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March 7, 2023

Bar Exam 2023: From beer halls to sports bars to romantic lounges and classic dives, Miami's Top 100 institutions of higher imbibing

Since time immemorial, people have congregated in bars. From the ruins of Pompeiian wine shops to the taverns where America’s founding fathers planted the seeds of liberty to the present day, humankind has cut deals, made merry, and drowned our sorrows in bars.

That could be why bars are as varied as the snowflakes that fall from a winter sky (not here). Romantic date? Choose a cocktail lounge with cold, clear martinis and live jazz. Meeting friends to watch the game? Pitchers and wings at the local sports bar.

Miami’s libation scene is flourishing like never before — in addition to a plethora of cocktail crafters, we’re blessed with an abundance of breweries, natural wine bars, and dive bars. And with many bartenders working creatively with low-ABV and zero-proof spirits, the bar scene is more inclusive and welcoming than ever before.

From giant beer halls and lively sports bars to romantic lounges and classic dives, we present Bar Exam 2023: The Top 100 Bars in Miami.

Cheers!

Laine Doss, Food Editor

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

La Cocina

La Cocina
Photo courtesy of La Cocina
Beyond the Catskills-meets-Hialeah vibe of Kush Hialeah (formerly Stephen's Deli), owner Matt Kuscher has opened La Cocina, a 40-seat bar that's accessed through a corridor past the restrooms. The space is decorated in what can best be described as "Hialeah squared." Lotto tickets and La Caja China labels serve as wallpaper, and never have so many pieces of Hialeah memorabilia been assembled in one place. Did anyone ever know of (or actually own) a genuine Hialeah Racetrack board game, for instance? Cocktails at this kitschy tribute to "La Ciudad Que Progresa" include Miami-fied versions of classic drinks, such as the "Tremendo Cafetera" (a play on an espresso martini) and "El Burrito Sabanero" (Hialeah's own "mule").
1000 E. 16th St., Hialeah, 33010

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

3 Sons Brewing Co.

3 Sons Brewing Co.
Photo by Magic Muncie
3 Sons Brewing Co. founder/brewer Corey Artanis debuted on South Florida's craft-beer scene with his over-the-top, dessert-inspired stouts, creating a following that was thirsty for more. After several years as a nomad brewer, Artanis opened 3 Sons — named for his three boys — in the heart of Dania Beach. While the brewer remains well-known for his intensely flavored, barrel-aged imperial stouts, beer enthusiasts flock to his taproom for a taste of a wide variety of beer styles. That means you can find just about anything to pair with a meal on a daily draft lineup that runs the gamut from a lightly hopped, easy-drinking American-style rice lager to intensely fruited sours so thick they pour from the can or tap line with a smoothie-like consistency. The in-house kitchen prepares food that's just as crafty and small-batch as the beer, from Neapolitan pizzas to dashi butter chicken wings.
236 N. Federal Highway, Ste. 104, Dania Beach, 33004

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

The Abbey Brewing Company

The Abbey Brewing Company
Photo courtesy of Abbey Brewing Company
Miami Beach's first official craft beer bar, the Abbey Brewing Company opened in 1995 — you know, before it was cool. It's now a landmark for those seeking handcrafted brews (not to mention a curated selection of small-batch whiskeys, rare wines, and small bites) in an intimate setting removed from the hustle and bustle of Ocean Drive. Although the menu offers a full liquor bar, the half-dozen house-made brews are the focus here, thanks to founder and longtime brewmaster Raymond Rigazio, whose offerings include a series of Trappist-themed beers like Brother Aaron's Quadrupel, Brother Dan's Dubbel, and the Immaculate IPA.
1115 16th St., Miami Beach, 33139

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

Alabama Jack's

Alabama Jack's
Is it the first stop on your way to the Keys or your last stop on the way home? That's for you to decide. Either way, Alabama Jack's is an institution. It's on a lonely stretch of Card Sound Road — the alternative to U.S. 1 that tourists en route to the Keys hardly ever use. When you reach the sign that says, "This Place Sucks! I Wouldn't Come Back!" you know you've arrived. This dive bar is a favorite with bikers, boaters, and anyone who enjoys a few cold ones and a plate of hot conch fritters. It's not pretty (though the views are). It's not fancy, but it is a piece of old Florida Keys life that's eroding away by strip malls and chain hotels.
58000 Card Sound Rd., Key Largo, 33037

