You don’t have to be a tourist to partake in one of Miami Beach’s hotel bars. From alfresco spots with tropical vibes and New York-style speakeasies to posh see-and-be-seen cocktail lounges, Miamians flock to hotel bars for classic drinks, craft brews, and stellar wine lists. Here are seven of the best in Miami Beach.
1. Broken Shaker at the Freehand Hotel. Located in the back of a Mid-Beach hostel, this outdoor drinking den is known for putting Miami’s cocktail scene on the map. The bar has expanded outside of South Florida’s borders, opening locations in L.A., New York, and Chicago in recent years. A backyard pool vibe, tropical décor, and an ever-changing list of handcrafted cocktails are some of the draws at this perennially busy tropical oasis. The eclectic menu of snacks and plates from the adjacent 27 Restaurant doesn’t hurt either. 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach; 305-531-2727; freehandhotels.com/miami/broken-shaker.
2. Employees Only at the Washington Park Hotel. At this West Village import, white-jacketed mixologists turn out inventive takes on classic cocktails paired with elevated bar fare in retro-inspired digs. The late-night speakeasy is a close replica of the New York original, down to the red velvet curtain at the entrance, the undulating bar, and the cozy booth seating. For a proper introduction, try the Ready, Fire, Aim, one of the bar’s signature drinks, made with mezcal, honey pineapple syrup, and pink peppercorns ($14). If you're still around for last call, you’ll be rewarded with some complimentary house-made chicken soup, a sure way to bring you back to life after a night of heavy drinking in South Beach. 1030 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 786-264-3945; employeesonlymiami.com.
3. The Jim & Neesie and Driftway at Generator Miami. Located on the ground floor of the brand new Generator Hostel, these two drinkeries are equally enticing and filled with creative cocktails by Broken Shaker veteran Gui Jaroschy, who now helms all onsite bar and restaurant operations. Open from day to night, Driftway is perfect for poolside frozen drinks. The Friesling — made with Riesling, pear, and parsley — is a must-try ($12), while the Jim and Neesie boasts cozy, living room-like digs, bottled cocktails served tableside, a funky wine list, and a menu of global comfort food by chef Daniel Roy (formerly of Matador Room and Stubborn Seed). Be sure to try something you’ve never had before, like the raspberry- and pistachio-infused Negroni Supreme ($12), or better yet, ask the well-informed bartenders for a recommendation based on your taste. 3120 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-496-5730; generatorhostels.com.
4. The Living Room at the Faena Hotel Miami Beach. Outfitted with dramatic golden chandeliers, sexy animal-print couches and chairs, leopard and tiger statues, and red accents, this lavish lounge is right in step with the Faena’s more-is-more aesthetic. The well-heeled clientele flocks here for nightly entertainment like jazz combos and salsa performances, and for a wide array of inventive house cocktails (most around $18) and wines from around the world. And in case all those libations have you feeling a little more shaken than stirred, the Living Room also offers a snack menu stocked with globally inspired, elevated bar fare ranging from truffle sliders ($21) to artisanal cheese platters ($25). 3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; faena.com/miami-beach/bar/living-room.
5. Matador Bar at the Edition. Matador Room, the Edition hotel’s signature restaurant by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, gets attention for its elegant food driven by a world-class chef. But its namesake bar is just as much of a draw, especially on Friday night when the place is bustling. With dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean, a long walnut bar, plush seating, and bullfighter-themed photographs, the room has a sophisticated vibe. You’ll want to kick back here for a cocktail or a glass of wine, especially during happy hour for special deals on drinks and food, starting at 6 p.m.. 2901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-257-4600; matadorroom.com
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6. Rose Bar at the Delano. The historic Delano hotel is located in the heart of South Beach, and its glitzy cocktail bar is the perfect place to start a long night of decadence. The rose-colored space overlooks the Delano’s whimsical, Alice in Wonderland-inspired lobby, offering great people-watching as you sip on throwback cocktails like James Bond's Vesper martini ($20) or the Ruse with Maker's Mark, Aperol, and fresh lime juice ($20). 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-674-5752; morganshotelgroup.com.
7. The Regent Cocktail Club at the Gale South Beach. Inspired by old-school New York jazz clubs, this swanky little cocktail bar tucked away behind the Gale hotel offers nightly live music and strong and colorful cocktails in Art Deco surrounds. There's no better place to get a properly made sazerac ($13) or papa doble ($15) outside of New Orleans or Havana. Small dishes are also available, and for something a little more substantial, Dolce, the hotel’s onsite Italian restaurant, has you more than covered. 1690 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-975-2555; regentcocktailclub.com.