Best of Miami

The Ten Best Cocktail Bars in Miami

Cocktails at the Champagne Bar at the Four Seasons Surfside
Cocktails at the Champagne Bar at the Four Seasons Surfside Photo courtesy of Champagne Bar
There have been times when Miami was better known for its crime scene than its cocktail scene, but, oh, how things have changed.

Thanks to several talented Magic City bartenders and the growth of cocktail culture, the Magic City has made a name for itself with a growing mixology game offering plenty of places to whet your whistle.

From champagne spots and homegrown success stories to tiki bars and Latin-themed concepts that serve an old fashioned from a cafecito, here are ten cocktail bars — listed in alphabetical order — to get your drink on in Miami:
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The Broken Shaker
Photo courtesy of Broken Shaker at Freehand Miami

Broken Shaker

2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach
305-531-2727
brokenshaker.com
What began in 2012 as a pop-up bar has since flourished and matured into one of Miami's — and now New York City's and Los Angeles' — most popular and renowned cocktail bars. The creation of Bar Lab's Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi, over the years Broken Shaker has racked up several coveted honors, including Best American Hotel Bar at Tales of the Cocktail's Spirited Awards. And it's all set on the site of a Miami Beach hotel, where the property’s courtyard oasis doubles as the home to a largely outdoor space where twinkling lights set the tone by the pool deck where travelers, tourists, and locals gather on mismatched patio furniture to sip some pretty sublime cocktails. The menu presents several ways to curb your hunger and quench your thirst. The roster of cocktails changes according to the season and available fresh ingredients. There's even a "mocktail" menu for the designated drivers. Curb your hunger with bites like street tacos, Haitian-style griot and pikliz, shawarma fries, and a falafel burger.
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Julio Cabrera
Photo by Anthony Nader / 52 Chefs

Cafe La Trova

971 SW Eighth St., Miami
786-615-4379
cafelatrova.com
You can’t visit Calle Ocho without stopping at one of the World's 50 Best Bars. It’s all thanks to the magic made by chef/owner Michelle Bernstein’s comfort food fare and Cuban cantinero/owner Julio Cabrera, whose expert drink-making is set against a backdrop of guayabera-clad musicians inside the weathered façade of an Old Havana edifice. You can’t go wrong with the award-winning “Buenavista” prepared with gin, elderflower liqueur, mint, cucumber, and lime juice, but there’s something uniquely Miami about ordering a mojito or daiquiri here. The drink is "thrown" — a show that involves tossing the liquid from shaker to shaker to create an airborne arch — before the bartender spontaneously bursts into a choreographed dance number. It's a cocktail and a show in one.
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Cocktails with class at the Champagne Bar
Photo courtesy of the Champagne Bar

Champagne Bar

9011 Collins Ave., Surfside
786-482-2280
fourseasons.com/surfside
Some bars are good for partying. Others for relaxing. And then there are the bars worth splurging on, like the Champagne Bar at the Four Seasons Surf Club. Home to the largest collection of champagne in Miami, this chic palm-fringed, emerald-green bar offers up a bevy of stunning seasonal libations and many riffs on classic cocktails inspired by global cities. If none of them whet your whistle, a custom-crafted cocktail cart available starting at 6 p.m., priced at $85 per person, will get you the experience of your choosing. Or there’s always the long list of champagne and sparkling wines by the glass or bottle.
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Esotico's tiki cocktails
Photo by Nicole Danna

Esotico Miami

1600 NE First Ave., Miami
305-800-8454
esoticomiami.com
Esotico partner Daniele Dalla Pola loves tiki, from the movement's storied past to its bevy of beverages infused with exotic juices and served in its very own style of glassware. And to create the perfect Miami oasis, Dalla Pola has traveled the world in search of tiki inspiration for his Miami bar and restaurant. Decorated in glowing pink neon and plenty of greenery and bamboo, it delivers Polynesian pop in spades. And what of the cocktails? Traditional tiki recipes are painstakingly recreated here, prepared with fresh-squeezed juices, specialty rums, and housemade mixes, and served in custom glasses designed by Dalla Pola himself. Sure, you could order Esotico's twists on the mai tai or piña colada, but you'd be missing out on the real stars of the show, like the "Missionary's Downfall," a wildly herbaceous drink that blends brandy and rum with fresh mint. A line of limited-edition mugs lets you take the tiki to go: Try the Elvis-themed chalice with Esotico's "King Ta Moko," a blend of gin, passion fruit, housemade ginger orgeat syrup, and fresh citrus.
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Cocktails at Jaguar Sun
Photo courtesy of Jaguar Sun

