Motek Mediterranean Cafe & Restaurant
Photo by Tessa Levy

It's been a long morning. First there was the guy who brought back his Rolex Presidential complaining about a scratch. You saw his pictures on Instagram. What did he think was going to happen wakeboarding? Then there was the couple who wanted Cartier love bracelets, the ones with diamond, but didn't want to pay for them. Some days it'd be easier to hawk lychees on the side of a road. Thankfully, beloved Israeli chef Einat Admony's Motek Café sits on the ground floor of the Seybold Building and in this bright (but not jewelry-case-bright) space, you can relax with the flaky Yemeni flatbread called malawach ($9.95), a simple plate of hummus with pita ($8.95), or the heftier Arayes burger ($16.95) in which juicy Lebanese spiced beef is given a hard char on the grill, then packed into a pita. Eat slow, because afterward it's back to the diamond mines.

J. Wakefield Brewing
Photo courtesy of J. Wakefield Brewing

When Johnathan Wakefield opened his Wynwood brewery, there was already a buzz. The young brewer mounted a crowdfunding campaign to raise $55,000 and surpassed that goal within a day. The brewery is known for its sours, Berliner Weisse-style beers brewed with local fruits. Wakefield is fiercely proud of the fact that his 15-barrel brew house is completely independently owned and operated in a city that is rapidly filling with taprooms owned by the corporate players. Despite its small size, J. Wakefield is renowned among beer aficionados the world over, who flock to the Star Wars-themed taproom for its core brews and special releases. Wakefield is truly Miami in a glass.

Doraku Izakaya and Sushi
Courtesy of Doraku

Any restaurant can knock a few bucks off the house wine and well booze and call it "happy hour." But Doraku elevates the drinks door-buster to a new level. Every day from 5 to 7 p.m. — weekends included! — this Lincoln Road staple shows everyone else how its done. Four dollars gets you actual food like kurobuta sausage, crispy pig ears, and salmon harami. Another $4 buys you a Wynwood Brewing Co. La Rubia on draft. For $6, you can get a salmon or tuna roll, a margarita, sangria, or a lychee martini. Seven bucks buys you vegetable tempura, spicy-tuna rice, or shots of Ketel One or Don Julio. In other words, if you have a Hamilton in your pocket, you can actually get a drink and food. If you're holding a Jackson, you can feast. Doraku may actually be the best deal in all of South Beach. Happy hour offered daily (except holidays) from 5 to 7 p.m.

Grails Restaurant & Bar
Photo courtesy of Grails

Sneakerheads have a place to call their own thanks to Grails Sports Bar in Wynwood. Co-owned by Cocktail Cartel, Miami-based beverage consultants with a serious love of all things sports and sneakers, this sports bar was created with fanatics in mind. The bar's name is an ode to sneaker collectors ("grails" being that one pair you'd do anything to get). Not surprisingly, plenty of sneakers are on display here, including the coveted "Back to the Future" Nike MAG and the Air Jordan ceramic replicas used to serve the menu's most popular cocktail, "Satisfy Your Sole," made with vodka, lime, watermelon, lemon verbena, and ginger ($14). All the cocktails are similarly topnotch, and the food is more elevated than you might expect — think cheeseburger dumplings ($13) or poke nachos ($18). When it comes time to actually watch the sports, over 60 TV monitors adorn the indoor and outdoor spaces, broadcasting every possible game or match with nary a bad seat to be found. For big pay-per-view events, there's often a one-price open-bar option. True to Wynwood's aesthetic, the many murals at Grails are constantly updated to reflect what's currently happening in the wide world of sports — whether it's Miami's Super Bowl LIV, the tragic loss of Mamba, or tributes to our very own Miami Heat.

The Mighty
Photo courtesy of the Mighty

A great neighborhood bar must possess three primary features: stiff drinks, affordable grub, and friendly bartenders who double as therapists. And that's precisely what you'll find at the Mighty. Since opening its doors in 2014, the tavern on Coral Way has become a favorite among locals and transients alike, undoubtedly because the vibe is all about making you feel at ease. It's the kind of joint where you can belly up to the bar in sweatpants and flip-flops and feel perfectly at home — a phenomenon that's all too rare at this town's posh bars and over-the-top eateries. While the atmosphere is no-frills, bar bites are pleasantly elevated. Nosh on deep-fried cauliflower tossed in an Asian sesame glaze ($12) or opt for the "Guava Burger, brimming with bacon and a guava sauce with cream cheese and white chocolate (trust us on this one!). For the quintessential Mighty experience, pair your eats with a house cocktail — say, the "Silver Bluff Southside," crafted with berry-infused gin, mint, lime, blueberry, and strawberry ($12). You'll feel right at home — if your home served delicious food and great drinks.

