Best Latin Act 2019 | Cortadito | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Edwin Cardona

It's named for your favorite caffeinated pick-me-up, and it might just be your favorite Latin band in Miami. As Latin artists top the charts and the world falls in love with the contemporary music coming out of Latin America, Cuban band Cortadito wants to remind listeners that the boleros and son of the 20th Century can still get you dancing in 2019. In late 2018, the band released a set of songs in those musical styles on Canciones de Julio, aptly named for Cortadito's songwriter, Julio Cesar Rodriguez Delet. The band keeps its itinerary stacked with appearances at festivals such as GroundUp and Afro Roots Fest, as well as performances throughout South Florida. In late June, the band will open for legendary Cuban pianist Chucho Valdez as part of the Rhythm Foundation's concert series Hollywood ArtsPark Experience.

Courtesy of James Lance

With reggaeton and Latin trap reaching new heights in mainstream popularity, it's only a matter of time before Miami produces a hitmaker to call its own within those genres. Colombiano James Lance has a good shot at being that artist. Since 2017, he's been working hard on pushing the local Latin-trap scene to the forefront. His style is darker than the stuff by chart-toppers such as Bad Bunny and J Balvin, but his flow remains hypnotic, with hooks in the right place to make sure the songs can't escape your head. On the lover-scorned track "Traicionera," he emotes, "Oye, mami, hasta el día que te fuiste/No te diste cuenta del daño que me hiciste/Queriendo regresar del error que cometiste/Pero el amor a ti baby ya lo perdiste." Lance has also cut tracks in English, such as "Bout It" and "2AM," but he's undeniably stronger — and more memorable — when he sings in Spanish.

La Victoria Social Club

Some places are perfect for turning up the heat on the dance floor in Miami, and one of those spots is La Victoria. Get ready to sweat it all out as you groove to salsa, bachata, merengue, and more at this Design District hideout. Go solo and low-key or big and bougie with a table reservation or private event. La Victoria offers everything you could possibly want in terms of drinks, including bottles of champagne for a cool $1,400. But you won't need to break the bank for snacks such as empanadas de carne ($8) and yuca fries ($7) or full-on meals like tostones con carne ($14) and chicken caesar salad ($13). After you've done some damage, get back out on the dance floor and sweat off those tostones. Hours are 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Readers' choice: El Patio Wynwood

Carolina Menendez

Roger del Pino's electro project, Monterrey, expanded to new heights over the past year. Its four-song EP, Elapse, continued in that laid-back chillwave tradition that will please fans of Washed Out and M83. Monterrey's music always had that '80s synth vibe reminiscent of a lost episode of Stranger Things, but its latest video for "Make Me Feel," with its camcorder textures, made fans especially nostalgic for a noir New Wave Miami that probably never existed. To translate its hypnotic recordings into a live setting, Monterrey has expanded into a four-piece band with a live drummer, bassist, guitarist, and ever-present synths to take audiences on a dark, groove-filled musical journey.


Miami DJ Danny Daze runs his supermysterious, vinyl-only label with partners Anshaw Black and Biz Martinez. Churning out an impeccably curated stream of darker, stranger beats, Omnidisc is distributed by prestigious vinyl distribution companies Kompakt and Clone and is sold at Rush Hour in Amsterdam, Hardwax in Berlin, Technique in Tokyo, and other major record stores around the world. If your record player is out of reach, Omnidisc also regularly streams sets on its SoundCloud page. Recent additions have included mixes by Vivian Koch as well as by Danny Daze and Anshaw Black themselves.

Falyn Freyman

The typical millennial wax fiend stays closer to I-95 and Biscayne Boulevard when hunting coveted vinyl, but Yesterday and Today Records, out west on Bird Road at 92nd Avenue, has been serving the record-loving masses since well before the vinyl revival began about a decade ago. This year, Miami's oldest indie record shop celebrates 38 years of validating vinyl, even at times when it seemed CDs and streaming might render the format obsolete. "There was a change, but we always believed in vinyl," Y&T owner Evan Chern told New Times earlier this year. The store's overflowing crates and floor-to-ceiling inventory are proof of that loyalty and faith.

Jessica Gibbs

In a city as young and dynamic as Miami, few venues have as much history and staying power as the Olympia Theater. Opened in 1926, it has survived decades of cultural shifts and even a World War. Although it might be best known for its comedy shows and as a host venue for the Miami Film Festival, the Olympia has beefed up its musical repertoire over the past couple of years. Recent musical performers have included Joe Jackson, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Postmodern Jukebox, and the Mavericks.

Readers' choice: The Fillmore Miami Beach

Photo courtesy of the Rhythm Foundation

From experimental Argentine folk-pop to left-field jazz to dubbed-out Caribbean sounds, the North Beach Bandshell, helmed by nonprofit talent booker the Rhythm Foundation, continues to provide community-focused music programming in Miami Beach, even as other cultural venues fade away. In the past year alone, the charming, open-air amphitheater — which in 2009 was named to the National Register of Historic Places as a gem of Miami Modernism — has hosted countless seaside concerts, like the New York Times-acclaimed GroundUp Music Festival and the Miami Reggae Festival. While the Rhythm Foundation clearly has an ear turned toward innovative world sounds and the goal of fostering cross-cultural connections for Miami's residents, it hasn't forgotten about the city's wealth of homegrown talent, often pairing the best local acts with international headliners for a more dynamic bill. Favorite Latin electro-pop duo Afrobeta opened for headliner Juana Molina last September, Spam Allstars set the mood for a special Valentine's Day evening earlier this year, and local group Nu Deco Ensemble performed its alternative orchestral arrangements alongside visiting Grammy-winning Afro-pop artist Angélique Kidjo. Even if you've never heard the performer's name, you can rest assured tickets to a show at the Bandshell will grant you admittance to a one-of-a-kind cultural experience in a gorgeous setting that puts locals — and local acts — at the forefront.

The original Le Chat Noir was a watering hole for late-19th-century Parisians, but in 2019 it's a hole-in-the-wall in downtown Miami. There's a whole lot of joie de vivre in this joint, with live jazz from up-and-coming savants and internationally recognized musical masters alike featured throughout the week. Plus, there aren't many places in Miami with cellars, making this intimate music venue all the more charming. And if you're hungry, Le Chat Noir has you covered with affordable paninis: $12 includes a salad or soup of the day plus cheese and charcuterie plates. As for wine, bien sûr, there's plenty of it, because nothing goes better with live jazz than a glass of vin. Summer hours are 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 6 p.m. to midnight Sunday. Live music begins at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday nights at 7 p.m., Pub 52 in South Miami is where you can get your dose of bebop, smooth jazz, free jazz, Latin jazz, and a bit of the blues. Each hump night, the gastropub hosts Jazz and Blues Wednesday, inviting jazz lovers to check out Miami's vibrant scene. Among the acts that perform here on the regular are the Alan Aldao Jazz Quartet, Mike Levine, the Lindsey Blair Quartet, and Brazilian jazz band Rose Max and Ramatis. Best of all, there's no pretension at Pub 52. Its low-key, chill atmosphere lets purists, aficionados, and newbies dig into the music while nursing a cold beverage or hot meal. Hours are 4 to 11 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to midnight Wednesday and Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®