If you’re part of the crowd bypassing traditional mega-clubs in South Beach, we’re happy to report the resurgence of bars in Miami Beach where the service is friendly, the door policy is non-threatening and the drink prices are single-digits. We invite you to discover the great vibe at a variety of Miami Beach bars where the non-celebrity set seeks refuge in the post-glitz marketplace for nightlife fun.
We invite you to discover the great vibe at a variety of Miami Beach bars where the non-celebrity set seeks refuge in the post-glitz marketplace for nightlife fun.
South Beach offers a number of casual theme bars from Latin to Surfer to Trailer-trash chic that promise to entertain everyone in your party on a blue jean budget. With no cover charge or door policy, most bars on South Beach offer the perfect respite from exclusive velvet rope nightclubs and a welcome relief from sticker shocking drink prices.
Miami moves to a Latin beat 24 hours a day and no place captures that frenetic energy better than Ocean Drive’s favorite Salsa lounge, Mango’s Tropical Cafe. This crowded indoor/outdoor hangout (900 Ocean Drive) features reasonably-priced entertainment that captures the imagination of visitors from all over the world who get caught up in the giddy energy of sexy showgirls and thumping music that simply doesn’t stop.
Mango’s walls and ceilings are painted with tropical murals to create an exotic oasis effect. This theatrical setting highlights hard-bodied Latin dancers who appear as if by magic on bar tops and risers performing perfectly synchronized salsas for an appreciative crowd.
If you’ve never sampled a Mojito, have your first one here. A powerfully potent cocktail that’s sweet, minty and refreshing, the Mojito packs quite a punch. Friendly bartenders take a highball glass and add sugar, fresh lime juice and whole fresh mint leaves to get things started. Using a wooden muddle stick, ingredients are crushed together to release their flavor. Crushed ice is piled on top of the muddled ingredients along with rum and a splash of soda to create the perfect island-style drink. Be aware that the local legend “One Mojito, Two Mojito, Three Mojito… Floor!” is easy to achieve in no time, so approach the mojito with extreme caution!
New to the SoFi area is Public House at 423 Washington Avenue, a locals driven bar with pool table, lounging areas and upwards of 30 beers and ales ranging from $5 to $8 to choose from. They run two Happy Hours each day from 5pm-8pm and again from 3am-5am.
Fans of Food-TV’s “Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives” appreciate the dive bar as a uniquely American experience where the floors are sticky, the patrons seem dangerous and the drinks are cheap and plentiful. Automatic Slim’s (1216 Washington Avenue) captures the spirit of the Trailer Park without the grit and danger, offering a great deal of “down and dirty” fun nearly every night of the week.
While most South Beach nightspots offer cutting edge electronic music, Slims has your favorite rock, hip hop or 80s anthem in constant rotation. Drinks are strong and plentiful and before you know it, someone’s date has crossed the delicate threshold of sobriety and entered the “Girl’s Gone Wild” moment where hopping up on the handy stripper pole seems entirely appropriate. What attracts locals and visitors to Automatic Slims week after week is the no cover, no minimum, welcoming attitude of the owners who try to recreate your favorite college party. Guests who want to hang out in jeans and t-shirts find a welcome relief from the posh velvet rope clubs that are right across the street.
For a real dive bar experience, Mac’s Club Deuce (222 14th Street) is South Beach’s most popular dark and dingy escape serving drinks around the clock to a host of regulars straight out of a Fellini Movie. Happy Hour starts at 8am. That’s not a typo. While the rest of the city dresses for the workday or starts to stir with thoughts of hotel brunches and chilled mimosas, the Deuce is pouring off-price cocktails to the truly hardcore.
It’s tough to be a dive in the heart of the Deco District when all about you beams soft, friendly pastel colors and buzzy neon lights. It’s tough to maintain a surly growl when families, spring breakers and celebrities frolic through sun drenched streets anxious to have a good time. Who wants to be the grouchy Goth at the heart of Beach Blanket Bingo? The Deuce certainly tries to maintain a level of dark decorum no matter the hour.