Ted's Hideaway
Photo by Chelsea Olson

Let's put it this way: Ted's had a pink neon scripted sign way before it was trendy. The bar has been an iconic South Beach institution for over 30 years and is still open despite all the havoc that COVID-19 has wreaked on the industry. At Ted's, there's something comforting in the familiarity of the stale smells and dingy lighting, the random games of pool with strangers, the jukebox wars, and the familiar faces of bartenders. If you're craving some dive bar nostalgia, you can order bar snacks like mozzarella sticks ($9.75), Ted's Tex-Mex Nachos ($11.75), or the classic Hideaway Burger ($12.75) for eat-in or delivery. Ted's also has a variety of beers by the bottle ($6 to $9), wines by the bottle ($32), mini liquor bottles ($11 to $18), and one-liter liquor bottles ($45 to $110) available to go. Leave it to Ted's to still manage to deliver a shot and a beer to us during a global pandemic. We love them for it.

Tiki drinks are Esotico's specialty.
Photo courtesy of Esotico Miami
Tiki drinks are Esotico's specialty.

Miami is a tropical paradise, a perfect backdrop for sipping rum drinks garnished with tiny paper umbrellas and fuzzy flamingos fashioned from chenille. There's only one maddening problem: Miami is sorely underpopulated with places to get a great tiki cocktail. It's a sad state of affairs when places like Chicago, New York, and even Goose Bay in Canada have more tiki bars than Miami. Thankfully, barman Daniele Dalla Pola, Graziano Sbroggio, and the Graspa Group opened Esotico. Decorated with palm trees, bamboo, and pink neon, Esotico is the bar Miami needs. Here you'll find all manner of cocktails — like the "Nu Mai Tai," a take on the classic Trader Vic's drink ($23 with a tiki mug you can take home) and the "Sexy Colada" ($12), a classic colada spiced up with a hint of ginger. If nothing else, these pandemic times entitle you to order the "Volcano Bowl" ($40), made with several rums and juices that serves up to three people, and drink it all yourself with absolutely no judgment (provided you don't drive afterward). Be sure to check out Esotico's line of limited-edition tiki mugs — including an awesome zombie Elvis. Open daily.

Bob's Your Uncle
Bob's Your Uncle

Recent arrival Bob's Your Uncle, like many Miami Beach denizens, hails from New York City, where its older sibling originated in 2015. But don't let this hole-in-the-wall's import status deter you from partaking of its quirky, Normandy Isle neighborhood vibe. The bar is festooned with framed images of Bobs past and present, from Hope to De Niro to Sponge. The cocktails are cheap and well made – the menu is divided into spritzes ($9), mules ($10), and cocktails ($11). You can get a Genesee Cream Ale or a Jell-O shot for $3. (When's the last time you went to a bar that served Jell-O shots? The correct answer is "too long ago" but that's about to change, isn't it?) Keep the party going with a burger from Cheeseburger Baby, which has popped up in the kitchen. It's just like the Cheers bar, only everybody only knows one name, and that name is Bob. Open 3 p.m. to 3 p.m. (or curfew) daily.

Rooftop @ 1WLO
Photo courtesy of Rooftop

Ride the elevator to the top of the One West Las Olas building in downtown Fort Lauderdale and you'll find a swanky outdoor patio, perfect for cocktailing. Though its seventh-floor location doesn't qualify for skyscraper status, you'll still have a bird's-eye view of the lights of Las Olas and the Middle River. If stunning views aren't your thing, just take in the boxwood trees as you relax on plush chairs or huddle around a fire pit on one of those cold South Florida nights when the temps plunge below 65 degrees. Sip cocktails ($14) like the "Zaddy" (rum, apple, thyme, and pineapple) or the "Violet Sky" (vodka, violet liqueuer, blackberry, and sage) and watch the sun set. The Rooftop takes reservations for parties of six or fewer, so you're guaranteed a seat even though the lounge has reduced its capacity. Open Thursday through Sunday.

After a long day of shopping at Dior and Gucci, you're going to need to fortify yourself with a glass of wine before peeking at your credit-card statement. Abaco Wines may look like a high-end wine shop, but what you may not know is that it also sells its bounty by the glass. This gorgeous, minimalist store is stocked with thousands of bottles and offers wines by the glass, cheese plates, and tastings. The staff is knowledgeable, so it's almost certain you'll find a new favorite. Try something new — an Italian red, say, with a smoky finish that speaks of the volcanic ash that fertilizes the soil in which the grapes are grown, or a chardonnay from France. Take home a bottle (or enjoy it at Abaco for a modest corkage fee). Open daily.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®