Miami, Florida has had enough of being typecast as the college crowd’s go-to spot for spring break – it’s trading in teenage wild nights for a more upscale, refined taste, beginning in the cocktail bar scene. Here are the best places to try for delicious cocktails.
A more dignified, mature version of the artsy-hipster bars typical of the area, Gramps promises entertainment without the pretension. Get to know the warm, personable bartenders and they’ll make you a delicious, customized cocktail for a decent price. Gramps frequently hosts comedy shows, live bands, and trivia nights, but if you’d rather play boules, they have that too – real grandpa style. Upon arrival, download the Gramps app to pay for your drinks and get $10 off your total tab (it’s like getting a cocktail for free).
176 NW 24th St Miami, FL 33127+1 305-699-2669
The Drawing Room
Nicknamed The Drawing Room’s “mad scientist,” Albert Trummer – bartender extraordinaire – treats each cocktail like a chemistry experiment. A master of mixology, Trummer loves pushing boundaries by playing around with ingredients and elements. Watch as he throws fire into absinthe and theatrically blows on the flames until they fade into a smoky vapor, blurring the line between mixologist and voodoo man. With shelves lined with old-fashioned elixir bottles labelled in Latin and a cocktail list resembling an apothecary’s stock table, The Drawing Room is the stage, Trummer is the magician and the cocktails are the stars.
1801 Collins Ave Miami Beach, FL 33139 +1 (305) 531-1271
Bask in the land of luxury at Bar Centro, the premier bar and lounge at the upscale SLS South Beach Hotel. Here, the name of the cocktail game is experimentation – the bartenders love using chemical elements and top-shelf spirits to create airy, smoky concoctions. They tastefully garnish these with ingredients like black sea salt or caviar. Bar Centro’s favorite bartender, Hillary Choo, was even named the Miami Eater’s 2012 Bartender of the Year. This means that if you’re in Miami Beach, you owe it to yourself to spend a night at this heart of the cocktail revolution.
1701 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 +1 (305) 674-1701
Ball & Chain
Miami is incomplete without the fiery flair of Little Havana, so head to Ball & Chain for the quintessential experience. The bar itself is fairly new, but the location is the stuff of legends: a popular jazz club in the 1930s (Billie Holiday once performed here), it shut down just 22 years later. Ball & Chain transformed it into a jazz-meets-Cuba cocktail lounge, a venture that was met with accolades. With an inventive cocktail list infused with the bar’s history and the cantineros’ Cuban heritage, ingredients like pastelito rum and tobacco bitters bring the taste of Havana to every creation.
1513 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135
The Broken Shaker
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
The Broken Shaker
The Broken Shaker has a reputation to uphold: in 2014 it was named #22 of the 50 Best Bars in the World by Miami New Times, and if you visit the pop-up bar turned global sensation you’ll see why. It fought its way to the top of the cocktail community by providing some of the best boozy concoctions you’ve ever sipped. Mixology masterminds Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi use their refined skills and restless curiosity to innovate drinks on the go. Many of these, like the Colada Cafecito, end up on the permanent menu. Located in the backyard of the restored art-deco hotel/hostel Freehand Miami, The Broken Shaker cannot be missed.
2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach, FL 33140 +1 (305) 531-2727