Best Cocktails 2023 | The Gibson Room | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Gibson Room photo

At Gibson Room, chef and restaurateur Michael Beltran ensures that the same level of care and intricacy that earned him a Michelin star is applied to every item on the food and cocktail menus. And, as at his restaurants, the Gibson Room's cocktails take classic concepts and put a subtle and intriguing spin on them. Here, the banana daiquiri isn't a silly frozen blender drink but a sultry, sippable tipple. The gin Rickey is brightened with a hint of mint, and a Gibson, typically made with gin and dry vermouth, is enhanced with a touch of sherry. Add live music and lit candles, and you've got the hottest little cocktail lounge in Miami.

Martini Bar National Hotel photo by The Tag Experience

Inside Miami Beach's National Hotel, the reimagined Martini Bar serves some of the city's most sophisticated tipples. Earlier this year, the Art Deco hotel relaunched its beloved bar, a nostalgic sanctuary tucked away from the lobby with views of the grownups-only property's infinity pool, rumored to be the longest in South Florida. The new and improved boozeatorium still boasts the original marble floors paired with Gatsby-esque décor, providing an intimate setting to gather and mingle while indulging in the beloved signature cocktail. While the menu changes seasonally, martini staples include the famed "Pear With Me," a well-shaken martini that combines pear vodka with amaretto, lemon, pear syrup, and foam bitters; and the "Hibiscus Beauty," which blends infused hibiscus vodka with St. Germain, lemon, ginger syrup, and sage. Espresso martinis tend to present as unctuous, but the Martini Room's hits perfectly, with a base of Caffè Borghetti liqueur and nitro cold brew. For an even more refined experience, try the bar's new afternoon tea service, which invites you to sample an array of teas and coffees alongside homemade finger sandwiches, pastries, and scones (and a martini, or two) for a social hour that channels the sophistication of a Bridgerton novel.

Photo courtesy of Byblos

If the basic blending of tequila, triple sec, and lime has become rote, leave it to a unique margarita experience at Byblos to make you rethink this classic libation. Taking inspiration from the Arabic word that translates to "my love," the "Habibi Margarite'' has indeed become a favorite on the cocktail menu. The Mediterranean-inspired concoction is a fusion of spiced strawberry tea, blended with the margarita's essential lime juice and reposado tequila, delivering a fragrant and colorful kick. The best part just might be the way it's served: in a "smoking" silver teapot, making for a special (spiked) tea-time break.

Finka Table & Tap photo

You won't find a mojito on the menu at Finka Table & Tap, but that shouldn't stop you from ordering one. While a classic mojito calls for rum, soda, mint, and lime, Finka elevates its off-the-menu version, using two types of rum (Havana Club Blanco and the classic Havana Club Añejo) for an added kick. Too many mojitos are overly sugary, but Finka bartenders concoct a balanced, sophisticated, and tart cocktail — one that pairs perfectly with an order of croquetas for the complete Miami experience.

Dream State Brewing photo

William Rivera and Paul Lombardozzi are friends with a craft beer habit that inspired them to add one more title to their resumes: entrepreneurs. The pair joined forces earlier this year to bring their hoppy aspirations to life with the 6,000-square-foot Dream State Brewery. The 20-barrel system provides an endlessly rotating selection of house-brewed beers, and the bar's 32 taps provide an astonishing variety of out-of-state beers from some of the most sought-after breweries in the country. The comprehensive lineup is made possible by Rivera's and Lombardozzi's mutual connections, and it covers the full spectrum of styles from IPAs, lagers, pilsners, and fruited ales to stouts and barrel-aged sours. Opt for a flight to sample as many as your blood-alcohol levels can handle.