That dedication to the Dive Spirit makes the Deuce something of a local legend. Club Deuce bartender Melissa Burley keeps her camera behind the bar and chronicles the ordinary and extraordinary moments as they happen. Her compiled works were released as a colorful coffee table book with 450 of Melissa’s best shots gathered into a sort of Carny Yearbook of 13 years of patrons at play. If you’re interested in owning a copy or just checking to see if you made it into history, stop by the bar and buy one for just $40.
On the fashionable west side of town, another legendary bar takes pride of place with local hipsters and a new stream of visitors to the bay side scene. Locals once dubbed this out-of-the-way surfer bar the “Dirty Purdy” but that seems like a distant memory now that the west side of South Beach is booming. Much like Mac’s Club Deuce, the Purdy Lounge (1811 Purdy Avenue) once enjoyed a steady stream of industry regulars; off-duty bar and restaurant staff looking to relax and unwind after shifts serving South Beach tourists at glitzier locations.
With popular theme nights like Chocolate Sundays, Kulcha Shok Surf Nights and Drunken Spelling Bees, the Purdy leveraged its niche as everyone’s favorite corner bar. Much busier in recent years following the renaissance of the Standard Hotel and Spa and a number of new restaurants, the bar remains a stalwart anti-velvet rope hangout by the Bay. Dimly lit like a basement rec room, there’s no cover, no door drama and no pretentious behavior. Stop in for a drink, a game of pool and make some new friends.
The next stop in our low-key bar crawl is one of our all time favorite spots for a blast of cool air, a sea of smiling faces and hours of action. Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge (1691 Michigan Avenue) is an adult bowling alley just off Lincoln Road opened 11am until 1am all week long. This colorful playground offers a great escape on a rainy day or a casual night of fun, friends and alcohol in equal measure.
The ample lounge area features 2 pool tables, cozy leather couches, a DJ booth and giant flat screen projection TVs where sporting events from American league play to European football matches are telecast all day long. Friends can gather in modular seating areas to celebrate special events, bachelor parties and college football weekends.
What distinguishes Lucky Strike from your neighborhood bowl-o-rama is the over 21 policy after 9pm when the scene is definitely date friendly. Enjoy food and drinks right on the lanes that include comfy sofas and high-top bar tables so everyone can watch the action. With full entrees and decadent desserts on the menu, guests can enjoy a full lunch or dinner before, during or after the game. Next time you’re out and about and can’t decide what you and your friends want to do, roll into the Lucky Strike Lanes and score some pretty big fun.
Guests visiting from the United Kingdom (or even Boston) may take the subtle evolution of their local pub culture for granted until they visit South Beach. While we have a great number of friendly pubs tucked into a relatively small portion of the city, there are few that can hope to compete with the sometimes hundred year old taverns of Dublin, London or Cambridge; friendly drinking houses where everyone knows your name.
For a more casual approach to an evening out, South Beach offers plenty of traditional beer halls that are close enough to navigate on foot (or on your knees). Here is a list of our favorite pubs to help you find your way to a cool pint, a match on television, and some of the friendliest locals you’re likely to meet…
Ted’s Hideaway (124 2nd Street) has a bit of a frat party atmosphere with rock on the jukebox, cheap beers, sports on TV and a busy pool table. This popular pre-game spot gets mighty crowded with well-dressed club goers because the price of a velvet rope round of drinks can equal the tab for an entire night at Ted’s. As the evening wears on, the air fills with cigarette smoke and 80s rock and folks tend to get pretty loud. Consider this the antidote to overpriced drinks and overblown egos. Ted’s is SoFi’s “Cheers.
This popular pre-game spot gets mighty crowded with well-dressed club goers because the price of a velvet rope round of drinks can equal the tab for an entire night at Ted’s. As the evening wears on, the air fills with cigarette smoke and 80s rock and folks tend to get pretty loud. Consider this the antidote to overpriced drinks and overblown egos. Ted’s is SoFi’s “Cheers.”
