Jorgie Ramos of Barley opened Abi Maria in Downtown Dadeland as an ode to his Cuban heritage and two of the most important women in his life. The bar, named for both his mother, who is known to her grandchildren as "Abi," and his grandmother Maria, is a love letter to the days of Cuba’s past. “Abi Maria is a dream come true and the result of a lot of hard work,” Ramos says.
Miami got a first glimpse of Abi Maria during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s Art of Tiki event, where Abi Maria’s cocktail — made with Havana Club rum, house-made peanut orgeat, sour orange, sugarcane juice, coconut water, and tiki bitters and topped with a Bacardi Black float — took home the big win.
The drink menu is inspired by Havana’s heyday, with flavors aiming to provoke memories of pre-Castro days in Cuba. Cocktails include the Santiago de Cuba, made with Bacardi 10, simple syrup, chocolate bitters, and Angostura bitters ($13); and the Moron, made with Papa's Pilar blonde rum, mamey, lime, and mint syrup ($11). For drinkers who like to keep it simple, Abi Maria serves a classic Cuba Libre on tap, made with Havana Club rum ($10).
The food consists of bar bites such as deviled eggs topped with crispy ham ($7) and pork rinds with pimento cheese ($10). There's also coca — a Spanish-style flatbread where the dough is fermented for 48 hours, making it sweeter than a typical flatbread crust. Ramos tops the cocas with ingredients such as duck confit and pork.
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Stepping into Abi Maria feels like stepping into someone’s cozy living room. With help from his mother, Ramos designed the space to create an inviting atmosphere for hanging out and relaxing with friends and family. It’s "tranquilo y tropical," according to the white neon sign above the bar. Ramos says he created the kind of place he'd been hoping someone would open in the area.
“For years, I’ve been dying for a spot close to home where I can go get a snack and amazing cocktail, so I gave up waiting and decided I had to do it myself. I wanted it to represent me and my Cuban-American heritage in every way possible, and I feel we hit it dead-on."
Ramos says that everything at Abi Maria — including the ever-evolving food and cocktail menu and the music, which ranges from Celia Cruz to old-school hip-hop — was designed to create an evening's escape from the world. "I'm excited to share it with the people of Kendall," he says, "because they deserve it."
Abi Maria. 8860 SW 72nd Pl., Miami; 786-623-6733; barabimaria.com. Daily 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Happy hour is currently from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and 10 p.m. to close daily.