So you’re going to Miami?
We understand that you can’t leave Miami without your token “beach pic,” and while you’ll be sharing the warm sand with way too many of your fellow tourists, we won’t fault you on your need to catch some rays on the iconic white-sand beaches or splash around in the surreal blue water. However, when it comes to your nightlife adventures, leave South Beach to the less seasoned travelers.
Here are five Miami nightlife hot spots that aren’t South Beach:
1. Wynwood Art District
If you’re all about what’s hip and happening, look no further than Miami’s trendy Wynwood neighborhood, where modern street art and culture seep from… well, every wall. Formerly an industrial district, Wynwood has transformed into the beating heart of Miami’s art scene, featuring more than 70 galleries and museums and exquisite murals and graffiti art plastered across many of the buildings. But Wynwood doesn’t just offer a feast for the eyes. Check out what’s scheduled at the Wynwood Yard, an open-air entrepreneurial space that features an eclectic offering of food and live music. If that doesn’t suit your tastes, Wynwood offers a wide range of bars and eateries, from the dive-bar feel of Wood Tavern to the upscale, sophisticated Rácket and everything in between. And because there’s nothing like Mexican food to stave off the morning hangover, don’t forget to finish the night at Coyo Taco, which recently received a surprise visit from the former POTUS, Barack Obama.
2. Little Havana
There’s a saying in The Magic City: “The best thing about Miami is that it’s so close to the United States.” Nowhere is that more true than in Little Havana. Get your fill of that renowned Latin vibe in Miami’s famous, traditionally Cuban neighborhood, where you’ll get your fill of food, booze, music, and dancing, all along a walkable stretch of Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street). Start your night off with a foreign indie flick at the Tower Theater—one of Miami’s oldest landmarks—and opt for one in Spanish to set the mood. If you’re itching to dance—or just want to sit back and watch some amazing musicians and salseros do their thing—head to Hoy Como Ayer, a bar and lounge featuring live Cuban music. Finish the night at the Ball & Chain, a famous club and music venue that just reopened, 50 years after it had hosted jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday. Order the Canita, made with real sugarcane juice fresh-pressed from some vintage-looking contraption right there at the bar, and head out to the back patio to enjoy a refreshing mix of modern tunes and classic Cuban jazz.
3. Little Haiti
Several blocks north of Wynwood, a predominantly Haitian immigrant enclave is also earning a reputation as an exciting music, arts, and culture hub while offering its own special Afro-Caribbean flavor. Although Little Haiti is best experienced during the day—shop unique handmade gifts at the 9,000-sq.-ft. Caribbean Marketplace or catch a music and dance performance at the Little Haiti Cultural Center—it has some cool, laid-back nightlife offerings. Our favorite is Rasta Village, a Jamaican-influenced outdoor space that offers live music, jam sessions, spoken word performances, juice bars, and a restaurant that uses produce grown on site. Once you’ve had your fix of the Caribbean vibe, head on over to Churchill’s Pub, Little Haiti’s most famous bar and music venue… and its most notorious public restroom.
Considered the “Park Avenue of the South,” Brickell has a reputation for catering to the upscale crowd. There are definitely a few clubs that fit that bill, such as Sugar, a bougie, Asian-influenced rooftop bar on the 40th—yes, that’s 4-0—story of EAST hotel and the high-end Blume Nightclub, with its garden bar terrace. However, Brickell also offers a surprisingly eclectic mix of less posh options, such as Blackbird Ordinary, a favorite of local Miamians. Although the dance floor can get seriously packed on weekends, the well-crafted cocktails, excellent musical acts, and quirky vibe are well worth rubbing shoulders with a bunch of strangers until 5 a.m. If you’re looking for the same level of intelligently crafted cocktails with a more low-key atmosphere, try Redbar, which, with its crimson bar and retro décor, has a speakeasy feel.
5. Coconut Grove
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and noise of the city, you don’t have to go far! For a more casual, quiet evening, head south along Biscayne Bay to Coconut Grove, where the thick canopies of trees and lush tropical foliage create an almost “hidden” feel in Miami’s oldest continuously inhabited neighborhood. Meander around the main commercial area along Grand Avenue and Main Highway at night, and you’ll find the area abuzz with activity under the soft yellow glow of the street lamps. Start the night with tapas at Lulu in the Grove (which, for future reference, is also one of the best brunch places in Miami). Then, head over to the Taurus Beer and Whiskey House to sip small-batch whiskey in the casual ambiance of their front patio. Or, if gourmet bites and unique crafted cocktails are more your thing, GreenStreet Café prides itself on offering the best of both. Ever had blackened dolphin with a Pink Squirrel? You can at GreenStreet.