South Beach, Miami Beach, Miami -- Just Go! Here are your best places for Dancing, Dining, Hanging Out, & Wining
South Beach - MIAMI, FLORIDA
South Beach is simply a great place. It has a vibe all its own, and I love the energy there. I also love that you can wear, ladies, your skimpy or sexy clothes and still be ‘conservatively’ dressed compared to some of the women you'll see walking the streets there. You can also get really dressed up to go out to the clubs at night, something you can't really do in Boca, Delray, and West Palm Beach. But it's not for everyone. It is crowded, eclectic, pretty wild at night, and a bit hectic on weekends. However, for dining, dancing, drinking, and people watching --- my favorite activities --- you can't beat South Beach and Miami Beach.
Hotels abound so there is every type of place to stay. I will recommend a couple of reasonably priced hotels that I've stayed at: the Comfort Inn and the San Carlos (cool courtyard and cozy bar and a "Welcome Wine" - yay!), The Chelsea, The Chesterfield, as well as the Clay Hotel which is lowest priced (hostel). I don't need frills or luxury rooms when in SoBe cause I spend no time in the hotel - I'm out and about exploring the food, flavors, fashions and fun that is uniquely South Beach!
I love "The Hotel" - with its rooftop pool and bar, and fab restaurant "Wish". Located at 8th St and Collins, this simple chic hotel is my favorite spot to just chill in SoBe -- up on the roof with the pool, the drinks, the view, and Julio the bartender taking care of you. Mention that Priscilla sent you - he's my pal. On the other side of the rooftop is a very cool, chill bar overlooking the city. It opens around 9 pm.
If you want a luxurious, beautiful, stunning place to stay – the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Brickell Key is exceptional, and you will love the view of the bay. But remember, we’re talking $250 a night and up. Save it for a real treat or special occasion.
When I go to South Beach, there are a few places that are a must do. I always, always stop in to the News Café on the beach road, Collins Ave., for a bite to eat and a glass of wine --- usually the bruschetta. I always hit the Clevelander (also on Collins) around happy hour time, and then from there I had to Mango’s. Mango’s on Collins has the Latin flair including the mostly Cuban menu and Latin staff, and the dancers (guys and girls) who get up on the bar and shake their stuff. Always a lively, fun place. Touristy and slightly cheesy – but I embrace it. It’s South Beach!
Upscale dining and drinks
Even though Nikki Beach allows for bathing suits and flip flops, you’ll see designer cover-ups and $100 jeweled flip flops so I’m putting it in the upscale category. To lie in their raised beds in view of the waves, or on their lounge chairs and sofas out on the sand, and have them deliver an ice cold mojito or rumrunner, is just divine. This is a must if you are spending a day in SoBe. Wear your swimsuit so you can lounge and have a drink, take a dip in the Atlantic, then go back to the bar for drink #2.
Cute name for a steakhouse, eh? This place is busy, lively, trendy. Great food overall, and excellent steaks that come with a high price tag, too. The empanadas are delicious. The place is “sexy” and cool, and worth a pitstop even if just for a wine (huge selection) and an appetizer. It's a 'poser' place, quite "Miami".
915 Lincoln Rd Miami Beach, FL 305-532-0088
Emeril's Miami Beach
Ok, so – yes it is noisy, usually crowded, and food is good but not outstanding. I think we ‘overexpect’ because it is Emeril’s. But it is worth a visit. Neat place, wonderful menu. And you get to say you were at an Emeril’s restaurant. You can always just do dessert, dessert drinks, coffee here. Tables are a bit too close so not the place for an intimate dinner. Go with friends.
1601 Collins Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139 (305) 695-4550
Steak, seafood, heaven. Upscale, posh, sophisticated - this is where you go when you have money to splurge on a night out. Or to celebrate something special. 112 Ocean Drive, south end of SoBe. Their website lists their amazing menu. 305 532 8112
Casual dining and drinks
Miami’s first bar (1912) and the first bar I ever went to in Miami. Loved it immediately. A big old rambling somewhat rundown house, not in the best part of town – my kinda place. Feels old and like it’s seen a lot of color, a lot of history. The place has character, and I like that. Outdoor deck bar, indoor bar on first floor and another upstairs. Such a great place to go day or eve and get a cold beer or cocktail. And great music! For bar food, you can’t do much better.
626 S. Miami Ave Miami FL 305 374 1198
Maybe I’m just a sucker for a tiki hut, but it seems that a lot of my favorite bars and casual eateries have thatched tiki roofs involved… Monty’s is kinda odd-cool – a tiki bar beside a pool in the middle of condos and development – a hint at the Keys in an otherwise non-tropical spot. They pour a good drink and offer conch chowder, conch fritters, even She Crab Soup and yes, good stone crabs all year long. Worth a pitstop as you head to or from SoBe.
300 Alton Road Miami Beach, FL 33139 305-672-1148
Van Dyke Cafe
Lincoln Road in Miami Beach is dotted with cool (albeit mostly pricey) shops and great cafes. Van Dyke comes highly recommended by my friend Theresa so I'm including it here. She says go upstairs at night for great live music. Yummy affordable appetizers like prosciutto and melon, grilled portabello, brushetta.
