Miami after dark: Where to find the city’s best nightlife
Miami’s nightlife scene is a sizzling hot, neon-lit, non-stop party and it always lasts until dawn. Whether you’re drawn towards poolside people-watching, sexy Latin rhythms or non-stop uhntz uhntz uhntz, we’ve got you covered when the sun goes down…
Miami the city that keeps the roof blazin’ sang Will Smith in 1998. Almost two decades later the city’s famous club scene is still regularly voted #1 in the country, propped up by a continual stream of A-listers, ever flashier venues and the affluent see-and-be-seen crowds who flock here.
South Beach remains the heartbeat of it all. Ian Schrager’s Basement Miami at Miami Beach EDITION – complete with skating rink, bowling alley and dancefloor with massive disco ball and 70s lighting – is still a talking point after opening back in late 2014. Moneyspinning megaclubs Icon, Story and LIV at Fontainebleau feature high energy beats on a grand scale, with multiple rooms, superstar DJs and a revolving cast of celebs. Or dance barefeet on the sand at Nikki Beach with a global line-up of hotshot models and jetsetters.
There’s more to Miami than South Beach though, so head west over Biscayne Bay to Wynwood and the Design District for a more underground, less overtly glitzy vibe. Highlights include long-running cross-cultural music venue and dance club Electric Pickle; relentlessly hip and intimate Bardot with its zero photography policy and wide mix of sounds, and Latin-focused and freshly refurbished Gavanna.
Rooftops, beach bars and patios
The nights are balmy and the best breezes can be found up high. Located on the 16th floor with glittering views of the Downtown/Brickell skyline, Area 31 at Epic Hotel is well known for its seafood, but its weekday Happy Hour (Mon-Thurs, 5-8pm) is one of the best – and best value – in town. Also in Brickell is LVL25 at Conrad Miami; a lesser-known spot popular with business travellers and those in search of a quieter vibe.
Back in South Beach, the sixth floor C-Level Rooftop Terrace at the Clevelander remains as popular – and touristy – as ever, as does waterfront hotspot Monty’s Sunset, whose stone crab platters are as sought-after as the ‘Famous Pain Remover’ cocktails. Looking to glam it up? Head to the jazz era-inspired Blues Bar at the National or High Bar at Dream, where the Atlantic Ocean views are as cool as the frozen pina coladas.
If you’re looking for a place where the art of mixology is taken way more seriously than the dress code, read on. Despite the focus on hedonistic partying, Miami does have a good crop of speakeasy-style lounges and low key venues to explore, starting with the hand shaken, Tiki-inspired cocktails at The Rum Line at Loews and the jazzy late-night vibe of Downton neighbourhood favourite The Corner.
Further afield, head to no-cover Blackbird Ordinary in Brickell for speciality cocktails that won’t break the bank; the recently re-opened Ball & Chain in Little Havana for Cuban-inspired drinks and outstanding fish tacos, or back to the beach for the much raved-about Broken Shaker at the Freehand in Mid-Beach, where the James Beard-nominated cocktails are made with elixirs, botanicals and infusions from around the world.
by Maxine Sheppard