Best Cocktails
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
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

Beat Culture Brewing Company

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

Vacillate Wine and Beer Bar

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.

Lost Boy
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

Watr at the 1 Rooftop
1 Hotel South Beach

If you like your cocktails with a view, Watr's 18th-floor rooftop bar allows you to see nothing but the Atlantic Ocean for miles. It's also the home of a 30,000-square-foot infinity pool, so you are surrounded by crystal-blue magnificence. Of course, man cannot live on water alone, so indulge in one (or more) cocktails made with organic juices, such as the Pink Toucan, with hibiscus-infused rum, or a pineapple and mint caipirinha ($16 each). Purists can simply go for fresh coconut water, offered in the shell ($12, spiked for an additional $12). Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. or later daily (depending upon the weather). Only hotel guests are allowed before 6 p.m. After 6, everyone aged 21 or older is allowed (kids accompanied by an adult can hang out from 6 to 9 p.m.).

Readers' choice: Broken Shaker


Aventura isn't exactly known for a bustling bar scene, but Soff's at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa proves otherwise. Step inside the lobby bar, named for Aventura's visionary founder, Don Soffer, and lounge on low-slung chairs while sipping a craft cocktail ($16 and up). In addition to serving local beers and dark spirits, Soff's also offers an eclectic menu of drinks created by Cocktail Cartel, a team of Miami-based beverage consultants. Try the tequila-based Lady Marmalade, garnished with a spicy rim, and watermelon mules, which are available on tap. Visit the bar for a nightcap after dinner next door at Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak. Soff's is open from 11 a.m. to midnight daily.

Best Bartender
Cocktail Cartel

It's a curious thing that Hector Acevedo is just one person. The bartender and Cocktail Cartel co-owner is seemingly in multiple places at once: mixing drinks at special events such as Amparo and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, creating cocktail programs at some of Miami's best bars, and visiting Puerto Rico's top bars to promote the island's craft cocktail scene. You've probably sipped some of Acevedo's cocktails if you've been to La Placita in the MiMo District or Soff's at the JW Marriott Turnberry Resort. Now Acevedo is working on his own bars: Spanglish Cocktail Bar + Kitchen and Grails Sports Bar, both located in Wynwood. Spanglish will specialize in cocktails that nod to Miami's Latin culture, while Grails will pay tribute to the almighty sneaker. With all of those projects, Acevedo is a Miami talent to watch.

Best Martini
Mama Tried

Here's a fun fact: While Miami thinks it's all about the porn-star lifestyle, London has been lapping up Porn Stars for years. In fact, go into any bar and you'll likely encounter several people enjoying a Porn Star. Ask for a Porn Star, and your bartender will gladly bring one for you to admire and enjoy. Want your very own Porn Star? Doesn't everyone? Well, you could probably pick up a Porn Star at any bar in Miami, but you really want to seek out an expert. Mama Tried has the city's best Porn Star — available for only $13. This delightful creation is made with Absolut Vanilla, passionfruit, and Licor 43. It also comes with a sugar-dipped strawberry and some champagne to tickle your lips. Yes, this Porn Star is a flirty, fizzy martini. It's sweet, sexy, and one Porn Star you can proudly introduce to your mother. Hours are 3 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.

Readers' choice:Beaker & Gray

Is there a better Miami experience than gazing at the ocean while lounging in a plush chair with your toes in the sand and a minty frozen mojito in your hand? Dune Burgers on the Beach is best known for its beefy namesake, but it's the Dune frozen mojito ($18) that keeps guests coming back for more. The drink looks like one of those green concoctions that health nuts pretend to love, but you won't need to fake it with this mojito, which tastes similar to frozen lemonade but with loads of fresh mint. Add a burger and a Sunday lounge party with a local DJ spinning, and you're in for a postcard-worthy experience in Key Biscayne. Hours are sunrise to sunset Friday through Sunday.

Readers' choice: Ball & Chain

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®