By: Kara Franker
Where to go out on South Beach.
South Beach is a nightlife haven for the party crowd. From top dance clubs, to cocktail lounges and dive bars, SoBe’s diverse nightlife scene promises something for everyone in the 21 and over crowd.
On South Beach, there’s no dance club more popular that LIV, at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. A popular hangout for world-renowned DJs and every A-list celebrity under the sun, this multi-level, 18,000 square-foot spot is where the likes of Paris Hilton, Jonathan Cheban, the Kardashians, Calvin Harris and more can be seen dancing the night away. Farther south, the French-Mediterranean restaurant and lounge Bâoli has chic, indoor-outdoor tables on one side, a raised DJ booth and dance area on the other, and plenty of beautiful people watching in between.
Attracting Miami’s most fabulous partygoers (even on weeknights), its vanishing glass wall, grand crystal chandeliers, plush banquet tables, strung lights, and hot dancers with sparkler-lit champagne bottles up on the bar set the stage for a fabulous night on South Beach. Looking for something a little different from your everyday nightclub? BASEMENT at the EDITION is a disco in disguise. This hotspot is a modern-day Studio 54, complete with a glowing bar, bowling alley, ice skating rink, and of course, dancing.
Nightlife is supposed to be, well, at night, but at Mango’s Tropical Café you can start with breakfast and party through lunch, dinner and stay all night. At this colorful bar, restaurant and venue, you can order up a typical Latin American dish and have a side of Reggae music and Latin dance. Mango’s is an over-the-top version of the 1920’s Tropicana Club in Havana. It’s perfect for someone looking to have a great time with a mojito in hand. Patrons can watch a lively show at all hours of the day and night.
With so many elite hotels taking over the South Beach skyline, you better believe that most of them double as a haute weekend hangout. Also inside the Fontainebleau Miami Beach is the lobby-bound Bleau Bar, which was a popular place for celebrities like Frank Sinatra, The Rat Pack and even the one-and-only Elvis Presley to see-and-be-seen in the 1950’s and 60’s. Today, this vibrant bar is still just as star-studded, and you can often see P. Diddy, Kim Kardashian, Adam Sandler, and at one point, even President Barack Obama getting a premium cocktail there.
Try the relaxing Lapidus Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton South Beach a chic but comfortable environment on the resort’s upper lobby promenade. The ultra chic SLS South Beach is a boutique luxury hotel where you can indulge in specialty cocktails at The Bazaar by José Andrés or at Katsuya. Cocktails here go the distance to be unique, including its caipirinhas with sugar frozen by liquid nitrogen and margaritas with not salt but a “salt air” infusion. Venture over to Hyde Beach, a seamless indoor/outdoor nightlife experience that extends right onto the sand and provides unparalleled amenities and vibrancy.
Another great nightlife hot spot is The Mondrian’s Sunset Lounge. It’s an indoor/outdoor lounge perfect for taking in the sunset, ordering up a handcrafted cocktail and perhaps popping into the garden’s “kissing corners.” There’s usually live-music like Spanish guitar players and there’s always great people watching and the stunning Miami skyline to take in.
For something more demure, the Rose Bar at the Delano South Beach was made for cocktail lovers and luxury enthusiasts alike. A niche spot off to the side of the Delano’s otherwise extravagant lobby, this glamorous and sophisticated spot serves up Royal Blush champagne cocktails – a mix of Brugal Rum, Raspberries, Lemon and Chandon Brut – all day long. Finally, the more casual Rum Line, a breezy and intimate outdoor bar at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, invites Miami’s rum lovers to come grab a tasty drink in a fun, possibly Zombie-shaped glass.
At Lincoln Road’s Haven Kitchen & Lounge, cocktail fans can scurry up to the white-onyx bar and order something crazy, like a smoking nitrogen-infused drink. Open until the early hours of the morning, this psychedelic spot has an impressive cocktail list of libations like GiVen: a mix of gin, lemongrass, hibiscus and seltzer. In the South of Fifth neighborhood, Radio Bar is a throwback to an eclectic past. Enter through the back door wearing whatever you wish and order an Earth, Wind and Fire; it’s an earthy combination of Del Maguey Vida mescal, cucumber, fennel, citrus, sage reduction and orange bitters. The Regent Cocktail Club, one of the South Beach’s most popular cocktail bars, doubles as a hotel bar. Located in the Gale South Beach, it has a Havana nights-inspired menu of lesser-known rums, craft classics and a daily-changing cocktail menu.
Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a good dive bar – and South Beach has a few iconic ones to choose from. Lost Weekend, on Española Way, pays homage to John Lennon’s “Lost Weekend” period in the 1970s, and keeps regulars coming with its 1980’s video games and happy hour well drinks for just $3.50. Ted’s Hideaway, the area’s most popular dive bar, is an Old English-style spot with two daily happy hours, zero pretention and no-fuss vibes. Around since 1926, Mac’s Club Deuce has an 11-hour happy hour and constant regulars. Known for its 1980’s cameo in Miami Vice, it actually has a surprising handful of A-list fans, like Cameron Diaz and Matt Dillon, to name a couple.
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