Miami’s splashy club scene may reign supreme east of Las Vegas, but as of 2017, Miami Beach has a new reputation as one of the best destinations for art, design, food, and fashion in the world. Art Basel has ushered in a new type of visitor, paving the way for industry vets to open up unforgettable restaurants and bars like rapid-fire.
With so many options to choose from, it feels nearly impossible to narrow down where to dine or drink on any given night. Once again, we enlisted The Mediocre Chef, who already covered our food agenda, to compile a list of bars to enjoy from happy hour to a nightcap. Here’s to drinking like an insider at Miami Art Basel.
Juvia, Miami Beach
Photo ℅ @juviamiami
The Crowd: Juvia has been a favorite among the in-crowd since its opening in 2012. It’s won numerous design and food awards and broke ground for being the hot-spot on the roof of the ultra-luxe, ultra-modern parking structure known as 111 Lincoln Road. To this day, the views are unbeatable, the atmosphere buzzing, and the cocktails are seasoned and creative. Plus we love their vertical garden!
Address: 1111 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Watr At The 1 Rooftop, Miami Beach
Photo ℅ @the1rooftop
The Crowd: If you’re looking for a hotel bar with the “cool” factor, Watr is the place for you.
The restaurant and bar sit poolside at the 1 Hotel South Beach, 18-stories above the ground, with 360-degree views of the Atlantic and Miami skyline. If the white cabanas and towering palm trees don’t satisfy your beach fantasy, the panoramic sunsets will. Expect a trendy crowd, acrylic cups, expensive cocktails, and a priceless atmosphere.
Address: 2341 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
Sugar at East, Brickell
Photo ℅ @eastmia
The Crowd: Sugar at East Hotel is a garden oasis 40-stories above Brickell and Downtown Miami. It was named one of Condé Nast Traveler’s “10 Best Rooftop Bars in the U.S.” for 2017 and has earned its reputation by serving exotic craft cocktails, in a lush tropical setting, with unbeatable views and a sexy crowd. We highly recommend making a reservation in advance; this place is hot-off-the-press.
Address:788 Brickell Plaza, Miami, FL 33131
Photo ℅ @grampswynwood
The Crowd: Gramps is the eclectic, laidback, hangout you’d expect from the ultra-cool Wynwood design district. Miami’s trendsetters count themselves the bar’s biggest patrons enjoying weekly bingo nights, karaoke, and on-point DJs. The bar is complete with an outdoor patio, live music, and onsite pizza shack — named Pizza Tropical no less.
Address: 176 NW 24th St, Miami, FL 33127
Beaker & Grey, Wynwood
Photo ℅ @beakerandgrey
The Crowd: Equal parts dinner to drinks – that was the objective when chef Brian Nasajon and mixologist Ben Potts joined forces to open watering hole, restaurant, and hotspot, Beaker & Grey. We love this place for its perfected house cocktail menu and new-world cuisine, but more than that, for the killer atmosphere, sophisticated crowd, and warehouse aesthetic (the restaurant is housed in a former ice factory!). Plus, they have an entire menu dedicated to happy hour – $7 cocktails for all!
Address: 2637 N Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33127
Bar Alter, Wynwood
Photo ℅ @baralter
The Crowd: For those of you who can’t snag a reservation at Wynwood’s hottest restaurant or are looking for a more casual, spirit-focused experience, Bar Alter is the place for you. Located on the outdoor patio of its namesake restaurant, you’ll enjoy innovative cocktails made with unusual ingredients such as fennel foam and dandelion bitters. You’ll also have the option to dine on delicious light bites such as umami balls or a grilled pork belly BLT, and if you’re early, take advantage of their impressive happy hour with cocktails starting at $9. We love this place for it’s lush, palm tree-lined patio, contrasting industrial space, and vibrant young crowd.
Address: 223 NW 23rd St, Miami, FL 33127
South Pointe Tavern, South Beach
Photo ℅ @southpointetavern
The Crowd: Miami’s SoFi neighborhood is seeing a food and drink renaissance thanks to the opening of restaurants like Upland and Forte dei Marmi. South Pointe Tavern is a welcomed addition to the neighborhood, offering cozy, laid-back vibes, with a sophisticated selection of whiskey and tequila that you’d expect from a craft cocktail bar. If your looking to escape the Basel crowd and mix with locals, this spot is the place for you. Make sure to try their Tavern Old Fashion mixed with Jim Beam and Left Hand coffee reduction.
Address: 40 South Pointe Drive, 109, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Employees Only Miami, South Beach
Photo ℅ @employeesonlymiami
The Crowd: Employees Only has been one of the most popular cocktail bars in New York since the early 2000’s and made its debut in Miami in 2016. The prohibition style bar sits in the Washington Park Hotel surrounded by five Art Deco buildings and is signaled by its signature pink neon that reads, “psychic.” The speakeasy has become cult-famous for its expertly mixed, award-winning drinks and undeniable sex appeal. The Miami location continues to draw a stylish crowd of cocktail enthusiasts and offers a buzzing atmosphere similar to its West Village flagship.
Address: 1030 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company, South Beach
Photo c/o @sweetlibertymia
The Crowd: It’s fair to say that Sweet Liberty & Supply Company has struck magic on Miami Beach. The bar has established itself as the anti-SoBe with its old-school tunes, spacious dance floor, vintage vibes, and – wait for it – killer cocktails. That’s right, this place is the brainchild of award-winning mixologist John Lermayer, and the winner of Tale’s of the Cocktail Spirit Award 2016 and 2017 for “Best American Cocktail Bar.” This bar is a breath of fresh air from the Basel circuit but still packed with the industry lot, and is a must for those looking to break it down on the dance floor late night.
Broken Shaker, Miami Beach
Photo ℅ @brokenshaker
The Crowd: We cannot say enough good things about the Broken Shaker Bar at Freehand Miami. The off-duty cool kids call it their “locals” bar, while visitors recommend it as their favorite bar in Miami. Why? The drinks and atmosphere are equal parts and overwhelmingly unforgettable. This place brings craft cocktails to a whole new level that can be enjoyed poolside, under fairy lights, next you future new best friend.
Address: 2727 Indian Creek Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33140
Nautilus Hotel Lobby, Miami Beach
The Crowd: The Nautilus is one the many hotels that brings out all the stops for Art Basel. Insiders know it’s the spot where your favorite editors and curators stay. Their mid-century lobby bar is a destination to see and be seen on Collins Ave. Bonus, Art Zealous is curating an massive neon art installation by artist Suzy Kellems Dominik. Swing by and have a signature cocktail that was crafted in honor of the artwork, appropriately named, “The Big O.”
Address: 1825 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Gin + Collins: 2912 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140
Blackbird Ordinary: 729 SW 1st Ave, Miami, FL 33130
About The Mediocre Chef: With over five years in the food & lifestyle industry, and a lifelong obsession with finding the next best meal, Founder of The Mediocre Chef, Sophia Schneider, is an avid eater, traveler, and reporter. She created The Mediocre Chef in 2015 as an editorial site for the food-centric urbanite, and combines her lust for food & travel and love of writing & photography to pay homage to the worlds best restaurants, food markets, and food fairs.
top image // courtesy of Bar Alter