Best Bar Food 2019 | Jaguar Sun | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Jaguar Sun photo

Begone, ye olde tired chicken wings and mozzarella sticks, because bar food has gotten an upgrade at Jaguar Sun. The cocktail bar, located in the X Miami building, is known for drinks by bartender Will Thompson, but chef/owner Carey Hynes is the one upping the bar-chow game. Instead of gorging yourself on high-fat fried foods, why not dip some fresh Parker House rolls into a ramekin of duck jus ($4)? You won't miss chicken wings when you have aged country ham ($9) to pair with your drink. But the most genius part of the menu here are the four pasta dishes, each satisfying and soulful. The campanelle with mussels and saffron ($18) works best with rum cocktails. And everything goes with the bucatini, tossed with Parmesan, Pecorino-Romano, and black pepper ($14). Pasta as bar food? It's so obvious yet such a revelation you'll kick yourself for stuffing your face with onion rings and pub burgers all these years. Hours are 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. (food served till 11 p.m.) Monday through Thursday, and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. (food served till midnight) Friday and Saturday.

Readers' choice: Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company

Batch photo

When Batch opened more than six years ago in Brickell, the restaurant promised to bring a real-deal gastropub to the neighborhood. More than half a decade later, Batch has made good on its word. In addition to offering an expansive lineup of wine, cocktails, and beer — including a number of options from local breweries such as Funky Buddha, MIA Beer Company, and Barrel of Monks — Batch serves an eclectic menu of food beyond your typical bar fare. There are sticky pork bao buns, made with nine-hour-smoked pork and Korean barbecue sauce ($13.50), alongside smoked avocado toast garnished with blistered grape tomatoes and cotija cheese ($11.50). You'll want to order dessert too. Go for the mud pie, where vanilla and coffee ice cream is placed in an Oreo cookie crust with peanut butter cups, warm chocolate, and caramel whiskey fudge ($8). Hours are 11:30 to 1 a.m. Monday through Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday.

Readers' choice: American Social

The Dive Bar

When you're a dive bar and your name is "the Dive Bar," you'd better be the best in your field. Fortunately, this Fort Lauderdale spot, located on A1A along the Galt Ocean Mile, delivers big time. Cozy up to the expansive wooden bar and pound a few brewskis with the locals at any hour — beers start at just $3. This no-frills spot has a stellar happy hour offering two-for-one well drinks, wine, and domestic beers daily until 8 p.m. ($5 and up). And there's plenty to keep you occupied here beyond the cold drinks. In addition to playing pool and videogames, you can belt your heart out during a karaoke session or rock out to live tunes throughout the week. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

The United States was once filled with roadside tiki bars and dinner-show venues. There, your grandparents would dress up to watch fire dancers and hula girls while dining on crab rangoon and pupu platters and sipping drinks called the Jet Pilot and the Zombie. These days, only a handful of those places remain. South Florida is lucky to boast one of the most glorious examples. Perpetually lit tiki torches welcome thirsty travelers from far corners. Sure, the Mai-Kai offers a spectacular dinner show, but the real fun is at the Molokai Bar. Here, servers clad in bikini tops and sarongs serve classic tiki drinks. You'll find no foams, dry ice, or other trappings of molecular gastronomy here. Instead, you'll sip grogs, rum barrels, and Mai Tais the way they were meant to be enjoyed — from shrunken ceramic heads festooned with tiny paper umbrellas and maraschino cherries in an atomic shade of red. Go ahead and add your name to the lampshades that bear the monikers of thousands of people who came before you, and listen to the thunderous beat of the drums while the show goes on in the next room. Then venture out to the tiki garden for a selfie. It's a slice of Americana that's both fantastic and authentic at the same time. Hours are 5 to about 10 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 5 to about 11:30 p.m. Friday, 5 to about 11 p.m. Saturday, and 4 to about 10:30 p.m. Sunday. If guests want drinks after the show, the bar remains open until everyone leaves.

