A night of hotel bar hopping is a common practice in Miami whether you live here or are just calling one of said hotels home for a few nights. From South Beach decadence to Brickell’s post-work scene, glittering lobbies and panoramic views mix well with the latest cocktail craze. Here’s a roundup of some of the buzziest hotel bars in the Magic City.
The Regent Cocktail Club at The Gale South Beach
This cozy speakeasy tucked away at the rear of The Gale South Beach has become a late night clubhouse of sorts for the local cocktail cognoscenti. With a who’s who of Miami mixologists presiding behind the bar, including Julio Cabrera—usually sporting a tux, red bowtie, and thick-rimmed glasses—the drink list consists of classics, like the Hemingway Daiquiri or a simple Champagne Cocktail with Angostura bitters and sugar. Pick your poison—or have your barman create something off the menu to meet your taste—and get cozy at one of the central plush leather banquettes. 1690 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-0199.
The Broken Shaker at The Freehand Miami
For a laid back and enchanting evening sipping fresh, artisanal cocktails under the stars, duck into The Broken Shaker at The Freehand Miami. With eclectic patio furniture shaded underneath lush, tropical palms, and nostalgic party games, like Jenga, nearby, The Broken Shaker feels like you’re hanging out in a good friend’s backyard. The brainchild of dynamic duo Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi of Bar Lab, the cocktail menu is constantly changing, highlighting fresh herbs and spices from the onsite garden, and homemade syrups, infusions, and elixirs. 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach; 305-531-2727.
The Martini Bar at The Raleigh
The Genuine Hospitality Group has breathed new life into the food and beverage program at The Raleigh, and this includes the beloved Martini Bar adjacent to the lobby. With its original terrazzo flooring—complete with a martini glass illustration—a mahogany bar, and framed candid photographs of old school celebs in Miami, from Liberace and Christopher Walken, it’s all South Beach kitsch and nostalgia. The focus is on the art and simplicity of the classic martini, as well as curating a menu of original ones contributed by local mixologists. 1775 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-534-6300.
Bar Centro at SLS Hotel South Beach
Chef José Andrés and beverage director Lucas Paya of Think Food Group and The Bazaar by José Andrés have brought their brand of Beverly Hills glamour and whimsy to South Beach’s SLS. Perched on an expansive outdoor covered patio, Bar Centro overlooks the hotel pool, the frenzied Hyde Beach club, and the tranquil Atlantic Ocean. Relax in a cushy rattan chair with pastel accents and prepare to sample an avant-garde, molecular spin on classic cocktails. Think margaritas topped with frothy salt air and caipirhinas created tableside with liquid nitrogen. 1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-674-1701.
Blues Bar at the National Hotel
For vintage voyeurs, all eyes are on the National Hotel. After a $12-million renovation, the iconic Art Deco building has been restored to its original grandeur. Party like it's 1939 with live jazz and blues and throwback cocktails in a glamorous setting of the family-owned hotel's lobby bar. The National's new beverage program is still a bit of a work in progress, but expect to sip on cocktails with names like the Floral Flute (Prosecco), National Hemingway (white rum), Tamara Bella (tequila), and Cucumber Fresco (gin). This summer, enjoy Blues Bar cocktails at retro prices ($6 - $8) with complimentary appetizers 6 - 8 p.m. every other Wednesday (June 18; July 2, 16, and 30; August 13 and 17). 1677 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; nationalhotel.com or 305-532-2311.
Bleau Bar at Fontainebleau Miami Beach
For a true taste of the South Beach scene, arrive at the Fontainebleau’s Bleau Bar just before midnight on Friday or Saturday night. Navigate across the iconic Morris Lapidus-designed bowtie tile floors of the lobby, through the teeming crowd of clubgoers anxious for entry to LIV nightclub, and elbow your way to the recessed circular white bar with gilt columns and a glowing floor pulsating slowly in a rainbow of cool neon colors. Expect a DJ spinning, women in mini dresses and skyhigh heels, and a crowd ready to party. 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-538-2000.
Area 31 at Epic Hotel
Where the Miami River flows out to Biscayne Bay, and downtown meets Brickell, the Epic Hotel stands 54 stories high with panoramic views of it all. On the 16th floor is Area 31, an outdoor poolside terrace bar that seemingly juts over the water with the feeling that you’re floating amidst the surrounding high rises. Featuring small bites, as well as the “Veuve Around the Clock” champagne happy hour from 5 to 8 p.m., they court a sophisticated post-work crowd. 270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami; 305-424-5234.
Toro Toro at InterContinental
With its recent multi-million dollar renovation and the addition of chef Richard Sandoval’s Toro Toro restaurant and lounge, the InterContinental just got a little sexier. Its prime downtown waterfront location makes it the perfect stop before or after a Heat game, or other American Airlines Arena events. Enjoy inventive cocktails made of pisco, mezcal, and rum, and light bites, such as tuna tacos, at this spacious Pan Latin lounge inside the InterContinental’s dazzling marble lobby. 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami; 305-372-4710.
Edge, Steak & Bar at Four Seasons
At 70 stories tall, the Four Seasons Miami is the tallest building south of Atlanta. That feat of grandeur extends to its luxurious digs and fine dining restaurant Edge, Steak & Bar. High ceilings with glittering overhead brass glass lamps illuminate a chic, whitewashed dining room with plush leather booths and a central marble bar. Sip artisanal cocktails, like the Hibiscus Mojito, or a glass of wine amidst Miami’s power players and international business travelers. 1435 Brickell Ave., Miami; 305-381-3190.
M-Bar at Mandarin Oriental
For a luxurious island retreat in the heart of the city’s skyscrapers, make your way to Brickell Key’s crown jewel, the Mandarin Oriental. M-Bar offers unparalleled views of Biscayne Bay with Miami’s downtown skyline as a backdrop. A fashionable set gathers at the outdoor terrace of Café Sambal to toast to the weekend over haute Pan Asian bites and crafty cocktails. 500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami; 305-913-8288.
Whiskey Blue at W Fort Lauderdale
Rande Gerber’s classic hotel bar Whiskey Blue can only be found in Florida at Fort Lauderdale’s W hotel. Rub elbows with the scenesters at this sexy bar with moody blue lighting and aqua barstool cushions. Outside, get snuggly by a fire pit on the oceanfront terrace and sip a Grapefruit Basil Martini or Jalapeno Margarita under the stars. 401 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-414-8200.
Golden Lyon Pub at Riverside Hotel
The historic Riverside Hotel is a landmark on Las Olas Boulevard, not only because it’s the only hotel on the fashionable street, but also because of its gustatory delights inside an elegant, yet cozy setting. The Golden Lyon Pub, along with Preston’s Wine and Martini Lounge, are perennial favorites for sipping draught beer, fine wine, and fancy martinis during an evening out on Las Olas. 620 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-467-0671.