Best of Miami

The Ten Best Bars in Miami Beach

The Ten Best Bars in Miami Beach
Courtesy of Mac's Club Duece
In the last few years, the craft-cocktail craze has inspirited a new, much-needed wave of bars in Miami Beach. Sure, overpriced and overhyped neon-blue slushy drinks with cheap vodka are inevitable. But today, Collins Avenue brims with a new generation of savvy, classy, and smart watering holes.

From decades-long mainstays like Purdy Lounge and Mac's Club Deuce, to more modern concepts like New York City-import Employees Only, Miami-made Broken Shaker, and all-in-one arcade, bar, and pizza joint Ricky's, these are Miami Beach's ten best bars.
click to enlarge Hurry! Snag that couch before someone else does. - COURTESY OF RICKY'S SOUTH BEACH
Hurry! Snag that couch before someone else does.
Courtesy of Ricky's South Beach
1. Employees Only. Award-winning New York City bar Employees Only expanded to Miami Beach in February 2017, giving Washington Avenue a lineup of Prohibition-style drinks, upscale bar food, and an in-house psychic — handy in case you can't decide what cocktail to choose. The bar first opened in New York City's West Village in 2004 and quickly garnered numerous accolades, including World's Best Bar at Tales of the Cocktail's 2011 Spirited Awards. In Miami, find it inside a vintage coral-rock house on the grounds of the Washington Park Hotel. Most cocktails are priced at $14, including the Billionaire, made with Bakers' bourbon, lemon juice, EO grenadine, and absinthe bitters; and the Mata Hari, with Rémy Martin 1738, chai-infused Martini Rosso, and pomegranate. In terms of food, opt for hand-cut steak tartare prepared tableside ($18); pappardelle with zucchini, lemon, chili, and parmesan ($17); and flourless chocolate cake ($10). 1030 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 786-264-3945; employeesonlymiami.com. 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. daily.
COURTESY OF EMPLOYEES ONLY
Courtesy of Employees Only
2. The Broken Shaker. What started as a pop-up bar in 2012 has flourished, becoming one of the most popular spots in Miami Beach. At the Freehand, this backyard oasis, equipped with twinkling lights, ping-pong tables, and mismatched patio furniture, is stocked with a roster of ever-changing cocktails ($12-$13) that rotate according to season and available fresh ingredients. Curb your hunger with bites like artichoke fries with spicy herbed yogurt ($8), fish tacos topped with mojo crema ($12), and a double cheeseburger with Miami Smokers bacon on Zak the Baker bread ($13). Helmed by Bar Lab's Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi, the Broken Shaker has racked up a number of awards, including Best American Hotel Bar at Tales of the Cocktail's Spirited Awards. 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach; 786-325-8974; freehandhotels.com. 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday.
click to enlarge PHOTO BY ADRIAN GOAT / COURTESY OF THE FREEHAND
Photo by Adrian Goat / Courtesy of the Freehand
3. Sweet Liberty. Though billed as a neighborhood cocktail bar, Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply is much more than your typical Cheers establishment. For one thing, there's a powerhouse team behind the concept. Restaurateur David Martinez, Blackbird Ordinary's Dan Binkiewicz, and world-class bartender John Lermayer have combined forces, giving customers well-made drinks and solid bar food in a relaxed setting. Cocktails ($12-$13) range from the Air Mail, made with rum, lime, honey, and bubbles, to the Pink Chihuahua, blended with Tequila Ocho, almond, lime, pomegrenade, and egg white. Food includes tuna poke ($18), beet deviled eggs ($7), and cauliflower nachos smothered in cheesy sauce and avocado. Since opening in 2015, the bar has gained recognition from Tales of the Cocktail's Spirited Awards as the Best American High-Volume Cocktail Bar (only awarded to a bar with seating capacity of 100 or more) and was the only Florida bar to make Playboy's 2016 roundup of the best bars in America. 237-B 20th St., Miami Beach; 305-763-8217; mysweetliberty.com. 4 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 a.m. Sunday.
click to enlarge Hurry! Snag that couch before someone else does. - COURTESY OF RICKY'S SOUTH BEACH
Hurry! Snag that couch before someone else does.
Courtesy of Ricky's South Beach
4. Ricky's. This all-in-one bar, pizza joint, and arcade on 16th Street is the latest concept from Menin Hospitality, a group known for other popular Miami Beach spots like Bodega, Pizza Bar, and Radio Bar. Ricky's drink menu, created by the folks at Radio Bar and Bodega, includes $16 cocktails like the Snowflake's Revenge, made with Zacapa and orange, as well as $7 beer and an $11 cocktail of the day. This spot also offers one of the longest weekday happy hours in South Beach, running Monday through Friday from 5 to 10 p.m. Think of it as a happy-hour-special-turned-dinner-discount. Plus, every alcoholic drink purchase comes with two tokens to spend at Ricky's arcade. New York’s Artichoke Basille's Pizza is in charge of the kitchen at Ricky's, whipping up a range of pies. 1222 16th St., Miami Beach; 305-704-3602; rickyssouthbeach.com. 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 5 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
click to enlarge COURTESY OF GIN + COLLINS
Courtesy of Gin + Collins
5. Gin + Collins. Here, the gin and tonic takes center stage. Boasting six combinations of gin, tonic, and garnishes, the bar offers a variety of ways to sip the traditional Spanish drink, known simply as a gin tonic. Cocktail highlights ($11 to $12) include the AC tonic, a sweet, fruity tonic created for the AC Hotels brand; the Vilanova, featuring Spanish gin with a citrus aftertaste; and the gin tonic, which pairs Hendrick’s Gin and Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic made with flowers, fruits, and herbs. Pair drinks with sharable Mexican- and Caribbean-inspired plates, including tacos with roast pork, shredded brisket, or fried avocado; tostones with garlic cream sauce; and mini cubanos with ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, and Creole mustard. 2912 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-264-4720; marriott.com. 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Clarissa Buch Zilberman is a writer and editor, with her work appearing in print and digital titles worldwide.
Contact: Clarissa Buch