Some of the most well-known Miami bars places are great, but often feel packed, which makes for ZERO fun. That’s why notable local bar and club owners have created awesome spots that are a little off the radar. More word-of-mouth than officially promoted, these are the best places to go to avoid needlessly long lines, tourists, and paid models taking bored selfies of themselves all night long.
Bodega1220 16th St, Miami Beach, FL, United States
Welcome to your fantasy bachelor-party nightclub. On 16th Street there’s an unassuming taco shop with an actual vintage, Airstream taco truck inside. You love a good taco truck, so chow down on the authentic bites. But, wait, it’s not over. Head to the “bathroom” (warning: it’s not a real bathroom). You’ll walk through this hallway and, Narnia style, enter the magical speakeasy bar that takes nightlife to a whole new level. It’s a true hideaway with plush sofas, a handsome vintage wooden bar, wooden beams, light chandeliers, a sign than says “Love Me Fuck Me” and a dance club scene that gets wild later in the night with a locals-heavy, good-looking crowd. You’re welcome.
Sugar at East Miami788 Brickell Plaza, Miami, FL, United States
In the up-and-coming Brickell area, close to the Design District in East Miami, is one of those swank new hotels that just does everything right. They understand their demographic, and they go beyond expectations. They also love a good nightlife scene, and it’s evident at their rooftop bar, Sugar. You have to have a reservation. It’s not a huge space, and they like to limit it to people that really want to spend money and knock back craft cocktails. So if you don’t have a reservation (which, yes, you’ll have to make weeks in advance) you really have to sweet talk the door people. Sugar is intimate and fun, and the views are sick, so it’s definitely worth all the effort. Word on the street is there’s also a secret bar somewhere in this building, but that’s for you to find.
FloydFloyd Miami, Northeast 11th Street, Miami, FL, United States
Sure, Club Space in downtown Miami is cool. It brings in hot DJs. It gets a decent crowd. But the in-the-know people skip the lines here and basically go next door to a bar marked by a red lamp. It was actually a speakeasy bar called Libertine, but then it closed and now some leading nightlife dudes opened it as Floyd. It’s not a “secret’ bar by any means, but it’s a locals-only affair. The cocktail bar has a vintage feel and there’s live jazz and funk bands, which makes for chilled-out good times all around.
FoxholeFoxhole, 14th Court, Miami Beach, FL, United States
Plain and simple, this is a dude bar. It’s a speakeasy dude bar. It’s a sports bar dude bar. It’s the type of place that, for a while, was just a speakeasy, but the word got out. It’s medium hidden in an alley with no signage, just a block from famed Alton Road, and at some point, dudes camped out here to watch the game or a fight. Now it’s a dimly lit, very fun speakeasy sports dude bar. Later in the night it floods with dudes and chicks, and it gets a bit dancey. Expect more professional hipster-ish type of partiers, in their mid-20s, but still very dude-centric, thanks to a pool table, darts and two levels to play. The waitstaff is pretty hot and actually friendly for Miami. It’s basically part of Drunken Dragon, another “hidden” spot that’s more of a restaurant, if you want to grab some grub beforehand.
Nina's HouseNina's House, Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL, United States
Thompson Miami Beach had a short life. We don’t know what happened, but the enthusiasm for this famed party hotel totally flickered out. Hyatt came to save the space, and while Hyatt isn’t necessarily a party hotel brand, they turned this property into a boutique called The Confidante in an attempt to keep the hip vibe and the cool clientele that came here. It works. Unless you’re staying here or are a scenester local, you probably don’t know there’s an actual, tiny historic house that was craned over and put smack-dab in the middle of the pool area. It’s pretty swank with leather furnishings, surfboard furnishings, and a low-key ambience, but on weekends the DJs help things get rowdy.