Playwright Irish Pub (1265 Washington Avenue) is a fun place to eat and drink while cheering your favorite team to victory. Flat screen TVs surround the bar and pride of place is given to a giant projection screen that’s reserved for the evening’s main event. While there are indeed better and more authentic pubs in Boston where Irish populations are more significant, for South Beach the Playwright gets high marks. Its proximity to the velvet rope nightspot Mansion makes it the perfect foil for non-club fun. Drinks are 2 for 1 and appetizers are half price at happy hour weekdays.
Finnegan’s Way (1344 Ocean Drive) is a more comprehensive sports bar with indoor and outdoor seating, a full kitchen and a weeknight happy hour with specials on appetizers, cocktails and select dinner entrees. Considering the busy Art Deco strip has more than it’s fair share of overpriced cafes, Finnegan’s offers a decent respite after a hot day at the beach or a hot night dodging pricier tourist traps.
If you can manage six stops on your South Beach pub crawl, we’re certain you’ll find great times awaiting you.
|Shore Club||1901 Collins Ave||(305) 695-3226|
|Astor Hotel||956 Washington Ave||(305) 531-4056|
|Aura||613 Lincoln Rd.||(305) 695-1100|
|Bella Cuba||1659 Washington Ave||(305) 672-7466|
|Bistro One||1 Lincoln Rd.||(786) 276-4000|
|Clevelander||1020 Ocean Dr.||(305) 531-3485|
|Club Deuce||222 14th St.||(305) 531-6200|
|Delano Hotel Rose Bar||1685 Collins Ave||(305) 672-2000|
|Doraku||1104 Lincoln Rd.||(305) 695-8383|
|Fat Tuesday||918 Ocean Dr.||(305) 534-1328|
|Feel Good South Beach||222 Espanola Way||(305) 534-1009|
|Finnegan’s 2||942 Lincoln Rd.||(305) 538-7997|
|Finnegan’s Way||1344 Ocean Dr.||(305) 672-7747|
|Fridays Restaurant||500 Ocean Dr.||(305) 673-8443|
|Hofbrau Beerhall Miami||943 Lincoln Rd.||(305) 538-8066|
|Larios on the Beach||820 Ocean Dr.||(305) 532-9577|
|Lucky Strike||1691 Michigan Ave||(305) 532-0309|
|Mango’s Tropical Cafe||900 Ocean Dr.||(305) 673-4422|
|Mokai Lounge||235 23rd St.||(305) 531-4166|
|Monty’s on the Beach||300 Alton Rd.||(305) 531-9030|
|National Hotel||1677 Collins Ave||(305) 423-7211|
|Nikki Beach||1 Ocean Dr.||(305) 538-1231|
|Nobu||1901 Collins Ave||(305) 695-3232|
|Oriente at Cafe Cardozo||1300 Ocean Dr.||(305) 695-2822|
|Playwright Irish Pub||1265 Washington Ave||(305) 534-0667|
|Public House||423 Washington Ave||(305) 673-8109|
|Purdy Lounge||1811 Purdy Ave||(305) 531-4622|
|SegaFredo||1040 Lincoln Rd.||(305) 673-0047|
|Shoji Sushi||100 Collins Ave||(305) 532-4245|
|Shula’s Steak House||5225 Collins Ave||(305) 341-6565|
|Smith & Wollensky||1 Washington Ave||(305) 673-2800|
|Spiga Ristorante Italiano||1228 Collins Ave||(305) 534-0079|
|Spire Bar at The Hotel||801 Collins Ave||(305) 531-2222|
|Sushi Samba Dromo||600 Lincoln Rd.||(305) 673-5337|
|Tap Tap Haitian Restaurant||819 5th St.||(305) 672-2898|
|Ted’s Hideaway||124 2nd St.||(305) 532-9869|
|Tequila Chicas||1501 Ocean Dr.||(305) 531-7010|
|Texas de Brazil||300 Alton Road #200||(305) 695-7702|
|The Abbey Brewing Co.||1115 16th St.||(305) 538-8110|
|Townhouse||150 20th St.||(305) 534-3800|
|Veranda Bar||3025 Collins Ave||(305) 534-0505|
|Wet Willie’s||760 Ocean Dr.||(305) 532-5650|