There are countless bars and lounges in and around Miami (most require proof that you are 21 or older to enter), with the highest concentration on trendy South Beach. The selection here is a mere sample. Keep in mind that many of the popular bars -- and the easiest to get into -- are in hotels (with a few notable exceptions). For a clubbier scene, if you don't mind making your way through hordes of inebriated club kids, a stroll on Washington Avenue will provide you with ample insight into what's hot and what's not. Just hold on to your bags. It's not dangerous, but, occasionally, a few shady types manage to slip into the crowd. Another very important tip when in a club: Never put your drink down out of your sight -- there have been unfortunate incidents in which drinks have been spiked with illegal chemical substances. For a less hard-core, more collegiate nightlife, head to Coconut Grove. Oh, yes, and when going out in South Beach, make sure to take a so-called disco nap, as things don't get going until at least 11pm. If you go earlier, be prepared to face an empty bar or club. Off of South Beach and in hotel bars in general, the hours are fashionably earlier, with the action starting as early as, say, 7pm.
Stargazing -- The most popular places for celebrity sightings include Louis, Mansion, LIV, WALL, Mondrian, The Florida Room, Skybar, The Rose Bar at Delano, and, when it comes to stars gazing at other stars, Miami Heat basketball games. That, or when it comes to the edgier, under-the-radar celebs, Mac's Club Deuce around 5 in the morning.
Swank Hotel Bars
Long gone are the days of the old-school Holiday Inn lounges. In fact, some hotels seem to spend more money on their bars than they do on their bedding. That aside, hotel bar-hopping is very popular in Miami. The newest hotel in town, the fabulous W South Beach, has several watering holes, from the Living Room lobby bar and poolside Wet Bar to the bars in their star studded Mr Chow and Soleà restaurants. Here's my list of the rest of the best:
Rose Bar at the Delano: For seeing and being seen.
Skybar at The Shore Club: Also for seeing and being seen.
Sunset Lounge at Mondrian: Picture Alice in Wonderland going through the wrong mouse hole and ending up in South Beach. Trippy.
Bond St. Lounge at the Townhouse Hotel: A tiny bar/lounge that also serves food. A New York import, it's known for excellent sushi and a hip, chic, jet-set crowd.
Martini Bar at the Raleigh Hotel: A true throwback to the days of deco set to the tunes of Edith Piaf, Tony Bennett, Sinatra, and more.
Club 50 at The Viceroy: There are lofty spots in Miami and then there's this, located high above the city on the 50th floor with some of the best views -- and people watching -- in Miami.
The Setai: The Champagne and Crustacean Bar may be a thing of more liquid economic times, but the bars at The Setai still offer pricey drinks in stunning settings. This time, however, cocktails look like drinks but eat like meals. Huh? Try the one with the bacon-infused bourbon and see what we mean.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.