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

The Anderson

The Anderson
Photo courtesy of the Anderson
The building that houses the Anderson has been a bar for far longer than most of us have been alive. Restaurateur Ken Lyon has given the space new life by revitalizing the beloved Magnum Lounge with jazz nights and a menu of classic dishes like a "square" burger and steak frites. Outside, a lush garden setting is home to El Toro Taco, a taco joint and bar. Taken together, this beloved gem, located on the 79th Street Causeway a block east of Biscayne Boulevard, is part dive bar, part elegant lounge, part garden taco stand: a trio of wonderful things that can only be combined in Miami.
709 NE 79th St., Miami, 33138

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

The Auld Dubliner Irish Pub & Kitchen

The Auld Dubliner Irish Pub & Kitchen
Photo by Laine Doss
Nearly every major city in the world has at least a handful of Irish pubs where you can grab a pint of Guinness, some curry fries, and watch football (the real kind). Auld Dubliner's looks are deceiving: Nestled in a nondescript row of storefronts, a passerby might mistake it for a cell phone repair shop. But enter and you're transported to the Emerald Isle — from the witty sayings on the wall to the football on the telly to the telltale aroma of shepherd's pie wafting from the kitchen. With a fine selection of Irish whiskey on the shelves, bartenders who know how to pour a proper Guinness, and live music on the weekends, the Auld Dubliner is a great place to channel the friendliness — and the booze — of Ireland without leaving the Magic City.
91 NW First St., Miami, 33128

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

Baby Jane

Baby Jane
Photo courtesy of Baby Jane
Late-night noodles, cocktails, and lively vibes are in store inside Brickell's Baby Jane. At this Asian-inspired hotspot, you're welcome to sip cocktails and hang until the wee hours. Adorned by a bright neon light that says, "I'll have what she's having," the intimate space is outfitted with booths that line the sides of the bar, a few high-tops, and seating that allows j-u-s-t enough space to dance if the moment calls for it.
500 Brickell Ave., Suite 105E, Miami, 33131

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

The Bar at the Yard

The Bar at the Yard
Photo by Rod Deal
Though it's just one part of a larger complex, the Bar at the Doral Yard has its own personality. The large wooden bar serves as both the focal point of the Doral Yard and a gathering place for locals to chill on plush, oversize barstools. The cocktails are well thought out and tap into local flavors of guava, coconut, and even cafecito. The Bar at the Yard offers daily specials including an industry night, making this one friendly place to grab a few drinks.
8455 NW 53rd St., Ste. 106, Doral, 33166

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

Bar Nancy

Bar Nancy
Courtesy of Nancy
Little Havana's Bar Nancy sports rustic, nautical-inspired décor and a healthy selection of craft cocktails. The bar — named for the brigantine Nancy, which transported war supplies during the American Revolution — offers cocktails named after ships or patriotic themes or both. The "Abigail Adams" is made with Ford’s gin, peach liqueur, lemon, strawberry, cucumber, and soda; the "Stem to Stern" consists of apricot-infused Bulleit rye, lemon, apricot jam, and ginger ale. There's live music, and a daily happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. offers half-priced drinks.
2007 SW Eighth St., Miami, 33135

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

Barracuda Taphouse & Grill

Barracuda Taphouse & Grill
Barracuda is more than your average neighborhood bar and grill. This pink-hued bar, located on a side street in Coconut Grove, has been around for more than a decade. The interior is decorated in what could be described as "frat house-on-the-sea" — plenty of UM signs compete with shark jaws and the ubiquitous international currency stapled to every free spot around the bar. What really separates Barracuda from the pack, though, is its extensive beer list — about 60 rotating beers and ciders guarantee that you and your mates will never want for variety. Pair a few brews with some wings or fish dip, feed a few bucks into the jukebox, and you've got the makings of a perfect weekend afternoon-slipping-into-evening.
3035 Fuller St., Miami, 33133

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

Batch Gastropub Miami

Batch Gastropub Miami
Courtesy of Batch Gastropub
There's always a full house at this bustling American gastropub. Equal parts sports bar, lounge, and restaurant, Batch is the place to gather for soccer games, NBA tilts, boxing matches, and gridiron showdowns. The restaurant is also lively after work, when Brickell businesspeople and residents alike pour in for locally sourced pub grub, from bison burgers to brick-oven pizza, that pairs perfectly with a lengthy drink list offering a wide range of beers, wines, and other creative cocktails. Happy hour — Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. — is a can't-miss.
30 SW 12th St., Miami, 33130

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

Beaker & Gray

Beaker & Gray
billwisserphoto.com
Sure, Beaker & Gray is a restaurant that serves innovative dishes courtesy of co-owner Brian Nasajon. But you'd be remiss if you dismissed its cocktail program, led by Nasajon's partner, Ben Potts, as a side affair. Beaker & Gray's list of libations is as strong as its food menu; for some patrons, it's a destination in itself. Potts has created an extensive drink menu, including classics such as an elegant take on a Moscow mule and the "Ginstagram," made with Hendrick's gin, Cocchi Americano, falernum, passionfruit, orgeat, and Peychaud's bitters. Beaker & Gray offers a selection of nonalcoholic cocktails as well, for when you're parched yet "dry."
2637 N. Miami Ave., Miami, 33127

