Point Lounge & Package Store

The Point Lounge has something in common with your friend's mom's three-alarm chili or hot wings. Yeah, every local knows and loves the place, but — holy hell — experiencing it will hurt later. Point Lounge is a proper dive bar: The booze is cheap, and the ambiance is free. It's one of the few places left in Miami-Dade where patrons can actually smoke indoors, and, man, do they take advantage of that fact. The Point has TVs, a jukebox, friendly bartenders with a rough charm, and the option of chatting it up or remaining invisible. It also boasts a ridiculous happy hour when you can buy two and get the third free from 2 to 7 Monday through Friday. Warning: Point Lounge is also a late-night bar that closes at the ass-crack of dawn. This is not a place to take selfies or artsy photos of cocktails. Point Lounge is for drinking, laughing, relaxing, and maybe making a hilarious mistake you can brag about to your bar buddies on your next visit.

Tap 42 Fort Lauderdale
CandaceWest.com

Tap 42 checks all the boxes: great selection, good food, tasty specials, and comfortable atmosphere. If you're looking to make a double IPA disappear and want more than chicken fingers, try any one of the locations in this small chain, which has locations in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Coral Gables, midtown Miami, and Aventura. You can rely on 42-plus beers on draft, craft cocktails, delicious upscale food, and weekly specials. The Fort Lauderdale location is one of the most chill settings in all of Broward. From the bottomless brunch every weekend ($20 per person) to the daily happy hour ($2 off drinks from 4 to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close) to the weekly burger specials, there are plenty of opportunities to get topnotch craft suds for less money than you'd expect to pay for a domestic bottle most places in Miami. As far as the setting, the Fort Lauderdale location goes above and beyond, especially on the patio.

The Wilder
Photo by Chris Carter

Broward folks know it's tough to find a swanky, sexy, stylish bar without having to endure the road rage on southbound I-95, but with the recent opening of the Wilder, they can stay local and park in the expansive back lot for free. There's no signage (that's part of the point), so simply follow the well-groomed millennial crowd. There are several spaces to enjoy, from the patio decked out in Spanish tiles and blooming bougainvillea, to the intimate central bar that has the feel of a classy hotel lobby, to the expansive space in the back (outfitted with its own bar) for larger crowds. The Wilder hits all the marks with topnotch cocktails explained with whimsical illustrations, drinks such as the We Want Prenup ($14), made with gin, sage-infused vermouth, lemon honey, and Greek yogurt, and the Don't Sleep on Me ($14), a combo of Afrohead rum, Giffard Vanille de Madagascar, and taro milk tea, are très chic. Happy your runs weekdays from 4 to 7 and offers $3 off all cocktails. If you get the munchies, small bites such as the short-rib poutine ($15), panko-crusted chicken breast sliders with jalapeño spread ($12), and grilled octopus ($15) are seamlessly swooped in from next door's Foxy Brown. Miamians might want to consider the trek north for this gem.

Duffy's Sports Grill
Photo courtesy of Duffy's Sports Grill

Yeah, yeah, Duffy's Sports Grill is a chain, but, hey, this is Florida's chain! And Duffy's in North Miami Beach is something special to behold. Not only is this 25,000-square-foot restaurant and bar massive, but also the huge covered deck overlooking the water is simply stunning. Let's talk sports. Duffy's has every major sports package and about 150 flat-screens. It's almost impossible not to get a seat with your own TV to watch whatever sporting event you desire. Let's talk booze. Duffy's offers one of the greatest drink specials available: Buy one, get one free for almost every beer and mixed drink. This deal isn't just for happy hour. It's all day every day. That's right: BOGO booze as soon as you step in the door. Last but not least, let's talk food. Essentials at every sports bar are the chicken wings, and Duffy's does not disappoint. Its best wings are breaded with a signature firecracker sauce ($12.99). They're crisp on the outside and moist and tender on the inside and come tossed in that spicy yet slightly sweet firecracker sauce. This place caters to almost every palate. There's even a gluten-sensitive menu. Stop by Duffy's in North Miami Beach for a wonderful sporting experience — whether you sit inside or out, you'll leave with a smile on your face, especially if your team wins. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Rusty Pelican
Photo courtesy of Rusty Pelican

Here's a reason to visit the Rusty Pelican for something other than Mother's Day and your birthday: happy hour. Every Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., the lounge at the Pelican offers some of the top deals in Miami with arguably the most striking view in South Florida. Grab a seat at an outdoor table near the flaming fire pit. Sip $6 beers; $7 well drinks such as martinis, mojitos, and margaritas; and $6 house wines. Chow down on small bites such as corvina ceviche ($8) and Serrano ham croquettes ($10). After all these years, it's fair to say the Pelican's swank atmosphere remains a culinary example and a Miami landmark.

