Ever since Hugh Hefner launched his magazine in December 1953 with Marilyn Monroe on the cover, Playboy has been synonymous with a lifestyle of gentlemanly luxury. In addition to featuring the most beautiful women in the world, the magazine offers short stories by celebrated authors, political cartoons, and in-depth reporting. Each year, the magazine also seeks out the best new bar in America.
This year, the search is on again. Playboy's editors have whittled down the thousands of choices to come up with a comprehensive list of 50 of the best new bars in America.
According to Playboy's corporate communications representative John Vlautin, the list of the 50 bars was compiled by putting out an open call for nominations "to our trusted stable of drinks, nightlife, and travel writers, top bartenders around the country, as well as execs in the spirits and hospitality industries." In addition, this was the first year readers were asked for their input. "[Playboy's editors] tallied all the numbers and arrived at this list."
South Beach's Sweet Liberty is the only bar in Florida to make the list, sharing space with some of the buzzworthiest watering holes in the nation, including GreenRiver in Chicago, Fresh Kills in Brooklyn, and Scarpetta alum Nina Compton's Compère Lapin in New Orleans.
It shouldn't surprise many that Sweet Liberty received this accolade. Since it opened in September 2015, it has received much recognition, including winning the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award for Best New American Cocktail Bar. The tavern was also named Best Bar, Miami Beach by New Times and was awarded the title of Best Happy Hour by New Times' readers.
Playboy has this to say about the Miami Beach bar and its partners — mixologist John Lermayer, restaurateur David Martinez, and Blackbird Ordinary's Dan Binkiewicz:
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Locals will surely remember John Lermayer from his stints at the buzzy Shore Club, Delano and Regent Cocktail Club, where his drink-making prowess and hospitable nature were on full display. Now he’s brought them to the emerging Collins Park neighborhood, where he and partners David Martinez and Dan Binkiewicz have opened Sweet Liberty. Devoid of the nightclub pretense that abounds in South Beach, it’s a relaxed space with old-school wallpaper and 75-cent oyster specials. Gorge on brisket sandwiches and cauliflower nachos during Motown on Mondays, and while those remixes spin, sample drinks like the floral Collins Park Sour or fragrant Baby Bison (Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka, apple juice, lemon, Aperol, orange oil).
Playboy's editorial staff also recommends ordering the Collins Park Sour, a libation made with Fords Gin, crème de pêche, lemon juice, orange blossom, egg white, and matcha ($12).
If you haven't experienced Sweet Liberty, now is a good time. The neighborhood bar is offering a great Miami Spice menu, featuring Michelle Bernstein's famous fried chicken. To sweeten the deal, the first cocktail is complimentary when ordering from the Spice menu.
From now until August 31, Playboy invites readers to vote for their favorite bar at Playboy.com, with one vote allowed per reader per day. The top ten bars will be announced in the magazine's November issue.