According to science, or at least science on the internet, your New Year’s Eve will probably suck.
It’s a familiar scenario: You’re jazzed up to go someplace with friends for drinks where eventually you’ll kiss a pretty face and get some. But the most likely scenario is you’ll only get a wicked hangover and a low-account-balance alert. We can’t do anything for you when it comes to the former, but perhaps we can help with the latter.
Although Miami isn’t known for being economical, we have several suggestions to take the sting out of saying adieu to a truly crappy 2016.
New Year’s Eve at the Mighty
No cover charge, no dress code, and no pretension. The Mighty, a spot we named Best Gastropub in 2015, presents a low-key alternative to the bright lights and endlessly moving parts of the beach or downtown. That’s not to say this place won’t be busy and you won’t have a raucous good time. The Coral Gables neighborhood bar is enticing locals with a free glass of champagne at midnight, beer raffles, goodie bag giveaways, a NYE-themed photo booth, and $5 mule cocktails all night. Holiday attire — especially ugly sweaters — is strongly encouraged.
Wynwood NYE 2017
This Saturday night/Sunday morning, Art Walk will meet the walk of shame. Swarm, the team behind Grovetoberfest, the Coconut Grove Seafood Festival, and Mega Rumba Colombia, invites everyone to Wynwood for a night that promises fun "without the nonsense of high-end, private celebrations." The party will rage from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. to the sounds of DJ Assault’s turntables. Those who RSVP to the free event will also receive a complimentary drink and party favors. (Let's hope they include these appropriate NYE glasses.)
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No Cover Charge Bars and Restaurants
These are free — sort of. Miami actually has a few businesses with the human decency not to charge a cover just because the last four digits on the calendar are changing slightly. If you’re in Wynwood already, Shots (a personal favorite for the silly hats and friendly bartenders) boasts no cover. Same with Ball & Chain in Little Havana, which never charges a cover. That being said, both bars are offering VIP packages because capitalism. In South Beach, Bodega, the taco-lovin’ speakeasy, also offers free admission, as does the Shore Club, which will have DJ Spider spinning until 4 a.m. Fifteen minutes north, the Vagabond Hotel Pool Bar will offer free entrance and a complimentary glass of champagne at midnight.
City of Miami Beach New Year's Eve Celebration
Who doesn’t love fireworks? Communists, that’s who. But for freedom-loving folks, turning gunpowder into bright, colorful sky paintings is a blast. It can also be incredibly dangerous. For example, there were more than 11,000 fireworks-related injuries and eight fatalities in the States in 2013. In other words, let the experts handle them. Better yet, let the experts handle them while you have a cocktail on the sand. The City of Miami Beach welcomes all to a free fireworks show. The city is essentially having a block party beginning at Ninth Street on Ocean Drive; it'll culminate with a huge display come midnight.
Pitbull’s Worldwide New Year’s Eve Revolution
While the Fontainebleau charges an outrageous amount (about $400) to party with Justin Bieber, another global superstar will do the opposite. Native son Pitbull will put on a massive extravaganza befitting both him and Miami — for free. For the second year in a row, Mr. Worldwide will host his New Year’s Eve Revolution at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. This year, the celebrity guest list is a who’s who of party rap and classic good-time hip-hop: Queen Latifah, Snoop Dogg, Salt-N-Pepa, Naughty by Nature, Rob Base, Tone Loc, Young MC, Coolio, Biz Markie, and, of course, DJ Laz. It'll feel like a belated Christmas gift and should be a great time for anyone willing to brave the crowds.
The number one free party in Miami takes place on your couch, where you can watch Pitbull’s concert broadcast live on Fox. Stay the hell home, people. Think about it: no jacked-up Uber prices, no waiting in lines to get into a club that’s like every other club, and no getting shot. Seriously, to celebrate the new year, some Miamians like to fire their guns into the air like the Taliban cheering the death of American imperialist infidels. The drinks at your home bar are cheap, you can pass out wherever and whenever the hell you want, and you can even do the countdown of the ball in NYC, through your TV, in your underwear, while the idiots up north freeze their asses off. So get the 12 grapes, the cheap but tasty champagne from Publix, and a bucket of water, and invite over a few friends for a fun and safe New Year’s Eve. Just make sure none of those assholes brings a gun.