Readers' choice: GG's Waterfront

Photo by Karli Evans

Oddly, for a city known as one of the party capitals of the world, it's pretty difficult to find good food after midnight in Miami — and it's damn near impossible to find grub in the wee hours of the morning. But the Corner has got your back. This small, comfortable speakeasy offers food until almost dawn. The menu is concise yet offers everything you need to sate your drunk ass at, say, 3 in the morning. From bar snacks like deviled eggs and pan con tomate ($4 each) to a classic BLT ($8), the food is exactly what your body craves after a few drinks. Be sure to get the smoky weenies ($5.50) — a crock of tiny hot dogs served with toothpicks. If your buzz begins to wear off, don't despair — the Corner slings drinks as long as it's open, so you can keep the party going into the next day. Hours are 4 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Readers' choice: Coyo Taco

Generator Miami

The Broken Shaker at the Freehand introduced Miami Beach to the concept of a hip bar housed inside a cool hostel. Now comes the next iteration of the bar-in-a-hostel series. Jim & Neesie, located inside the Generator, is a chill yet upscale space designed to resemble the living room of a fictional, chic European couple: Jim and Neesie. Brick walls and dangling lanterns set the scene for the bar's unique bottle cocktails. Each one arrives at the table already prepared and served at a precise 28 degrees Fahrenheit. The bartender then pours the drinks into glasses filled with one large ice cube. With a flourish, a garnish is added. A negroni supreme ($13), the classic drink of Italy, is made with raspberry-and-pistachio-infused gin and finished with a spritz of lavender, but the standout is the OMFG margarita ($13), made with a hint of fresh tangerine that adds a natural sweetness to the tart lime flavor. The bottled cocktails ensure your drink is perfect — much like the lives of our fictional besties who opened their home to entertain us. Hours are 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily; last serving is at midnight.

Readers' choice: Broken Shaker

Barter Wynwood

Here's the deal: You want to hang with your friends, but you've got only a Hamilton to spare. Well, that ten-dollar Founding Father could get you a beer at most places, but take it to Barter during happy hour for a world of opportunities. From 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, beers are $3, bites are $4, and cocktails are $5, so let's get busy with some simple math: Ten bucks gets you two beers and a snack, a cocktail and a snack, three beers, two snacks, or two cocktails... You get it. The combinations seem endless. But here's where it gets better: What if you don't have any money at all? Scour your apartment for hidden treasures — the vintage camera from your uncle, your abuela's childhood doll that stares at you a little too creepily, the tiki mug you got in Hawaii. Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m., Barter will actually take your coolest vintage items as a trade if the bartenders think they're unique, but call ahead to confirm. That creepy doll just became your Saturday-night happy-hour bar tab. Barter is open daily from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. except Wednesday, when it closes at 1 a.m.

Readers' choice: Bodega Taqueria y Tequila


You're on your way to Miami International Airport and you're a bit tense. Already a nervous flier, you're filled with anxiety that's fueled by the huge hole in your sock and everyone is going to judge you when you take your shoes off at the TSA checkpoint. Don't freak out — take a breath and head to Beat Culture Brewery for a relaxing pint on your way to the airport. The brewery, just a few minutes from MIA, opens daily at 8 a.m., which means you have plenty of time to stop in for a hazy, juicy Social Club IPA ($5 to $7). Not hopping that jet to Barcelona after all? Why not try a flight of beer? Beat Culture's flights allow you to sample four short beers of the brewery's choosing ($11). After you're properly fueled up, you can face anything — from a transatlantic flight to gridlock on the Dolphin Expressway — with a smile. (But, of course, always drink responsibly.) Hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 8 a.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday.

Readers' choice: Wynwood Brewing Company


Are you intimidated by wine? Would you like to expand your horizons beyond the boozy BOGO grape juice of the week? Well, how about being gently schooled by a level-three sommelier at a wine bar that's comfortable and welcoming? Now, what if that wine bar isn't in Paris (or even Brickell) but in Kendall? Vacillate opened last fall with the mission to help Miamians fall in love with good wine. The good stuff, by the way, doesn't mean you need to take out a second mortgage to drink some highfalutin hooch. Most of these wines are priced around $30 per bottle. If you want to explore, a flight of six wines costs just $11. Vacillate also offers tapas, beer, and live entertainment almost daily. Before you know it, you'll be saying words like "terroir" and "mouthfeel." See how easy (and cheap) it can be to get fancy? Hours are 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Sunday.

Photo by Naty Pascual

There are days when you want to sip nitrogen cocktails with durian espuma under pulsating beats and colored lights, and then there are days when you simply want a good drink in a low-key, welcoming bar. Lost Boy returns sanity to drinking with its cool, no-nonsense vibe, brick walls, and tasteful decor. The drinks are solid classics with a bit of a twist. A penicillin ($13) is freshened up with ginger and orange blossom honey, a caipirinha ($13) gets spicy with a hit of sriracha, and an espresso martini is made mellow with a touch of CBD oil ($15). Can't decide? Order the My Idea! ($13) and your bartender will make you a bespoke cocktail. And don't miss half off drinks during happy hour from 4 to 8 p.m. The bar is open from noon to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday; it opens earlier for soccer matches.

Readers' choice: Gramps

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