Up to Date: an After-Dark Guide to Miami's South Beach

Juvia Miami Beach is the perfect romantic setting for a date night
Juvia Miami Beach is the perfect romantic setting for a date night | Courtesy of Juvia Miami Beach

Outdoor cinema screenings, romantic rooftop spots and fine-dining French restaurants carve a way for couples in this seductive, sandside neighborhood.

Palm-lined boulevards, art deco architecture, golden sands scattered with sculpted bodies – everything symbolic of Miami, you’ll find wedded together in the South Beach neighborhood. The area’s reputation for hedonism is well deserved, and together with balmy nights, buzzing nightspots and a diverse melting pot of Latino culture, “SoBe” is among the most exciting dating scenes in the US. From sunset cocktails to outdoor movies, fire shows to French cuisine, here’s our pick of the top places to take a date – and even get a room.

1. Juvia

Restaurant, Bar, French, Japanese, Peruvian, American

Juvia Miami Beach. Close-up-Grilled-Salmon_edited
Courtesy of Juvia Miami Beach

Few would contest that Juvia offers diners the most spectacular views in Miami. Its ninth-floor rooftop location makes for one of the city’s most date-friendly settings, especially if you arrive for sunset. Watching the day slip into night and the lights illuminate South Beach is guaranteed to set the mood. And if you’re looking for a romantic surprise for your date, order them the Glamour cocktail, which comes with a real red rose frozen into its ice.

2. Intimo

Restaurant, Peruvian

With a name like Intimo, you’d expect somewhere with an ambience geared towards the amorous – and this upmarket restaurant doesn’t disappoint. Dine on their leafy street-side terrace or indoors where marble, brass and a playful collection of curios create a swish-yet-cozy vibe. Their Peruvian-Japanese menu has received rave reviews, with the likes of the chilled lobster tiradito, and oyster-caviar combo with gold flakes and truffle, guaranteed to impress.

3. Soundscape Park Cinema Experience

Park

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© Sipa US / Alamy

While traditional cinema has long been a surefire dating staple, it’s hardly the most romantic way to spend your evening. Head to Soundscape Park on any Wednesday between November and May, however, and you can enjoy a movie under the stars. Arrive early to snag yourself a front row “seat” on the lawn, bring a comfy blanket and a picnic dinner, sit back and enjoy. An impressive sound system and huge screen means a top cinematic experience – and, what’s more, it’s completely free.

4. Sweet Liberty Drink & Supply Co.

Cocktail Bar, Cocktails

Two things that can get a date headed in the right direction are cocktails and oysters, and this hipper-than-most bar has some of Miami’s best. It’s far enough away from the main drag to still have a neighborhood vibe, with an industrial-meets-tropical look that feels bang on-trend. Daily happy hour actually lasts a full four, offering under-a-dollar oysters and cut-price drinks. If the date’s going well, you can join the up-for-it crowd dancing to DJs well into the night.

5. Pied a Terre

Restaurant, French

Pied a Terre restaurant at Cadet Hotel_632aeda1
Courtesy of Cadet Hotel / Expedia

Considered the best French restaurant among those in the know, the cozy interiors and hushed atmosphere also lend Pied a Terre an ambience particularly conducive to an intimate evening. A five-course tasting menu takes you on a journey through Gallic gastronomy, with the option to pair with wines from one of Miami’s finest cellars. The restaurant is part of the historic 1940s Cadet Hotel, so it’s convenient if the date enters shall-we-get-a room territory.

6. Mila Restaurant

Restaurant, Mediterranean

Miami Beach, Florida, USA. 30th January, 2020. (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Sports Illustrated Swimsuit supermodels Camille Kostek, Olivia Culpo, and Kate Bock attend Kate BockOs birthday dinner at MILA Restaurant on January 31, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida Peopl
© Storms Media Group / Alamy

If you’re looking to impress your date with an evening of spectacle, glamor and culinary theatrics, this is the place to come. A semi-covered rooftop setting mixes up a Japanese garden with industrial chic and natural woods to gorgeous effect. By night, low-glow lighting sets the scene for thrilling fire-dancing displays to Balearic beats and flaming tabletop dishes. The menu is inventive Mediterranean-Asian fusion, and if you really want to push the boat out, opt for the Mila seafood tower with lobster, oysters and king crab.

7. The Villa Casa Casuarina

Boutique Hotel, Hotel, Villa, Luxury

Ornate interior of king room with gold accents, painted trompe-loeil ceiling and antiques at Villa Casa Casuarina, Miami Beach
Courtesy of the Villa Casa Casuarina / Expedia.com

This former home of Italian fashion legend, Gianni Versace, is every bit as opulent and extravagant as you might imagine. While much has changed since its conversion into a hotel, richly decorated interiors still bear the hallmarks of its most famous resident. Each of the suites is a study in neoclassical luxury creating a supremely romantic bolthole you’ll want to linger in. Alternately, lie by the “Thousand Mosaic Pool” or star gaze from the rooftop lounge while soaking up the flamboyance of it all.

8. SLS South Beach

Hotel

SLS South Beach_d9c20387
Courtesy of SLS South Beach / Expedia

While from the outside this towering hotel doesn’t promise too much in the way of romance, inside is a real treat for the senses. Design guru Philippe Starck was behind the whimsically glamorous interiors, so expect something special. Long leafy gardens provide plenty of sun-dappled seating, while a pick of bars and restaurants offers intimate drinks and dining. White-with-pink-accent rooms are a playful homage to Louis XV-era French aristocracy, with the somewhat saucy addition of mirrored ceilings.

Why not split up your Florida stay with a trip to Tampa; check out the best hotels near Busch Gardens, Florida, and enjoy the thrill-ride just round the corner.

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