. It's this interaction with the people of Miami that makes Concrete Beach more than a place to drink beer. It's also a place to make new friends. Call it Wynwood's version of Cheers.

Readers' choice: Funky Buddha Brewery

Union Beer Store
Adrian Castro

If you're hunting whalez, look no further than Union Beer Store. Here, it's open season year-round. You're probably thinking, A craft beer mecca on Calle Ocho? Yes. Except this isn't just a beer bar and neighborhood taproom where you can find 20 unique brews on draft served alongside a variety of snacks. It's also a suds market, where refrigerated cases hold a rotating selection of hard-to-find bottles and cans (even some made in Cuba, alongside random public tastings from the owner's personal cellar). Plus, it's a growler bar, allowing you to fill to-go growlers with whatever is on tap to enjoy all that Union Beer Store bounty wherever your craft beer-loving self desires. The rotating tap list changes more often than you can count and includes beers on nitro, cask ales from a beer engine, and local stuff you won't find anywhere else (J. Wakefield Brewing even created an IPA especially for this place). It's all thanks to the husband-and-wife team of David and Cici Rodriguez, both longtime supporters of Miami's craft beer scene. David started at Lokal in 2011 and became manager/partner of the Coconut Grove restaurant's Wynwood sibling, Kush. Cici founded Miami Brew Bus. Together, these two know their brews and share that passion and knowledge with Miami via Union, which opened in February. Fashioned after a half-market/half-bar place they stumbled across in California, it's their interpretation of craft beer heaven. Any self-respecting beer aficionado would agree with them.

Bin No. 18
Courtesy of Bin No. 18

What makes a great wine bar? Is it the selection, the knowledgeable staff, or the prices? You can find all three in perfect unison at Bin 18, the chic urban bistro near the Adrienne Arsht Center that presents a classy selection of European food and drink items with a specialization in vino. The wine bar offers a dazzling array of affordable, quirky wines alongside a short (but ambitious) small-plates menu. These aren't typical wines, certainly not by the glass, but the selection is appropriate for wine nerds and casual drinkers alike. Sipping here is a pinch-yourself treat, with choices of stunning rarity and age, bottles you might count yourself lucky to stumble upon thanks to a restaurant that's been collecting for more than a decade. From a Scaia Rosso baby amarone to a La Liebre y Tortuga albarino, there's always something unique. With around 150 bottles to choose from and about 15 rotating varietals by the glass, it's best to try as many as possible during the weekday happy hour, where you can get half-priced glasses of wine and draft beer from 5 to 7 p.m. Or try the pre-theater menu: $39 for one glass of wine paired with a prix fixe of appetizer, entrée, and dessert.

The Biltmore Bar
Courtesy of the Biltmore

For a proper martini, you first must have the proper surroundings. There's no other place in Miami that exudes a more elegant, Old-World vibe than the classic Biltmore Hotel. A dark lounge decorated with pictures of actors on the red carpet in Cannes houses the room's focal point: a lushly carved wooden bar that looks like it belongs in a chic Parisian hotel. Your bartender hands you a leather-bound book of beverages, but you came here for the most regal of cocktails, so you don't even look. The classic martini (starting at $15) is the preferred libation of the likes of Winston Churchill, Dorothy Parker, and James Bond. Whether you choose vodka or gin is, of course, a matter of preference. If you take gin, you'll be rewarded with an ice-cold drink made with Martin Miller's London Dry gin (the house spirit) and topped with three olives. Forget the house-made bitters, bacon-infused bourbon, and cocktails in cans. There's a reason why the martini has stood the test of time, and this one is clear perfection in a glass. The Biltmore Bar is open Tuesday through Saturday from 4 to 1:30 a.m. and is closed Sunday and Monday.

Readers' choice: Diplomat Prime

SoCal Cantina
Allen Levin

Barman Leo Holtzman put himself on the Miami map with the Cocktail Collection, a speakeasy above the sorely missed Tobacco Road. There, Holtzman entertained guests with sleight of hand and refreshed them with his drinks. Holtzman is now a partner at SoCal, where he mixes the Gardner's margarita ($11). Instead of having the usual light-green hue, this cocktail is a gorgeous shade of blush. The secret is the red bell peppers muddled into the drink. Holtzman then uses cucumbers for freshness and serrano peppers for a slight tingle. Containing a liberal amount of Herradura tequila and garnished with peppers and a spiced-salt rim, this margarita is a delightfully fresh iteration of the classic and a much more sophisticated version than the frozen kind poured from blenders. SoCal is open Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 p.m. to midnight, Thursday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Miami Mojito Company
Cesar Morales

