Before the craft beer and cocktail scene took over Miami, there were wine bars. Yes. Hard to imagine a time when bespoke drinks and handcrafted hops weren’t crawling all over your social media feed. But once upon a fickle time, wine ruled the 305.
While many of these bastions of vino have long since gone to that vineyard in the sky, you can still find a few around the city. There are also a handful of new wine-preneurs interested in testing Miami’s palate.
Here are seven Miami wine bars worthy of your next swirl and sip session.
Uvaggio Wine Bar
When the in-house sommelier/managing partner refers to himself as the official “head wino,” you know you’re in for a good time. This cozy Gables spot boasts a European flair and 30 to 40 wines by the glass. There’s also a menu of more than 125 wines by the bottle. Pull up a seat at the bar, and let one of the front of house staff— all trained sommeliers — guide you through a wine tasting experience paired with Chef Tanner Gil’s rustic fare. Intimidated by wine’s stuffy reputation? One look at Uvaggio’s menu (“Let’s Get Fizzacle,” anyone?) and you’ll get over it, fast.
Uvaggio Wine Bar, 70 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-448-2400
Cibo Wine Bar
While you can’t go wrong with either location of Cibo (the Coral Gables location is right down the road from Uvaggio), the South Beach space is quite the showstopper. Wine angels — servers suspended in the air by hydraulic lifts — pluck your bottle of choice from a two-story glass-enclosed wine cellar and deliver it directly to your table. This 12,000-square-foot space has one of South Beach’s largest rooftop patios, a 60-foot open kitchen churning out blistering pies and more than 3,500 bottles of wine you can cozy up to.
Cibo Wine Bar, 200 S. Pointe Dr., Miami Beach; 305-987-6060
Happy Wine Calle Ocho
The OG of Miami wine bars, Happy Wine is like that loud uncle at every family gathering — a bit rough around the edges, but the guy’s clearly the life of the party. Wine is a casual affair here. Just pluck a bottle from the shelves, crack it open and make yourself at home on one of the tables situated around the store. Order a few tapas and paninis. Wednesday night is karaoke night, and on weekends, the festivities get turned up a notch with paella and live music to accompany the stash of more than 1,000 labels. “Happy” is in the name for a reason. There’s also a location in Coconut Grove.
Happy Wine Calle Ocho, 5792 SW Eighth St., Miami; 305-262-2465 or 2833 Bird Ave, Miami; 305-460-9939
Why is it that every time we pump gas, we get an inexplicable urge to guzzle bottles of pinot gris? You don’t? It’s just us? Anyway, should that highly specific urge ever strike, you’d better hope you’re at El Carajo. The humble gas station located right off U.S. 1 hides a cavern of tannic (and not-so-tannic) delights. Questionable name aside, the wine selection here is one of the best in town, and the accompanying Spanish tapas on the menu, including tortilla Española, chorizo and fried chick peas, will make sure you’re topped off and ready for the rest of the night.
El Carajo, 2465 SW 17th Ave., Miami; 305-856-2424
Like any good New Orleans garden party, the laid-back Cajun vibe at Lagniappe lends itself to copious consumption of wine and plates brimming with charcuterie. It’s an outdoor oasis of live music, good food and – yes – vino. And once you peruse the 150-bottle selection being offered inside, you’ll quickly understand why this casual hangout on the outskirts of Wynwood was voted one of the top wine bars in America by Wine Enthusiast.
Lagniappe, 3425 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-576-0108
Lekoke Wine & Bites
This unassuming little storefront right on Calle Ocho hides a refined selection of wines from all over the world. Let the funky decanting contraptions at the bar smooth out the edges of a red while you dive into some sautéed Florida octopus or tostones topped with roast pork and mozzarella. Looking for a post-vino smoke? Lekoke features a large walk-in humidor with robust selection cigars. After all, you are in Little Havana.
Lekoke Wine & Bites, 1225 SW Eighth St., Miami; 305-848-5656
The Wine Vault at St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort
If the George Jetson invested in a wine cellar for his abode in the Skypad Apartment complex, it’d probably look a little something like the sleek, glass-enclosed stunner at the St. Regis. Leave it to this luxe resort to house more than 2,400 bottles of rare wine as if they were exotic works of art. They kind of are. And if you’re looking to impress, there’s a private chef’s table here that can be booked for intimate meals. Get that anniversary date in the books, stat.
The Wine Vault at St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, 9703 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour; 305-993-0700