Photo by Nicole Danna

From the eclectic and artsy décor to the fruity, funky beers on tap, Yeasty Brews offers a unique departure from the South Florida brewery norm. Founded in 2021 by head brewer Dan Pfaffenbach and his girlfriend, Denielle Mizrahi, this quaint Lauderhill spot serves small-batch brews and innovative in-house fare. The business started with Pfaffenbach's popular home brew, a milkshake-style hefeweizen called "Banana Slinger," which emits banana aromas from the yeast used to make it. Today, yeast is the still name of the game at Yeasty Brews, where they endeavor to help craft beer novices brave uncharted territory. A three-barrel system produces a variety of unique experimental beers, many you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Although the brewer's love of IPAs and hefeweizens shines, his recipe book is globally inspired, including a Norwegian-style strawberry imperial blonde ale, Belgian pale ale with watermelon, dragon fruit-infused tripels, and a key-lime vanilla cream ale. Pfaffenbach's creative genius even dreamed up a vegan version of the popular milkshake-style IPA, offering guests a piña colada-inspired take that uses coconut instead of lactose to create a creamy, full-bodied brew. The 3,000-square-foot taproom also has an in-house kitchen that offers easy eats like flatbreads, grilled cheese, paninis, and vegan empanadas. Like the beer, everything is made and prepared in house.

Prison Pals Brewing Co. photo

Prison Pals Brewing Co. began making beer in March 2020 without a taproom but has gone on to cement Miami's position on the craft beer map. Earlier this year, the Doral brewery made national headlines when it was awarded a bronze medal in the 2023 Beer World Cup for its Nelson Hazy IPA, a smooth and easy-drinking IPA brewed with seven pounds of Citra and Nelson Sauvin hops per barrel. It's a significant achievement for the two-year-old brewery that began as a passion project by Argentine friends CEO Juan Pipkin and brewmaster Diego Setti. Today, Prison Pals offers a growing list of experimental brews and true-to-style lagers and ales, including the La Colorada amber ale, Dorada Pampeana blonde ale, Cielito Lindo Mexican lager, and Born to Be Free pale ale. The original Doral taproom and its sister taproom in Oakland Park provide an ever-changing selection of Setti's experimental one-off brews, including Setti's smoothie series: high-ABV sour ales treated with 35 to 40 percent fruit. Among the most popular is Aloha, a nod to one of Setti's favorite smoothies in Argentina, which blends pineapple, ginger, and mint.

Photo courtesy of La Sandwicherie

It's 4 a.m., and you crave turkey and brie on a fresh French baguette or prosciutto and mozzarella on a toasted croissant. Anywhere else, you might be hard-pressed to fulfill that craving at that hour. But since 1988, La Sandwicherie has been serving gourmet and custom-made sandwiches to Miami's night owls and partygoers until 5 a.m. Originally in Miami Beach, the sandwich haven has expanded to Brickell, Wynwood, Coral Gables, and North Beach. You can choose from various deli meats, smoked salmon, pate, and cheeses on a baguette or buttery croissants to cure your midnight cravings. If you are in the mood for antioxidants, don't worry; La Sandwicherie has fresh fruit smoothies, too.

Royal Palm Grill is worth the journey to Homestead. It's located in a former drugstore that once had a soda fountain counter in the '50s. Today, it offers traditional diner food, with three-egg omelets, pancakes, and biscuits & gravy. Sometimes the chef/owner will offer some fun, off-menu items, like Cap'n Crunch french toast. Bypass the open dining room in front and head to the classic diner counter, where you can watch the specials roll out of the kitchen. It's the perfect way to start any visit to the Redlands, Everglades National Park, or the Florida Keys.

If a coffee cup filled with feathery scrambled eggs topped with peaks of Hollandaise foam and offered with points of Cuban tostada for dipping sounds like the ideal way to begin a Miami morning, then make like Gianni Versace, who used to walk to News Cafe every morning. Reopened after the pandemic shut it down, this historic café offers inventive breakfast fare — think piña colada pancakes with grilled pineapple — and trendy items, ranging from avocado or ricotta toast to chicken and waffles. For thirst-quenching, freshly made juice blends and mocktails abound, as do bubbly and bloody concoctions that hit just right before a day on the beach.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®