Thanks to an influx of cool-kid breweries, neighborhood dive bars and intimate cocktail hideouts, Miami’s glitziest stretch of sand is finally offering something for everyone.
From queer megaclubs to 1970s-inspired rock bars, here are the best places in Miami Beach to drink, dance and play some drunken Pac-Man.
Bob’s Your Uncle is unlike any other Miami Beach bar, with chandeliers and champagne making way for giant Jenga, pizza slices and Jell-O shots. There’s also a selection of 18 beers (eight of which are on draft), nine mule cocktails (the Cimarron tequila with Mexican mole bitters is the best) and countless board, card and video games, including Uno, Pac-Man and Cards Against Humanity. The open-plan bar is bright, spacious and suitably brewery-esque, with industrial light fittings, long wooden tables made for sharing and big chalkboards announcing the daily draft specials. The motto here is “come to have a drink, play a game and feel at home,” so it goes without saying that there is no fancy attire or bank loan needed – just bring your best gaming skills.
Inspired by the punk rock scene of the late ’70s and ’80s, Kill Your Idol is all about the music. You’ll find a schedule of live performances – with anything from drag shows on Mondays to open jam sessions on Thursdays – almost every day of the week. If you’ve arrived early and there isn’t a band playing, don’t fret: there’s a 1970s jukebox loaded with plenty of Iggy Pop, Sonic Youth and The Smiths to keep you rocking into the early hours. The decor doesn’t disappoint either, with light fittings made from recycled glass bottles, an upside-down astronaut hanging from the ceiling and a bar decorated with a giant Bruce Lee, Jaws head and a talking deer. Regular drink deals – like $3 drafts and $2 lagers on Mondays – make this rocking dive bar one of the cheapest places to drink in South Beach.
Ricky’s is where every big kid in Miami wants to hang out. Part bar, part pizza joint and part arcade, this 16th Street hangout is where you come to show off your table hockey skills, shoot some enemy robots in the Terminator game or ride a motorcycle through a 3D world. Once you’ve worked up a thirst in the video arcade, choose from a menu of 150 whiskeys or have the bartender mix a barrel of punch for you. The food menu here is just as fun: think vodka-cream pizza sold by the slice, strawberry-topped funnel cakes and buckets of toffee popcorn. The happy hour – which runs Monday through Friday, from 5pm-10pm – sees everything on the menu slashed down to 50 percent, including the pizza. And, if that weren’t a sweet enough deal, you also get two tokens to spend in the arcade for every drink you buy!
Most nightclubs in Miami Beach have a dance floor, a bar and maybe an outdoor smoking area. But how many can say they have a bowling alley and skating rink? Thursday through Saturday, Basement opens up four technicolored, ’80s disco-style bowling lanes for groups of friends to drink, dance and strike out until sunrise. Next door, there’s a 2,000-square-foot (186-square-meter) ice rink for you to practice your toe loops and double backflips to hip-hop and house beats. Bowling and skating aside, the huge dance floor (brought to life with glittering disco balls, neon lights and world-famous DJ sets) is quickly becoming Miami Beach’s hottest place to party.
Pro tip: Miami is a late-night city. This means that most clubs don’t get going until at least 11pm or midnight. If you arrive earlier than this, chances are it will be just you and the DJ. We recommend going for a few drinks at one of the bars mentioned on this list first, then heading to somewhere like LIV or Basement later in the evening.
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