While Miami may have earned a reputation for its larger-than-life nightclubs, an exploding food and cocktail scene has given us a pretty solid assortment of great small bars and hole-in-the-wall gems worth scoping out. Here’s where to go next time you want to skip out on the bottle service and opt for an expertly crafted cocktail or locally brewed cold one without having to shout over booming EDM.
3. The Bitter Truth
When it comes to drinks, the team at The Bitter Truth means business. And while the cocktails are creative and complex, the spot has the feel of a funky neighborhood dive bar (or a warehouse turned drinking den). Boasting graffiti-covered walls, exposed ceilings, and a bathtub in the middle of the floor, it’s a great place for the adventurous imbiber to kick back and try the storied Cocktail Collective’s latest creations.
3252 NE First Ave., Miami
4. Mercado Negro
Located through a secret back door in South Miami’s Tacocraft, Mercado Negro is the perfect blend of industrial cool and clandestine chic. From the blend of Mexican rap, hip hop and R&B that pumps through the speakers, to the gilded modern calavera portraits that cover the walls (not to mention a pretty sick mural), this is where sophisticated intimacy meets urban edge.
7200 SW 58th Avenue, South Miami
5. Craft Social Club
With its industrial chic décor and comfy leather booths, Craft Social Club strikes a flawless balance between posh SoBe lounge and hip NYC cocktail den. Dreamt up by R.T. Murphy (alumni of EMM Group) and L.P Steele (who ran Bacardi Legacy and GA Magazine/Bombay Sapphire’s Most Imaginative Bartender competitions), the philosophy behind CSC is to combine a personalized, crafted Golden Age cocktail experience with an intimate nightlife atmosphere (set to the tune of classic hip hop, soul, and R&B). It’s also the only bar in Miami to offer VIP craft bottle service with built-in bars at each VIP suite. Because let’s be real – if you’re gonna pop bottles, why settle for a vodka cranberry when you can have a craft cocktail instead?
100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
9. El Patio
Occupying the space formerly known as The Social Lubricant Lounge, El Patio makes you feel as though you’ve stepped into a backyard party somewhere in South America. Friends sit and drink on bleacher style seating, twinkling string lights illuminate the outdoor space, and a variety of live DJs play Latin and cumbia beats all night long. At the bar, you’ll find all manner of beer specials, along with craft cocktails and Latin comfort food.
167 NW 23rd Street, Miami
12. Drunken Dragon
Marked by black-out windows and a nondescript neon sign reading ‘MARKET,’ this Miami Beach mainstay has become famous for its Korean BBQ, craft cocktails and unbeatable happy hour. Hit the chic spot (located speakeasy-style in a seedy looking strip mall) and play Drunken Roulette, where the bartenders whip you up a surprise based on your spirit preferences.
1424 Alton Rd, Miami Beach