It’s not exactly hard to find a good bar in the Magic City. We have plenty of dives and high-end cocktail bars on South Beach. You can always find a sports bar in the suburbs. The Grove has endless restaurants, all with full-bars ready and waiting for you. And then there’s downtown, which has gone from a neighborhood that would go quiet after 6 p.m. to a place filled with nightclubs, restaurants, and of course, bars aplenty. Here, we’ve got the list of all the top spots to quench your thirst and then some.
The Corner is a refuge from some of the surrounding excitement in this northwestern area of Downtown now being referred to as Park West. Cozy and dim, it’s the type of place where one can enjoy a well-poured cocktail, a game of checkers and the sound of live jazz (well, on some nights). If you show up on the weekend, assume that you’ll probably have to spend some time standing up, but don’t let that deter you. A Saturday night at the Corner is bound to make for a good story later.
Bar at 1306
Those who still miss the feel-good nights of the now-defunct Grand Central should be pleased to know its owners opened a bar last year that’s worth all the hype. Certainly a more refined space, the Bar at 1306 is the perfect hideaway for classy dates or nights when you need something, well, a little different. Mostly, it’s a cocktail-lovers dream with a drink menu that’s been expertly crafted by none other than C. Virginia King (the former Broken Shaker bartender who once earned the title Master of the Manhattan).
Black Market Miami
Sports bars need three things to be successful: wings, beer and screens. The upscale Black Market has all three, but give it a major upgrade. This atypical sports bar in the heart of downtown features over 30 4k screens streaming every sporting event you can think of, plus pool tables, arcade games, unbeatable pulled pork sliders and a chill but winning vibe they claim they snagged right out of the eighties.
168 SE 2st St., Miami; 305-400-8023 or https://blackmarketmia.com/
OK, so Lilt is technically more lounge than bar, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a place worth dropping into for a drink or three. This posh hot spot inside the EPIC Hotel mixes sophisticated cocktails with a steady stream of sexy beats. Old school hip-hop blends well with a Bee Sting (Tanqueray, Cocchi Rosa, yuzu, honey, and lemon) or a glass of Remy Martin. Grab a champagne cocktail (like that Peaceful Easy Feeling) while deep house takes you to another level. Either way, it’s all good, and served on ice.
270 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-351-7403 or http://www.liltlounge.com/
Formerly known as the Libertine, Floyd is a relatively new contender on the downtown bar scene—and quite frankly, they’re kicking ass. Think upscale with a bohemian touch, Floyd is a congregation space for fashion-forward poets and other free souls who appreciate cocktails and the glow of chandeliers. DJs frequent the spot on some nights, while live bands and spoken word artists share the snug stage located inside. Get there early if all you’re looking to do is drink, or stop in later for a bit of entertainment with your booze (though a modest cover may be required).
180 Degrees at The DRB
Those who have been Miami barflies for a while might remember the original DRB that was located just down the street from the long-defunct I/O Lounge (turned Vagabond, etc.) After a while, they moved closer to the heart of downtown. Eventually, the beer-centric bar was taken over by Chef Ryan Martin and these days the gastropub is a successful culinary venture where you can order any of 150 different beers. It’s a great option for anyone looking for a good brew with a side of quality grub.
Situated right beside the historic Olympia Theater within the Langford Hotel, this upscale cocktail bar is excellent for post-work happy hour or kicking off your weekend right. Show up early to savor some of the goodies chefs Jose Mendin and Guillermo Concha have conjured up, including a crispy short rib mac n cheese and wild mushroom quesadillas. Then opt for a cleverly named beverage, like the George A. Romero (poured straight into a pineapple) or the Giggle Water (a gin and tonic drink served inside a miniature bathtub as a nod to the prohibition days).
If you’re a local, odds are you’ve heard of CVI.CHE 105—one of Miami’s hottest and longest-running ceviche spots. But there’s a chance you might have missed out on their side venture, the adjacent Wasska Lounge. Known for its Peruvian beers and top-notch mojitos, downtowners love dropping in straight after work, especially since happy hour means drinks are half off. But there’s reason to come on the weekends, too, thanks to a bevy of quality, live entertainment.
111 NE 3rd Ave., Miami; 305-577-3454 or http://wasskalounge.com/
Le Chat Noir
True jazz lovers know all about this underground gem, but in case you’ve been missing out, here’s what you need to know about Le Chat Noir. When you enter, you’ll find just one section of this snazzy spot. But while you might be tempted to just order a cheese plate and some wine upstairs, the real action happens in the basement bar. Order some vino, beer, or even coffee, plus a panini (because they’re great and you’ll want to stay a while). Oh, and there may be a cover involved since the phenomenal jazz talent need a little something, too — so ask before venturing underground.
The Bar inside Toro Toro
Though known mostly as a gourmet chop house, Toro Toro also houses one of the best bars in downtown. Located inside the lobby of the InterContinental Hotel, the bar at Toro Toro’s ambiance is full of energy as locals and traveling business folks stream in and out all day long. Toro Toro rewards residents of the 305 and 954, though, by extending their happy hour from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. This includes specials on beer, wine, and cocktails, plus delicious small plates discounted until 7 p.m. Toro Toro’s also got other great specials throughout the week, like Unlimited Taco Bar Saturdays (just $25, but add an extra $5 and get unlimited beer, too) and Bottomless Sunday Brunches (for those who enjoy a few morning mimosas).