Her given name may be Courtney, but like many badasses — Madonna, Cher, Beyoncé — this 26-year-old bartender is simply known as Lane. Starting out, as most drink slingers do, Lane did her share of working at dance clubs and socials in Gainesville, where she opened cans of Bud Light and poured rum and Cokes made with cheap well liquor. The petite blonde decided there's more to life behind the stick, and from there it's been accolade after accolade. In 2015, Lane got her big break working the artist and media bar at III Points. From there, it's been an uphill trajectory, with Lane working at what are arguably Miami Beach's finest cocktail bars — Employees Only and Broken Shaker. At the bar, she's a whirling dervish of shaking, mixing, and pouring. Recently, she and her Employees Only partner won top prize at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival's Art of Tiki competition for a drink they created. Lane is someone whom young girls should strive to be and everyone wants to know — a talented, driven woman who will fix you the best cocktail of your life.

Broken Shaker
Karli Evans

Once upon a time, two men named Gabe Ora and Elad Zvi decided to open a pop-up bar at a Miami Beach hostel. This was way back when dinosaurs walked the Earth, pop-ups were rare, and a well-made cocktail on the Beach was even rarer. That didn't stop these intrepid heroes, who made crafted drinks using freshly grown herbs, premium spirits, and house-made bitters. Pretty soon, Miami Beach imbibers learned there was a world beyond vodka Red Bulls and frozen piña coladas made with grain alcohol. The local cocktail movement grew, and quality bars opened. Meanwhile, the little pop-up, which was named the Broken Shaker, became a permanent fixture at the Freehand on Indian Creek Drive. It began winning national and international awards, and celebrities were seen hanging out and drinking its delicious creations. The little bar expanded to Los Angeles and Chicago, and there are plans to open soon in New York City. Despite its popularity and accolades from across the nation, the bar remains a fun place to chill. Though success and fame haven't gone to its founder's heads, a few cocktails ($12 to $13) just might.

Best Bloody Mary
Photo by Laine Doss

Behold man's greatest invention: the bloody mary. This elixir of the gods does what no other libation can hope to do — revive the dead. But not all bloodys are the same. In order for this magical potion to work its spell, it must have the correct amount of spice and a substantial amount of booze. The perfect bloody must always be served with a wedge of citrus and olives (because the citrus and brine are additional hangover helpers). Berries in the Grove's bloody checks all the boxes. Take a sip of this tall drink and feel the blood rush back into your body and the steady thumping of both head and heart slow to a controllable pace. Take another sip as your hands steady themselves and relax in the beautiful indoor/outdoor setting. Settle in for a spell. They cost only seven bucks each, so make a day of it. The restaurant opens at 7 a.m. daily and closes at 10 p.m. Sunday, 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Best Mojito
Courtesy of Estefan Enterprises

The mojito is a mingling of ingredients found everywhere in Cuba — rum, limes, mint, and sugarcane — plus soda water because the weather is so damn hot. In Miami, the drink is equally loved by locals and tourists. And because a good mojito requires an extreme amount of muddling, it is despised by busy bartenders. These days, what separates a good mojito from a watery, oversweetened one is pretty obvious: quality rum and fresh ingredients. That means a good white rum for its smooth, clean flavor; lime juice so fresh it will turn your drink opaque; and fresh, not processed, cane sugar. And don't forget the fresh mint leaves. That's the way Gloria and Emilio Estefan's restaurant Larios on the Beach makes its mojitos. Plus, each is served with a slice of real sugarcane in the glass. The traditional costs $15; for a dollar more, try flavors such as watermelon, passionfruit, strawberry, and mango. Or go all-out with a giant pitcher to share with friends for $55.

Question: What happens when a world-class chef adds his own twist to a classic cocktail? Answer: Bar Centro's Clean 'n Dirty martini ($16). Instead of using the olive-juice dregs poured into the usual dirty martini, this beauty is made with olive brine "air" — a delicate wisp of salty foam that tastes like a mermaid's kiss. The brine air is the genius of chef José Andrés, whose culinary influence at his neighboring restaurant, the Bazaar, extends to this bar. The cocktail, made with vodka (ask for gin for a more complex drink, or stick with vodka if you want that mermaid's kiss to linger), is topped with an olive spherification instead of an olive. Again, the chef is at work, gently encapsulating the essence of an olive into a delicate swirling dome of perfection that you can pop in your mouth. This drink is the ultimate marriage of classic flavors and modern technique. Hours are 6 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, and lunch is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®