Jaguar Sun

230 NE Fourth St., Miami
jaguarsunmia.com
When Jaguar Sun closed its doors for a brief pandemic-related hiatus in 2021 to offer a temporary pop-up with Sunny’s Steakhouse, Miami bemoaned the loss of one of its most quirky and cozy cocktail bars. Lucky for us, the establishment has since returned, a refreshed reboot of its original outpost in the lobby of the X Miami building offering a menu that marries original staples with a few favorites from its days as Sunny’s. Drinks by bartender Will Thompson include a selection of aperitifs, martinis, and exotic-inspired cocktails. A "Freak of the Week" means there's always something new to order up, and the happy hour offers a "Tiny Tini" with a choice of gin or vodka for $8, or classics like a Tom Collins, Manhattan, or margarita for $10 a pop. Hungry? Chef/owner Carey Hynes also ups the bar-chow game that includes Jaguar’s signature Parker House rolls served with honey-whisked butter or a perfect bowl of pasta to pair with your drink.
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Lost Boy cocktails
Photo courtesy of Lost Boy Dry Goods

Lost Boy

157 E. Flagler St., Miami
305-372-7303
lostboydrygoods.com
Some days you want to sip nitrogen cocktails with durian espuma amid pulsating beats and colored lights, and some days you simply want a good drink in a low-key, easy-going joint. That's where Lost Boy comes in. They return sanity to drinking with a cool, no-nonsense vibe and a menu of equally approachable drinks. Here, all your favorite classics are tweaked with tiny twists — think a "Penicillin" with orange-blossom honey or an espresso martini mellowed with a dash of CBD oil. Can't make up your mind? Order the "My Idea!" and the bartender will craft you a bespoke cocktail just for you. Pinching pennies? Your wallet will enjoy a trip to Lost Boy during its daily happy hour when drinks are half-price from 4 to 7 p.m.
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Old world charm at the Monterrey Bar
Photo courtesy of Monterrey Bar

Monterrey Bar

40 Island Ave., Miami Beach
305-673-1717
standardhotels.com
If you're looking for a classy cocktail, head to the newish Monterrey Bar, a venue that pays homage to the Standard Spa, Miami Beach's namesake roots, and the Monterrey Motel, which opened at 40 Island Avenue in 1953. There's a cool speakeasy vibe at the intimate lounge and six-seat, T-shaped bar, which presents guests with its take on classic cocktails paired with elevated light bites. The menu offers up a selection of "Light and Bright" or "Slow Slipper" cocktails that are easy-drinking or rich and smooth. You can’t go wrong with the “Gold Standard,” a blend of Aberfeldy 12-year scotch, passion fruit liqueur, sherry, amaro, English tea, and a 24-karat-specked ice cube. Pair it with a bar food menu that offers small plates like truffled tater tots; roasted bone marrow served with crispy shiitake mushroom and toast points; and chicken liver pate with pickled pearl onions, fig jam, and Melba toast.
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Cocktail at Spanglish
Photo courtesy of Spanglish

Spanglish

2808 N. Miami Ave., Miami
786-744-2019
spanglishmiami.com
Founded in 2019, Spanglish continues to boast one of the city's best beverage programs. Today, Spanglish has become more than just an homage to Miami’s Latin-proud "unofficial" language. It's also a way to translate the Magic City’s unique culture into a one-of-a-kind experience that encompasses both food and drink. When it comes to the libations, drinks are as creative as they are Instagram-worthy. Try the Cafetera old-fashioned, a signature drink poured straight from a fiery-red cafetera into a glass placed inside a cigar box. It's thick with aromas of rum, coffee, and cigars thanks to a blend of 1888 aged rum, cigar bitters, and a cold brew coffee reduction that perfectly represents its creators' cultures of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua.
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Margarita at Sweet Liberty
Photo by Ellie Groden

Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Co.

237 20th St., Miami Beach
305-763-8217
mysweetliberty.com
One of the most popular Miami cocktail haunts was born in 2016, the brainchild of restaurateur David Martinez, Blackbird Ordinary creator Dan Binkiewicz, and world-class bartender John Lermayer. Together, the trio opened a Miami Beach bar meant to be a hangout where locals could gather for proper cocktails and a killer menu by chef Michelle Bernstein. Adorned with a pink neon sign that urges patrons to "pursue happiness,” it quickly became one of the most revered bars in the world, having since been named one of the World's 50 Best Bars and taken home several Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. Even Lermayer's untimely death couldn't stop the plucky bar and restaurant from staying true to its mission to serve good drinks and good food in a lively and friendly atmosphere.
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Jesus Perez pours expertly made drinks at Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery.
Photo courtesy of Luis Antonio

Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery

1120 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
swizzlerumbardrinkery.com
Danilo Božovic came to town to open the Miami Beach outpost of Employees Only after serving as the principal bartender at the flagship in New York, and although the beloved bar has since closed, Božovic’s legacy lives on. Today, the bartender is known for his ability to make a consistently poured drink without the use of jiggers or other measuring tools, the likes of which you can find at Swizzle Rum Bar, where rum aficionados can soon witness tiki drink skills to the max. The menu is rum heavy, as you’d imagine, but they are some of the best libations the Magic City has to offer. Then you ask: What if tiki was born in Mexico City? And what if the Zombie was created in Oaxaca? Božovic answers these questions at the Miami Beach cocktail bar at the Viajero Hostels in Miami Beach — one door down from Swizzle at the Stiles Hotel — where Delirio Tiki Bar presents a collaboration between Bozovic and the Swizzle team that offers guests a Miami- and Latin American-themed tiki experience right next door.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna

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