The days of Madonna sightings and Versace parties are gone, but the South Beach nightclub scene rages on. The players change, and institutions come and go. Velvet ropes line the street, then vanish, only to return under new blinking signs. The music shifts and styles evolve, but the energy and excitement remain.
Whether you're searching for rock, hip-hop, EDM, or Latin vibes; looking to down a beer or sip expensive champagne; dressed to the nines or keeping it casual, South Beach is the place to go when it's time to get shit poppin'. Here are our favorite after-dark haunts east of the mainland.
We're giving it up to Story. Owned and operated by the same great peeps who bring you LIV, this Collins Avenue megaclub is the bottle-service alternative. It has a larger dance floor than cramped LIV, but the same dedication to style and exclusivity. At Story, the bookers dig a little deeper with their musical selections, giving more underground artists a chance to play in a bigger, sexier environment. For that, we commend it.
Voted New Times' Best Dance Club in 2018, this South Beach spot specializes in presenting unique house and techno stars. A Friday or Saturday here guarantees a wild night of dancing but at a more down-to-earth level than other Miami spots — the kitschy jungle atmosphere might have something to do with it. Be sure to check out what Treehouse has planned for Miami Music Week.
This hideaway in the Edition Hotel is a multiroom pleasure emporium of sensory overload. The club itself is dope enough, with a 330-person seatless dance floor and a bar that regularly bumps feel-good party jams. It's also the spot to catch special guest DJs from around the world, but the ancillary activities are what really push Basement over the edge. Where else can you bowl and ice-skate while getting this turnt? Nowhere in this city, babe.
We all know LIV is the tits. Even Rolling Stone once called this club the second best dance spot in the nation. Everyone, from Calvin Harris to Lil Wayne, plays the Fontainebleau's fanciest club. LIV's 2018 $10 million renovation, featuring a giant LED spider, is a sight to behold. On any given Sunday, you're liable to see some of the biggest names in hip-hop take the stage just for shits and giggles. If stars are in town — from Bieber to Future — chances are they'll stop by LIV. It's world famous. It's in movies. It's the quintessential South Beach bottle-service joint. And we all know that's the truth.
Where else can you party to the sounds of the best international dance DJs while wearing a bikini, catching rays, drinking fruity cocktails, and partying on one of the undisputed best beaches in the world? Yeah, without flying to Croatia, it's probably not happening for ya. Nikki Beach is one of those places that leaves an imprint on your mind for years — as long as you remember it the next morning.
After more than five years in operation, Do Not Sit has carved a place in the hearts of Dade County hipster house heads. It's small, it's dark, and it's wonderfully decorated. It's kind of weird when the lights come on and you suddenly see the faces you've been dancing shoulder-to-shoulder with for hours. But when it's dark and muggy, it's got that true underground magic, a place that puts music first and welcomes all willing to dance.
Looking for a gay ol' time? Twist might be the gayest thing on SoBe. "Never a cover, always a groove" is the motto. Hot dancers in nothing but underwear grace the bar. Drag queens rule the stage. With seven varying bars, three dance floors, and different music and energy in each, there's a whole lot more to explore than just your sexuality. It's OK, straight people, you're allowed in.
From the mind of SoBe nightlife impresario Chris Paciello comes an exclusive spot opened in 2016 where tastes are expensive and style is high. Paciello was a man about town in the roaring '90s, known for his magnetic ability to attract celebrities. And he's hoping Rockwell can bring some of that lush era atmosphere to Washington Avenue. #RockwellMondays have featured performances by 50 Cent, Lil' Kim, 2Chainz, Jeezy, and many others. It's not all about big-name DJs, but stars such as Lenny Kravitz, Lupe Fiasco, and Timbaland have been spotted here. This is the kind of place visitors dream of experiencing when they arrive at MIA.
If you're a tourist from the Caribbean or South America, this is probably the only club you'll go to for the duration of your stay. This is the place where salsa, merengue, and bachata reign. It's a true Miami experience. Here, the biggest reggaeton hits blast through pink and orange atmospheres, and any woman walking alone is bound to be swept up in a close gyration before she can reach the restroom. This is a spicy place where lovers entangle themselves between bass bumps, and live dancers entertain all manner of birthday girls and bachelorettes into the morning light. Don't miss the Celia Cruz tribute shows and Cuban congas. Is it a little cheesy? Yes, but honestly, why shouldn't it be?
Sunday doesn't have to be the saddest night of the week — not when you head to this bayside bar for the last pinch of the weekend at Made You Look Sundays. Or visit the lounge Mondays for the superchill reggae night. There's a reason Purdy Lounge is still around despite neighborhood changes. This is one place in South Beach where you can feel free to be yourself.
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