Downtown Music Hound

Mo Bar in Mandarin Oriental
Enjoy incredible waterfront views at the luxurious MO Bar & Lounge in Mandarin Oriental, Miami

By: Gino R. Campodónico

Fans of live music can get their fix at a variety of places, all found in Miami’s booming downtown area.

Mirroring the Magic City’s rich, multicultural community, live music lovers have a myriad of lounges, bars and restaurants to choose from when it comes to enjoying jazz, reggae, Latin, rock and electropop acts as well as a few Grammy Award winners.

Le Chat Noir

The famed Le Chat Noir, located in the epicenter of Downtown Miami, is a relaxed, two-level bohemian lounge with a Parisian twist. The club offers performances six nights a week featuring jazz, poetry and more. Downtown restaurants also keep it lively. Newcomer Zest by Chef Cindy Hutson not only impresses with its cuisine, it also turns things up with live Latin, reggae, Cuban and blues music offered in its bar and outdoor lounge. Local favorites such as the Grammy-nominated Locos Por Juana are known to perform there.

Libertine

Nearby, night owls flock to Libertine, a speakeasy next to the infamous Club Space. The intimate bar keeps things classic with a Prohibition-era cocktail menu, chandeliers, velvet curtain, and a cool baby grand piano-turned DJ booth. Popular local bands such as Blue Jay, Otto Von Schirach and Afrobeta perform live regularly. DJs Lazaro Casanova and Vinicio Rotelli headline the late-night fun starting at 4 a.m. Don’t worry, colada shots are available all night to keep you dancing!

Bardot

North of Downtown Miami is Midtown Miami, a creative hotspot that is home to several well-known restaurants and lounges. Bardot, named after legendary French icon Brigitte Bardot, is a trendy club that has become the go-to venue for up-andcoming artists and bands. The club has a rear parking lot entrance, no visible sign and a “no photos” policy, but once you’re inside you’ll find a chic living room-like setting, complete with pool table and stage. A few blocks down is the Electric Pickle Company, an intimate, indoor and outdoor music venue that locals love. This hip lounge brings together Miami’s creative community nightly for live music and popular DJs.

MO Bar & Lounge

Across the Miami River is Miami’s major financial district, Brickell, with financial complexes, luxury condos and numerous cafes and clubs. On Brickell Key is the luxurious MO Bar + Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami. Incredible waterfront views complement the lively entertainment, including Cuban jazz and Spanish guitar. The lounge recently launched MO Bar Acoustic, a series of intimate, high-profile concerts offered in partnership with Warner Music Latina. Lilt Lounge at the EPIC Hotel offers live jazz nightly, in addition to innovative art installations and classic cocktails served at its horseshoe-shaped bar.

Blackbird Ordinary

Located in between the Miami River and Mary Brickell Village, the ultrapopular Blackbird Ordinary keeps the crowds coming with its signature laidback vibes and never-a-cover concept. Blackbird is open 365 days a year until 5 a.m. and features an array of resident DJs and quality live music covering all musical tastes in its dim-lit bar complete with leather banquettes, pool tables and large outdoor patio.

El Tucán

El Tucán is a modern-day cabaret that brings tropical glitz and glamour to the Brickell scene. The entire experience pays homage to the nightclub settings of the ’40s and ’50s, inviting guests to dress up for a unique night on the town. A night at El Tucán includes a pre-fixe dinner featuring Latin-inspired cuisine. However, the highlight is the musical accompaniment, backed by the club’s resident 11-piece Latin orchestra and helmed by two-time Grammy Award-winning pianist, composer and producer Marlow Rosado. Think salsa, big band, jazz and more – sung by the some of the country’s most talented artists.

Hoy Como Ayer

Little Havana, a lively Cuban neighborhood near Downtown Miami, has emerged as a nightlife haven for locals looking for an authentic experience. Hoy Como Ayer (today like yesterday), is a definite go-to for live music on Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street), Little Havana’s main avenue. The longstanding club presents the best of Cuban and Latin entertainment every Thursday through Saturday with a lineup ranging from resident acts such as Spam Allstars and Los 3 de la Habana, to big names like Albita, Lena and Willy Chirino. A few blocks away is Ball & Chain, housed in a completely restored nightclub that opened in 1935 and played host to performances by legends such as Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. Nowadays, the venue serves up playful cocktails, a solid tapas menu and live music by some of the city’s best musicians. Prepare for a lot of salsa dancing as musicians entertain from the iconic outdoor Pineapple Stage – a must see for any visitor.

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