You’ve had a long day roaming Miami’s colorful neighborhoods and you’re ready to swap your colada for some vinito. Well, we don’t blame you.
Miami attracts some first-class sommeliers, and is home to all types of wine bar, from a laid-back yard to an upscale enoteca. These are the best wine bars in Miami to kick back (or dance) at, sip on a few glasses of wine and munch on small bites.
Uvaggio Wine Bar and Restaurant, Coral Gables
Wine Bar, Restaurant, Wine, Vegetarian, $$$
Uvaggio fantastically marries a respect for wine with a playful demeanor. The bar and restaurant boasts a team of trained sommeliers, including the internationally known Heath Porter, who refers to himself as the ‘Head Wine-O.’ As well as boasting a menu showcasing more than 125 wines by the bottle from exotic places like Israel and Japan, this wine bar is ideal for those who are serious about wine but committed to having fun, and the comic flair behind the menu’s production doesn’t shy from punchy pop culture references. It’s a good idea to stick to the waiters’ suggestions; they recommend a small dish to pair with your wine, rather than the other way around. Stop by in the evening from Tuesdays through Thursdays for live blues, jazz or ’70s-’90s music.
El Carajo’s humble beginnings are rooted in a gas station that now doubles as a rustic wine and tapas bar. You know you’ve arrived when you see a board advertising ‘El Carajo’ next to a Mobil gas station sign. Visitors often swing by to purchase a bottle or prepare for a wine marathon by choosing from an extensive collection of bottles from around the globe. Uncorking a bottle of wine in El Carajo’s wine cellar is sort of a Miami milestone. It’s also a bakery and café, so a to-go colada and croqueta is another option.
Lagniappe is the gateway to the world of Miami wine bars. It’s cool and quaint, and reminiscent of drinking with extended family in a backyard tossed with string lights and vintage patio furniture. On any night of the week, you’ll find the large outdoor patio teeming with groups of friends ordering bottles of wine. These are sold at retail price and are easily accessible via large coolers carrying well-known labels and items from boutique wineries. The details are what make Lagniappe more welcoming than some of Miami’s flashier wine bars, and it’s no surprise that it was voted one of the top wine bars in America by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
What donut flavor would you pair with a glass of red wine? Head to Abaco’s Salty Donut dessert and wine tasting event to find out. Located in the Design District, the luxe wine shop and tasting bar hosts a series of quirky events such as afternoon wine trivia or a blind wine tasting class. The sleek interior is replete with hundreds of wine bottles lined up on the wall, and there are even iPads on which guests can browse through the shop’s diverse stock.
Bunbury, an Argentinian wine and tapas bar, recently upgraded to new digs featuring an indoor abundance of greenery, a mini-library and two outdoor cabanas. Sip on your glass of wine or a refreshing wine-based cocktail like a moscato mojito, and munch on shareable small plates such as the four cheese and smoked bacon empanadas. Drop in for their weeknight happy hour to get a $5 glass of wine from 5pm to 8pm.
This ritzy South Florida mainstay is a wine aficionado’s oasis, and also has two other locations, in Coral Gables and South Beach. Servers, referred to as ‘wine angels,’ grab your bottle from a two-story wine wall and bring it down using hydraulic lifts, right in front of your eyes. There’s a 3,500-bottle selection to scan, with about 70% of the wine hailing from Italy. The impressive 14,723-square-foot (1,368-square-meter) South Beach venue features two main bars and a large rooftop with a mobile bar. And in case you need another reason to venture out to Cibo, wine by the glass, wine by the bottle and craft cocktails are half-price every day from 5pm to 7pm. On weekends, you can also snag certain bottles of wine, sparkling wine and champagne for half price.
Nestled in Little Havana, LeKoke is the drinking spot that makes you feel at home. The husband-and-wife team runs everything from A to Z and offers unparalleled service. The vintage film cameras and knick-knacks carefully strung throughout the salon add to the cozy and rustic environment you’ll never want to leave. Stay for a couple glasses of wine and some pork-covered tostones.
The new partners of this Coconut Grove neighborhood staple make their own wines in their Argentinian vineyard. Cozy up to the 10-person bar underneath wine-glass chandeliers or grab a seat in the spacious outdoor area, and pair the Alviento white with an Italian or Spanish meat or cheese plate. Otherwise, there’s a broad list of international wines by the glass or by the bottle to pore over.
Happy Wine’s two locations (Coconut Grove and West Miami) offer affordable wine, live music and buzzy chatter in a laid-back and festive environment. The wine bar stocks over 800 labels and offers a complete tapas menu including croquetas, bacon-wrapped dates and cheese-stuffed meatballs. Station yourself at one of the wine barrels that double as tables and pair a bottle of Californian cabernet sauvignon (for as little as $9) with a small plate of smoked shishito peppers.
With doors flung open (almost) all the time, this French-Mediterranean neighborhood joint invites guests to browse through the large wine coolers that line the walls or linger near the street for as long as they want. Though La Cave d’Azur is a restaurant, any place in Miami can get rowdy at any time of day. Sometimes all you need is people dancing to the DJ’s tunes while you sip on French wine and load up on risotto and macaroons. Swing by on Wednesdays from 6pm to 9pm for a $15 wine tasting session with three glasses included.
Wind down with a glass of wine at the enoteca after perusing La Centrale’s massive halls replete with Italian pasta, pastries, meats and cheeses. The wine bar is on the third floor of the market, and it flaunts 450 international and Californian wines and a curated selection of 20 bottles from Italian regions. The enoteca, elegant with rustic charm, is also famous for its wine flights, where you order three or five wines to taste and then choose your favorite.