By: Kara Franker
Check out these happy hour hot spots, delicious dining locales and nightlife venues in Downtown.
Downtown is the heart of Miami—the center of the Magic City. And with a wealth of options for bar-hopping, dining out and dancing the night away, we’re sure you’ll experience an exciting night out in the big city.
The neighborhood’s metropolitan vibe is palpable and the Downtown skyscrapers stretch stories upon stories into the horizon, providing a scenic backdrop next to Biscayne Bay.
Bars, lounges, clubs and restaurants are a blend of tourists and locals. Many opt to walk from place to place, or hop aboard the free Metromover for a quick loop around Downtown.
Let’s get the night started…
Happy Hour Hotspots
In Miami, many happy hours last from 4 or 5 in the afternoon until 8 p.m., offering a great window of opportunity to score drinks and light bites on the cheap.
Mary Brickell Village tends to be the center of the action because of the large local population that live and work in the neighborhood. Expect half priced drinks during weekly happy hour specials and slashed prices on appetizers.
For more of a laid-back, locals’ hangout, check out Blackbird Ordinary, a tavern famous for both its handcrafted cocktails during happy hour and late-night live music scene.
And Edge Steak & Bar at the Four Seasons has a popular happy hour crowd, offering lip-smacking good food options from celebrity chef Aaron Brooks.
For a happening locals’ scene plus one of the best views in the city, Area 31 at the EPIC Hotel has a rooftop happy hour that’s second to none, especially on Fridays, when a DJ is spinning beats.
The Langford Hotel’s rooftop bar and lounge, Pawn Broker soars above the bustling city and features a vast selection of hand-crafted cocktails, tapa style bites and a truly unrivaled view of the dynamic Downtown Miami skyline. Sip on the classic Pawn Broker cocktail and watch the sun setting.
At the Mandarin Oriental’s M-Bar you can order signature drinks like the Lychee Saketini with a side of dim sum to go with it – all while overlooking the iconic Miami skyline.
You’ll find upscale chain restaurants and bars with killer happy hours like:
Dining Out in Downtown
The opportunities for an unforgettable dining experience in Downtown are endless. It just depends on what kind of food you’re craving.
Downtown Miami has plenty of notable locales just perfect for a haute meal out on the town. db Bistro Moderne, in the JW Marriott Marquis Miami, is famed Chef Daniel Boulud's place for refined French fare in Miami. Go for the charcuterie, the namesake sirloin burger topped with braised short ribs, foie gras and black truffle, or its impressive wine collection, and stay for the ambiance. It’s as trendy as it is delicious.
The popular gastropub, 180 Degrees at the DMB, is the new-and-improved DRB. Let by Chef Ryan Martin, this downtown dive is known for its burgers – like the 50/50 burger with chorizo, prime beef, queso frito, maduros, fried egg and spicy lime aioli – and impressive craft beer selection, as well as tasty shockers like $10 black bean, pulled pork, or fried chicken sliders, and Brussels sprouts with chorizo and frizzled onions.
Set in a traditional train station setting, PB Station places a novel twist on classic small plates of the American inspired menu. Sample local and seasonally sourced produce, seafood and proteins. Stay for drinks and enjoy the rooftop bar and lounge.
Dine with one of the best Downtown views of the water at the Pérez Art Museum Miami’s Verde restaurant. Usually a great lunch spot and the eatery is open for dinner on Thursdays.
NIU Kitchen is a Spanish tapas gem specializing in Catalan cuisine. Helmed by Barcelona’s own Deme Lomas, the frequently-changing menu boasts light, fun favorites like different kinds of tartare, cold tomato soup with mustard ice cream, and pan-seared foie gras with honey bread, apples and raspberries.
For a classic you can’t ignore, you can never go wrong with the famous Zuma Miami, inside EPIC Miami, where Rainer Becker takes a modern approach to Japanese cuisine attracts Miami socialites, jetsetters, celebrities and A-listers alike.
New to the scene is Zest Restaurant & Market, the brainchild of Ortanique’s own Chef Cindy Hutson. Part market-style eatery, part-restaurant, it serves a menu of Hutson’s award-winning “Cuisine of the Sun,” which takes a seasonally-driven culinary approach to global cuisine for dishes like ravioli with oxtail and lobster, cream corn veloute and truffle oxtail jus; curried octopus with golden raisin pilau and east Indian curry sauce; and the “Lobster Rundown” with shredded cassava cake and Scotch bonnet-coconut rundown sauce.
If its BBQ you crave, try none other than Sparky’s Roadside Barbecue. First launched in 2010, it’s known for its legendary brisket sandwich: a freshly grilled bun piled with juicy slices of prime beef, rubbed with more than two-dozen seasoning, infused with a smoky flavor.
Here are a few more options:
- American: American Social, Tuyo, Biscayne Tavern, Area 31, Edge Steak & Bar
- Asian: Zuma, AZUL, Doraku, Sushi Maki
- French: db Bistro Moderne, La Provence
- Italian: Il Gabbiano, Perricone’s Marketplace & Café, Cipriani Downtown Miami, Soya e Pomodoro, La Loggia Restaurant
- Latin: Cantina La Veinte (Mexican), Havana 1957 (Cuban), COYA (Peruvian), PM Buenos Aires Fish & Steakhouse (Argentinean), Toro Toro (Latin American)
Hit Up the Late-Night Scene
Ready to party the night away? Downtown is a great place to listen to live bands and the hottest DJs.
The newest addition to Downtown Miami’s bar scene is Pawn Broker. Created by the famed Pubbelly boys, this spot sits atop The Langford Hotel and offers NYC rooftop vibes, an intimate, but trendy crowd, and haute cocktails like the $40 George Romero: a mix of brandy, rum, pineapple, passion fruit, BBQ syrup and grapefruit bitters.
Rooftop at E11EVEN is an indoor-outdoor restaurant and lounge with plush sofas, fire pit tables, a 16’ x 10’ LED screen, and a bandshell with live music and DJs, all under a state-of-the-art retractable roof.
Mekka Nightclub and Club Space are where the all-night revelers go to dance until the wee hours of the morning. At Heart, the sister club to Space, promises techno beats and top local and international DJs, like Oscar G, Lazaro Casanova, Prok & Fitch and Markus.
Both Blackbird Ordinary and American Social are favorite hotspots among locals, hipsters and anyone looking for craft cocktails and a fun time. Grand Central Miami, is a bi-level warehouse-like space that brings in cult indie bands and local favorites.
Located in the lobby of EPIC, LILT Lounge is a unique after-dark spot with thoughtfully-crafted drinks – like the signature Lilt Cocktail with Uncle Val’s botanical gin, cocchi americano rosa, rose water, banfi “Rosa Regale” brachetto, and a grapefruit peel – as well as delicious food and good music.
The Hangar, on the other hand, is an airport-themed club known for its laid-back crowds and bass-ridden DJs.
For something a little quieter, Libertine is an intimate. after-hours lounge steeped in French elegance. Walk through its candle-lit entrance, under the chandelier, to see its faux fireplace and library, or belly up to the bar for a specialty cocktail; like “The Libertine,” a mix of Bulleit Rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, elderflower liqueur, Cognac, and bitters.
A night out in Downtown Miami is always a good idea. With its powerful high-rises, beautiful views of Biscayne Bay and countless restaurants, bars, lounges, and more, this part of the Magic City promises a little something for every type of traveler.
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