Animated with neon-lit Art Deco architecture and an endless parade of casual bars, Ocean Drive is the antidote to the fussy nightclub scene. Here you can wear what you like, skip the line, and step inside for a night of dancing, drinks, and a share of debauchery. Check out our roundup of the best bars for a good time in South Beach.
The Clevelander Bar
Bar, Hotel Restaurant, Cocktail Bar, American, Seafood, Cocktails, Wine, Beer
Ancient by Miami standards, The Clevelander is like an institution—you have to be baptized there when entering Miami. The crowded, open-air bar offers overpriced but potent drinks and a fun evening out whether you’re flirting with foreign beauties by the pool or practicing your dance skills to some Latin tunes. Enjoy your piña colada under the palm trees while you catch the soft breeze of the ocean across the street.
Perched right on the sands of South Beach, Nikki Beach has a vibe synonymous with glamour and shameless excess. This place, which is dotted with white cabanas and beds, puts on a carnival show when someone orders a $1,000-plus champagne bottle—just like in a nightclub except its outdoors and in your face. Here, you’ll rub elbows with millionaires and tourists, models and wannabes. It’s hard to keep a distance when the drinks are spectacular, and the spot looks something like a watering hole for the gods.
Beloved by tourists and locals alike, this café by day, lounge by night is pulsating with infectious Latin music and sexy salsa dancers who climb up on the stage to shake it. Grab a mojito, margarita or rum and Coke from the bar and meander through the outdoor patio and interior. Even if you don’t know how to dance, you’ll catch the rhythm of the music, energy and sassy company.
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Famous for its frozen cocktails, Wet Willie’s, a two-story building that offers views of Ocean Drive and the beach from the balcony, packs in strong drinks, guaranteeing a fun and forgettable night. You can cool down from the heat with a frozen daiquiri and prepare for a blackout. Their colorful and fruity menu consists of favorites such as Monster Melon, Call a Cab, Sex on the Beach, and Shock Treatment—all which you should slurp slowly or endure a very slow brain freeze.
Grab a seat under a red umbrella at Finnegan’s Way. The outdoor terrace smack dab in the middle of Ocean Drive’s sidewalk is the spot to lounge about after a day spent sunbathing on South Beach. The Irish sports bar, decorated with palm trees illuminated in green, features Irish and American comfort food favs such as burgers and fries, nightly specials until midnight, and happy hour drinks Monday–Friday. Inside, dive into a game of pool, or grab a beer and catch the latest sports game on TV.
Easily identifiable by its bright yellow umbrellas, Voodoo offers specialty cocktails, draft beer, food, and hookah so that you can have your drink, calm your cravings, and even have a smoke. What’s not to love? Get buzzed while you people-watch on their sidewalk terrace, or relax on their comfy loungers on the rooftop patio equipped with a pool table. The tasty menu features an array of food, from sushi to steak to pizzas and kababs.