I can’t help it, I love Miami. The Magic City is a place of unrelenting sun and sunniness, sparkling beaches and so many immigrant communities that you can practically eat your way across the world, from one edge of the city to the other. I love the Downtown steel and glass, trendy Wynwood, the party vibe in South Beach, and the cafecitos and cigar shops along Calle Ocho in Little Havana.
I love Miami for its extravagance and excess, for the yachts and oceanfront condos and everything else that makes the city feel like a bacchanal that never ends. Let Hemingway keep Paris and its moveable feast. Give me one of those cocktails with a little umbrella in it, a hotel on the beach and don’t call me for a week. I love Miami, because of the way that spending time here is like that great F. Scott Fitzgerald line about alcohol. The one about how, first you take a drink – then the drink takes you, baby.
The food and beverage scene here is certainly a bottomless fount of treasure. And if there’s a more beautiful setting in which to get your day-drinking on, we certainly haven’t found it yet. The next time you’re passing through the city, here are a few bars and watering holes we think are worth checking out:
This more than 2,200-square-foot space tries to bring a fresh spin to the beloved dive bar aesthetic. That means splashes of color that give it a Vegas feel, swanky leather banquets and disco lamps that hang from the ceiling throughout. The focus here is on the cocktails, with both old school and more unique variants, as well as elements of nostalgia on the menu – like grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Another element designed to take you way, way back – the presence of a giant Pac-Man arcade game.
207 NW 1st St., Miami
The Matador Room at the Miami Beach Edition hotel was inspired by the glamour of those classy 1950s-era supper clubs, with a menu that gives a nod to cuisine that runs the gamut from South American to Spanish. Inside the Matador Bar, which is outside the entrance to the Matador Room, you’ll be greeted by an inviting black walnut bar, paintings of Spanish matadors, and drinks brought to you in golden pineapples. Signature cocktails include the Bittersweet Symphony, which mixes Grey Goose, blackberry shrub, grapefruit, lemon and sage.
2901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
James Beard-nominated restaurateur Brad Kilgore’s cocktail bar Kaido Miami in the city’s Design District is a Japanese-inspired lounge with a menu that showcases classic drinks and cocktails infused with Asian flavors and sensibility. You’ve got everything here from a jasmine gimlet to a variety of Japanese whiskies, all served up in a space that’s meant to evoke a traditional Tokyo cocktail bar. Hanging over the scene is a pretty dramatic chandelier – one that’s comprised of, get this, 1,200 knives.
151 NE 41st Street, Unit 217, in Miami’s Design District
This is the companion bar that sits above the new restaurant Swan that singer/producer Pharrell Williams opened in Miami’s Design District, along with David Grutman. There’s a bit of an Arabian vibe and definitely a VIP, super-luxe feel that’s already set in here, where the drinks include handcrafted cocktails — and where there’s a rooftop lounge, for partygoers to ascend to late into the night, mingling with all the other beautiful people in the soft glow of the twinkling lights strung up around you.
90 NE 39th Street, upstairs cocktail lounge at Swan restaurant
One reason you come to Astra, a still relatively new bar in Miami’s Wynwood district, is to enjoy a perfectly curated beverage menu that includes the requisite wines along with cocktails like the Pink Goddess, Kiss My Coco and the Mediterranean Sunset. Lounge on cushy, overstuffed sofas or head up to the open-air terrace on the Astra Rooftop if you’re feeling in the mood to enjoy the DJ beats and the beauty of a perfect pink Miami sunset. The stuff that Instagram dreams are made of.
2103 NW 2nd Ave., Miami
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