Miami is known for many things, including — but not limited to — horrible drivers, corrupt politicians, and cocaine. But what gives the Magic City its sabor picante are all of the cubanos, dominicanos, venezolanos, colombianos, and other Latinos who call the 305 home.
Miami is one of the most diverse cities in America, and that diversity does wonders for our nightlife. The streets are a mecca of culture, and the Hispanics of Miami are the heartbeat of it all.
And if there is one thing los latinos of the 305 do better than anybody else, it’s throw tremendas pachangas. Just take a stroll through Hialeah or Calle Ocho on a Saturday night, and see for yourself.
That's the beauty of living in Myami. That, and these seven clubs.
1. Hoy Como Ayer, 2212 SW Eighth St., Miami; 305-541-2631; hoycomoayer.us.
Hoy Como Ayer is all about las estrellas musicales and el sonido Latino. From Amaury Gutiérrez's Latin Grammy Award-winning "Guajira con Tumbao" to Albita’s legendary "Fiesta Pa'los Rumberos" and the electronic mezcal of the Spam Allstars, every night is an over-the-top fiesta where the dancing never stops, the conga drums are always kickin', and the Bacardi is flowing. Long live Hoy Como Ayer.
2. Ball & Chain, 1513 SW Eighth St., Miami; 305-643-7820; ballandchainmiami.com.
Its original incarnation was born in 1935 and died in 1957. Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, and many more came through the Calle Ocho club, making it one of Miami’s hottest destinations. Back in September 2014, brothers Zack and Ben Bush decided to reopen Ball & Chain and restore its former glory. Since then, the place has become one of Calle Ocho's most popular bars, attracting both old and young, Latin and gringo. Its backyard pineapple stage — that's, yes, shaped like a pineapple — is the perfect place to sip a cocktail during the day or salsa your pants off at night. Its mix of vintage and modern has managed to charm Miami, turning Ball & Chain into a welcome destination for tourists and locals.
3. Club Tipico Dominicano, 1344 NW 36th St., Miami; 305-634-7819; clubtipicodominicano.com.
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When it comes to discotecas, it doesn't get more legit than Club Tipico Dominicano. By day, the Allapattah joint — which was established in 1987 — serves typical Dominican grub ranging from mangú to mondongo. Come nightfall, the restaurant transforms into una tremenda pachanga, where on weekends, hip-gyrating rumberos from all over the 305 gather for nonstop salsa, merengue, and bachata. But don’t miss Sunday night’s long-standing Domingo Playero, which features special guests; drink, bottle, and hookah specials; and a slew of DJs that keep the party running all night long. You might want to call in sick on Monday.
4. La Covacha, 10730 NW 25th St., Doral; 305-594-3717; lacovacha.com.
Sure, Doral may be nothing more than a collection of warehouses, businesses, and trucks — OK, downtown Doral and CityPlace Doral are slowly but surely transforming that image — but this commercial hot spot is also home to one of the best Latin clubs in the 305. Attracting reggaetoneros Alexis y Fido, Tony Dize, Chino y Nacho, and J Alvarez, as well as Oscar D'Leon, Tito el Bambino, and other salseros, this place has been bringing la rumba to the Magic City for more than two decades. And with nightly parties and drink specials, we’re pretty sure La Covacha will remain a mecca of Latin music for years to come.
5. El Patio Wynwood, 167 NW 23rd St., Miami; 786-409-2241; elpatiowynwood.com.
When El Patio Wynwood first opened, owners wanted to offer "something Latin, but funky and not commercial." That's what co-owner Nicolas Hoyos told New Times the day before the cozy outdoor venue celebrated its launch two years ago. With furniture literally imported from Colombia, El Patio has that cozy abuela vibe, while still offering a vibrant, upbeat atmosphere. Its owners worked closely with local Latin musician Mr. Pauer — who spins tropical beats on Sunday — to curate music that ranges from vintage salsa to modern Latin meets electronic. Combine that with a cheap happy hour and live bands, and you can't go wrong.
6. Las Tabernas de Wancho, 2100 W. 76th St., Hialeah; 305-822-7833; lastabernasdewancho.com.
To get to Las Tabernas de Wancho, you'll need to navigate the Palmetto, then exit, park, and head for the top floor of a nondescript shopping center in Hialeah. On the fifth story of said building, you'll find three rooms: There's La Rumbateka, which fits about 450 and plays mostly merengue and bachata. The most recent addition is Club 5 "Blue Moon," a smaller space that draws a younger crowd with a mix of hip-hop, reggaeton, and techno. The last room, La Fonda Paisa, resembles a pueblito. Each room features a disco ball and bottle service, and by the time you take that last shot, you'll wonder where this place has been all your life.
7. Punch Miami, 5580 NE Fourth Ct., Miami; 305-758-9932; punchmiami.com.
Though this is Miami, there are few Cuban-themed party halls. That’s where Punch Miami comes in — from the neon Cuban flag to the name and decor of the lounge, which was inspired by a taxi ride from the Havana airport and a stop at a rundown boxing ring. Taking over the former News Lounge space, Punch, which opened just about a year ago, is the brainchild of El Patio Wynwood’s Nicolas Hoyos and Beto Perez. Like El Patio, Punch plays music curated by Mr. Pauer, and "reasón" is the signature sound: "re" for reggeaton, "sa" for salsa, and "són" for son. And of course, Punch boasts some of the best happy hour specials in the 305, with $1 mojitos, $1 draft beers, and $10 mojito punch bowls from 5 to 9 p.m. ¡Fuácata!