13/10/2020 Read on for a bar crawl that can take you on your next trip to Magic City
The Miami drinking scene is a refreshing fusion of retro style with newfangled twists, much like the Art Deco architecture that defines the Ocean Drive skyline. While it has long been known for its cocktails (like any subtropical destination), the days of frozen drinks with tiny umbrellas are long gone. From the adventurous and the experimental to the perfect Martini, Miami has its cocktail game under control, but still has plenty of room for legendary dives. Meanwhile, the craft beer movement in Wynwood thrives in a way that would make you more likely to associate with the woods of New England than with the tropical beach.
Read on for a bar crawl that can take you on your next trip to Magic City.
A few Miami bars seem to land either on a chrome-and-neon dated look or go too far in the other direction, squeezing up the interior with all sorts of vintage tat without too much thought behind it. Fortunately, Jaguar Sun, a new addition to Downtown's X Miami building, has a very tasteful middle ground. The drinks themselves seem high on paper — think about different types of sherry, rare Mexican rum, falernum, and the like. But experience is completely free from pretension.
Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company
Industrial chic meets the tropical kitsch in this Collins Park bar; just a few steps away from the Bass Museum, but far enough away from the main tourist drag to keep the key down. (Something.) Still, the bar doesn't let all that praise go to its head. Even as more visitors put Sweet Liberty on their To Drink list, the crew is doing everything they can to make the neighborhood bar feel comfortable. It usually opens early and closes late, catering to both early birds and nighthawks. For a drink after work or an intimate tête-à-tête, come for a happy hour, when it's still quiet. If you'd like to sway the sound of an in-house DJ before the sun sets, Sweet Liberty's got your back before 5 a.m.
Miami owes much of its popularity as one of America's finest cocktail cities to Broken Shaker — you'll see for yourself until you try the Old-Fashioned. Classics like that, although they barely scratch the surface of what they're doing here. Come and try one of the custom punch bowls with half a dozen mates (you pick the spirit, the fruit and the botanical, the bartenders do the rest). On a warm night, sitting under the lights of the pub, it's hard not to have a romantic night out. But it's also an ideal place to catch up with friends, particularly since the bar takes reservations for groups of six or more.
Ball and Chain
The first thing you think about Ball & Chain is the green and white awning that's been calling nighthawks to Little Havana for decades. Originally opened in 1935, the historic room has undergone several changes — and owners — over the years, but it still has traces of the past, including the original pine ceiling that Billie Holiday and Count Basie played under. If it's a quiet night, look elsewhere; the two stages of the venue still offer fantastic jazz and spirited salsa. It's a perfect place to meet — and catch up — with a group of friends who are embracing the old-school Miami party vibe.
"Eclectic" is an overused adjective for decoration, but there's really no other word that blends into the studiously jumbled layout of Lost Boy's interior. Random oil paintings, dartboards, skeletons, antique bookcases, and tailor's dummies fill the corners of a cozy, cluttered and well-organized bar. The owners refer to the American Southwest, the drunken sailor bars and the English pubs as their esthetic inspiration and you can see all these elements very clearly here. The cocktail menu runs the risk of a little fun, but nothing here will alienate drinkers who stick to the classics. Gin and tonic, for example, are jazzed with some peppercorn, and pineapple daiquiri comes with roasted pineapple, so it is neither deconstructed nor unrecognizable.
Racket, in Wynwood, has a split personality, separated as it is between its Atrium and Sky Room rooms. The Atrium doffs its cap to something resembling the tiki vibe, with wide windows suitable for long, meaningful eyes. Sky Place, on the other hand, has an industrial swerve; the former gallery space has metal pipes and sleek wood finishes. If you're visiting Wynwood for the first time, this is a pleasant bar to make things feel right. It has innovative interpretations of popular drinks, plus creative and mystical touches.
The only stuff you need to know about Gramps is written on the outside: air conditioning, cold beer, cocktails. This famous Wynwood hangout is a direct reflection of its quaint neighborhood, right down to its unrivalled furniture, a selection of old-school video games, and an outdoor tiki bar that hosts a great lineup of live music. When having some good time with some good friends is your main focus, Gramps doesn't disappoint. Itsalways rocking outdoor tiki bar is the kind of place that defines a subtropical party area. The slice that's covered within the Slice Tropical window doesn't hurt either.