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

Better Days

Better Days
Photo courtesy of Better Days
Brickell's best-known dive bar, Better Days, is one of those "anything goes" spots that's great for happy hour or that very last drink of the night. While there's no formal cocktail menu, the bartenders are ready and willing to make whatever is requested — though tequila shots are a fan favorite. The dark, cozy space is outfitted with a pool table, string lights, and flamingo décor, with a bar in the center and seating in the form of couches and a church pew around the room. Start the week with a Monday karaoke session or dance the night away with the weekend DJ. Either way, it's always a better day at Better Days.
75 SE Sixth St., Ste. 103, Miami, 33131

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

Black Market Miami

Black Market Miami
Courtesy of Black Market
Most Miami sports bars have one thing in common: disappointed sports fans. It makes sense, then, that you'd want a sports bar that can make even the worst game seem bearable. That's where Black Market comes in. In 2017 founders Erick Passo and Mike Mora opened an upscale, well-appointed bar that was a welcome change to the area's chain options. It remains one of the city's best spots to hang out come game day. Looking to expand, the duo would reminisce about the memories made at the Bayside Hooters — now the site of a second location. The new space is equipped with more than 40 TV monitors (many of them outside) and an open-air bar overlooking the marina. And Black Market offers more than mere game-viewing pleasure; It also serves seriously crafty cocktails, including a smoked old-fashioned and a sparkling wine-topped mezcal margarita, alongside a variety of draft craft beers. The food menu, too, is generous, a mix of casual and upscale options that range from burgers, sandwiches, and salads to wings tossed in a variety of sauces.
168 SE First St., Miami, 33130

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

Blackbird Ordinary

Blackbird Ordinary
Courtesy of Blackbird Ordinary
Is it a dive bar or a club? Upon arriving at Blackbird Ordinary in search of serious libations, you might think you've come to the wrong place. But the keen-eyed cocktail connoisseur will spot the live herbs on the tables and the bartenders immersed in their craft. Here the drinks are named after birds of all sorts (winged and snow) with names like the "Blackbird," the "New Yorker," and "Fuck Winter."  Whatever you choose, your drink will be assiduously prepared with fresh fruits and herbs and house-made syrups whose combined flavors cause it to take flight on your discriminating palate.
729 SW First Ave., Miami, 33130

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

Bleau Bar

Bleau Bar
Photo courtesy of Fontainebleau Miami Beach
Located in the lobby of the iconic Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel, Bleau Bar was a popular hangout for the Rat Pack back in the 1950s. These days it's a hotspot for grabbing a cocktail before heading to dinner at one of the hotel's several restaurants or downstairs to dance the night away at LIV. After a recent renovation, Bleau Bar debuted a series of 16-foot-tall screens that allow a little separation between the hotel's entrance and the bar area. Guests can take a seat at the massive teardrop-shaped bar or at an exclusive table for bottle service. On the menu: classic cocktails, a broad selection of spirits — and plenty of people-watching.
4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 33139

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

Bob's Your Uncle

Bob's Your Uncle
Bob's Your Uncle
The original location of this dive bar is located on New York’s Upper West Side; the Miami Beach outpost was re-created after owner Danielle Savin flew south and decided this was a great place to open a little watering hole. Bob’s Your Uncle is Normandy Isle’s go-to spot to be treated like family (even when you don’t want to be around your own). Whether it’s a classic cocktail, beer on tap, or even a Jell-O shot — everything is served with a smile. The bar's personality extends to the restroom hallway, adorned with photos of famous Bobs throughout history — from De Niro to Saget. Pro tip: Bob's is the perfect place to grab a cold one while waiting for a table at the adjacent sushi restaurant.
928 71st St., Miami Beach, 33141

The 100 Best Miami Bars of 2023

Bougainvillea's Old Florida Tavern

Bougainvillea's Old Florida Tavern
Photo by Jessica Gibbs
The best neighborhood bar is the one closest to home, but Bougainvillea's, a snug self-described "old Florida tavern" near the Shops at Sunset Place, is worth the trek. Built inside a '40s-era cottage, it's a fine place to sip wine and contemplate humanity or to down beers with friends. The lights are generally set to dim, there's a fireplace, and some tables are set up outside. And the affectionately nicknamed Bougie's is one of the few neighborhood bars to offer live jazz or blues three or four nights a week.
7221 SW 58th Ave., South Miami, 33143