A well-kept secret doesn't stay that way for long, which explains why so many people know how to find Wynwood's newest hidden tiki bar. The clandestine beach-themed place popped up in December 2016 for Art Basel, but creator Cesar Morales — owner of Wood Tavern and Bar Next Door — never closed the doors. Instead, his pop-up, dubbed Miami Mojito Company, has gained impressive popularity. Accessible only through the Plant the Future corridor on the side of Wood Tavern off NW Second Avenue in Wynwood, the back-alley bar fashioned into an island tiki hut was conceived after a trip Morales took to Brazil, where he saw carts and stands peddling fresh mojitos and caipirinhas on the beach. His idea: Bring a true taste of Brazil to Miami. Today Miami Mojito Company is open seven days a week from noon till midnight or 2 a.m. And the only menu item at this 20-seater is the mojito. It starts with fresh sugar-cane juice prepared barside using a large metal contraption that presses stalks of sugar cane into a waterfall of cloudy juice. From there, it's nothing but whole mint leaves muddled in fresh-squeezed lime juice and shaken over ice with a few shots of Don Q rum. The resulting drink is not syrupy-sweet like the ones at so many tourist traps on Ocean Drive. Instead, these are blissfully refreshing, accented with just the right touch of lime and a hint of sweetness from the raw sugar-cane juice. Order them in several flavors, including blackberry, tamarind, passionfruit, and raspberry ($10 to $12). Then sit back, relax, and let the sounds of samba transport you from the streets of Wynwood to the beaches of Brazil.

Readers' choice: Ball & Chain

Tuto's Place
Nicole Danna

Miami and flan go together like San Diego and fish tacos or New York City and hot dogs. It's just part of the culture. But deciding which flan is made just the right way can be a point of contention. And the version made at Tuto's Place is arguably the finest. First things first: Don't judge this place by its decor. Forget the Southern-pride signs and bumper stickers on the walls (and the Confederate flag) and the fact that it looks more like a greasy spoon than a Cuban restaurant. This cafeteria-style eatery serving mainly breakfast or lunch from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. gets it all right, from desayuno to postre. And though the Cuban sandwich and pan con bistec may be the two most Instagrammed dishes here, the real star is the flan ($2). Just like abuela used to make, the custard is tinged a golden brown on the top and bottom from caramelized sugar. When it's turned over to serve, the jiggly flan cracks at the edges, and an ooey-gooey deluge of that liquid sugar cascades over the sides and hardens into a crystalline candy shell at the edge of the plate. If you're lucky, Tuto himself will serve it to you. The convivial old Cuban guy is most often found behind the counter.

Laterria Italiana
Photo by Gustavo Tonelli

When word came out that the Persian sundae at Fooq's included rosewater and lavender gelato churned by Midtown's Latteria Italiana, it was obvious Miami had something special on its hands. Yes, indeed, the interior of this pocket-size spot is cute as a button, with oversize blue-and-white Cuban tiles and little faded black-and-white pictures of Italian street scenes. But it's the gelato that takes you away. At first, a whiff of the pale-green pistachio flavor fills your head with a nutty aroma. But a first bite reveals the concoction has been filled with salt and pepper, making each bite like a handful of the nuts themselves. There's been candied chestnut for the holidays, along with coconut and key lime because, well, it's Miami. Owner Antonio Carrozza ventures into uncharted waters with pear and ginger, and the nutty, earthy Japanese green tea called matcha. He's even been in talks with nearby gyms to churn out a high-protein, low-sugar treat. Just call Carrozza the gelato genius.

Cindy Lou's
Courtesy of Cindy Lou's Cookies

This artisanal cookie purveyor peddles 28 varieties, including cheesecake, lemon cloud, Oreo crunch, and salted double chocolate filled with Nutella. Owned by Cindy Kruse, a local baker with more than 25 years of pastry experience at restaurants such as Barton G. and Gigi, Cindy Lou's molds and decorates every cookie by hand. The treats, priced at $3.50 apiece, are baked around the clock, and toppings and fillings are made in-house too. Her Little River storefront is open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Panther Coffee, Jimmy'z Kitchen, and Vice City Bean also carry her creations.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®