When people talk about traveling to Miami or even going out in Miami, they’re usually talking about the east side of town. They’re talking about South Beach and Downtown, Wynwood and Midtown. They’re talking about hitting the clubs or driving down Ocean Drive, dining on Lincoln Road or in the Grove, or happy hours in Mary Brickell Village. And while all these may be entirely viable options for a night out, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do on the West and South parts of Miami-Dade. Throughout the past few years, the restaurant scene has blown up in South Miami, and Kendall and South Dade are now both competitors in the nightlife scene. If you’re looking for something a bit different and more low-key, don’t feel like dealing with the hassle of traffic, or simply don’t feel like getting out of your own neighborhood, here are some excellent options for an evening on the town.
Finka Table & Tap
14690 SW 26th St., Miami
You’d expect to find a place like this in the depths of Wynwood, not the heart of Kendall, and yet here it is, and folks that come here are sure to always return. Part Latin/Asian Fusion restaurant, part tapas bar, part gastropub, Finka is a breath of fresh air in the suburbs. Come here for the Cuban bibimbap or mac & cheese, stay for the craft beers, cocktails, and Compota (a dessert you’ll lick off the spoon).
Pisco y Nazca
8405 Mills Dr., #260, Miami
The Palms at Town & Country has plenty of nightlife options for those finding themselves in Kendall on a Friday night wondering where to go, but none are garnering the buzz that this Peruvian gastrobar is. At Pisco y Nazca, you not only get a divinely contemporary twist on traditional cerviche joints, you also get superb cocktails (which are just $6 during their Hora Loca), and a selection of more than 50 beers to keep the evening going strong.
18 N Krome Ave., Homestead
The newly renovated Seminole Theater, located in Downtown Homestead, is already bringing in audiophiles from all across Dade county. While shows aren’t happening nightly (yet – let’s keep our fingers crossed), they are already bringing in plenty of top talent, making it an excellent option for folks whose idea of nightlife includes front row seats to reggae, blues, jazz, and more.
Bougainvilleas Old Florida Tavern
7221 SW 58th Ave., South Miami
Tourists might completely overlook this spot, but locals all across the Magic City know and have likely spent a night at ol’ Bougies. It’s one of the longest standing bars in the vicinity of South Miami’s Sunset Place, and definitely has the most character (especially now that Fox’s Lounge has closed for good). Live music can be heard here Tuesday through Sunday, and special events like karaoke and ladies’ nights keep the locals coming back every week.
Cutler Bay Sports Bar
20305 Old Cutler Rd., Cutler Bay
This hidden gem of a dive bar is located right off Old Cutler, attracting bikers and beer-drinking locals young and old. It’s one of the few joints in the south that stay open till 5 a.m. on weekends (2 a.m. on weekdays), and has a full kitchen with plenty of tasty eats and dinner specials, plus live music and even the occasional Drunk Bingo night.
12986 SW 89th Ave., Miami
If your idea of a good night out means music, comedy, and spoken word, look no further than Artistic Vibes. The AV Collective aim to bring fresh entertainment to the South Dade crowd and so far they’ve been killing it. Tickets to most shows run between $5-$10, without the usual two drink minimum of most comedy clubs. Seriously one of the best ways to spend an evening out west of the Palmetto.
9457 SW 56th St., Miami
If the bar scene isn’t quite for you, perhaps you’d prefer an evening out trying out different hookak flavors and listening to some live music? Hookah Village provides just that, along with coffee drinks, juices, and a modest beer selection, plus some light food options should you get peckish. Weekday nights are fairly laid back but weekends tend to draw a crowd, especially when the belly dancers arrive.
The Comedy Inn
14501 South Dixie Highway
Miami, FL 33176
When you’re in need of a good laugh on a Saturday night in Miami proper, there’s no better place than the Comedy Inn. As the name suggests, here you’ll find not only top quality comedic acts, but also a room to sleep in should you end up ingesting one too many whiskey gingers (which you may if you opt to bu
y one of their Open Bar packages).
South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center
10950 SW 211 St., Cutler Bay
Driving around Cutler Bay, it’s hard not to notice the beautiful building in which the SMDCAC is housed. This vibrant hub of performing arts is the ideal venue for those who enjoy dance, theater, independent film, and fantastic live music as part of their nightlife routine. Just to give you an idea, some of their upcoming events include backyard dance concerts with live DJs, an opera by Puccini, a performance by a well-renowned female jazz vocalist, and a Mexican cultural heritage festival.
13135 SW 89th Pl., Miami
Dive bar lovers will definitely fall for Little Hoolies, a local’s bar with plenty to offer whoever comes through its doors. Pool tables, a juke box, karaoke nights, live music, a well-stocked kitchen and an even more well-stocked bar mean this bar basically has it all. Open late, with ultimately friendly service, the vibe here is a refreshing change from all the chain restaurants that surround it.
Inside the Shops at Sunset Place
5701 Sunset Drive, Ste 202, South Miami
For those seeking to do something a bit more active on their night out, Splitsville is probably your best bet. Yes, it’s a bowling alley, but really, it’s so much more. This aesthetically pleasing venue offers a full menu and possibly more importantly, a full bar with plenty of exquisite cocktails to choose from. Oh, and children aren’t allowed here in the evenings–a plus for anyone looking to truly unwind for the night.