846 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139Phone: (305) 534-3600
MAYA TAPAS & GRILLWhat a little gem I discovered on the south end of South Beach facing the ocean. Delicious Latin food, friendly staff, tables and sofas to sit at and this is the cool thing -- on Fri. and Sat. evening they make a huge batch of Paella (mussels, sausage, shrimp, vegetables, yellow rice, calamari) out on their open dining area and you can take your time enjoying it. Live duo singing Latin music was really nice and felt very 'Miami' - I can't wait to go back. Hidden away in the back is the friendly fedora bartender and he is happy to see you back there! 530 Ocean Drive and also on Lincoln Rd. 305.532.4747
NEWS CAFELove this place! Affordable food and friendly staff, great people-watching, nothing fancy but just great. Again I like being hidden away at the bar while you still watch the passersby but they can't see you. Nice wines, lovely brushetta and good food all around. Open 24 hours so breakfast, too! 800 Ocean Drive, South Beach. 305.538.6397
Casual – and waterfront! Visit Scotty’s Landing
I was curious so I went here on a friend’s suggestion. Waterside places do it for me. Good bar food. Calamari to raw oysters, chef salad to mozzarella sticks, it’s bar fare with a Miami flair. Go by boat. Live music on the weekends. A real “kick back” kinda place.
3381 Pan American Drive Coconut Grove, Fl 33133 305-854-2626
PQ: Coconut Grove is a neat area and has its own neat feel to it. Several good restaurants there and Jaguar’s ceviche sampler is awesome! Good shopping – good strolling – if you want to spend a night in the Grove, use my Concierge service to plan it for you. BTW a great way to do it is 2 days, 2 nights. The Grove one day and night, SoBe the next day and night. Damn! That's good stuff~!!
Tobacco Road, listed above, is sure to please if you want live music. Some nights they have two acts, one upstairs, one down. Check them out and enjoy the vibe.
This is probably my favorite, or in the top 3, places in SoBe. Little, nondescript, nothing fancy – just a great music club. Odd little “disco” lounge upstairs with a pool table, and downstairs a small bar, small room, big bands. I’m talking 4 or 5 or 6 person bands and always excellent. Jazz, fusion, funk, reggae, soul – I’ve been there many times and never been disappointed. No food, just drinks – good martinis of all flavors! Cover charge of course, but worth it. Live music 7 nights a week!! Jazz is of course the mainstay.
1342 Washington Avenue Miami Beach 305.673.9372
Popular, big modern nightclub that has DJs much of the time but does do rock concerts. So check them out if headed to SoBe to see if they have a rock band coming. Good place to see a band and get into it. Also a good dance spot.
1445 Washington Avenue, 305-532-2667
Dancing (remember, some clubs here are open past 2 AM)
Salsa Mia! Upstairs at Yuca
An all night salsa dance party every Weds, Fri., and Sunday starting at 8:30 PM. Sizzling, sensational. Love the energy! Something different for us gringos. Yuca is for ‘Young Urban Cuban Americans’ and serves up sexy drinks and very good latin food.
501 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139 · Phone (305) 532.9822
Nightclub, nightclub, nightclub. Lots of hip hop. But you can dance your butt off. If you’re over 40 you will feel old. It didn’t stop me from going. They get kick-butt DJ’s. Wait in line to get in if it’s after 11 PM.
235 WASHINGTON AVENUE - MIAMI BEACH, FL 305.695.8411
Miami’s longest operating gay-friendly nightclub. But you will find everybody mixed into this party scene – men, women, homosexual, heterosexual – unpretentious and just in a party mood. Dancing is great here and mostly a techno, high energy beat. On 11th St. and Washington Ave.
Miami Beach twistsobe.com is the website – the video will give you a good feel.
You can go here any Thurs, Fri, Sat. night after midnight and experience a great DJ and great dancing. But nothing beats The Breakfast Club – Sunday mornings on the rooftop. Oh – My – God! I love that energy! Get there between 8 and 10 PM and party with the people who’ve been up all night. It is too fun. Wear anything, from the bummiest ripped jeans to the hottest dress or cocktail wear. Anything goes on Sundays! I think I danced 19 songs in a row last time I was there…
34 Northeast 11th Street Miami, FL 33132 (305) 372-9378
Spending the Night? Lucky you.
I mentioned a few hotels above in the intro but I have to put in a plug for a place I stayed recently that I thought was the bomb. The Hotel. Hip, suave, sort of feng shui and minimalistic, with the BEST rooftop pool and cabanas! I wanted to stay up there and skip the club hopping. The cute little bar on the roof on one side by the pool is great by day, then at dusk go across the roof to the city-view bar with comfy sofas and the best vibe - I can't imagine NOT liking this place. Rooms are $105 to $160 depending on what month it is.
The restaurant in the garden at The Hotel was also the coolest. Pricey but everything is in SoBe. Outstanding food and just an all around neat place - I felt so "Miami" sitting there eating my salad and sipping my Sauvignon Blanc. This hotel and restaurant (which is called Wish) are both a good call.
801 Collins Ave. Miami Beach, FL 33139
Downtown Miami - an amazing, gorgeous hotels with balcony seating overlooking the Bay for dinner or drinks, an incredible wine room, I can't say enough! Just go!The Conrad Hotel Miami
1395 Brickell Avenue , Miami, FL 33131, USA
Set in the landmark Espirito Santo Building, the 36-story
luxury Miami hotel is a contemporary tower of concave glass and steel in
the heart of Miami's Financial District and the Brickell – Miami
Downtown Area, close to South Beach and the Port of Miami Cruise
A few other great Miami stops:
Vizcaya (tour it to see amazing, beautiful, crazy-high-priced furnishings and decor in this historic mansion on the waterfront) Google it and their site has pictures. Stunning!
Key Biscayne - at the tip is a gorgeous beach - with a little cafe that has Cuban Coffee and Cracked Conch salad. :-p
Virginia Key off of Key Biscayne is a fabulous public beach. Further back the road is Jimbos - cold beer, bring your own grub - wear and do anything there - but go soon, it won't be around much longer. :( Money-grubbers want to develop the land.
The Forge Restaurant
An old blacksmith shop turned upscale restaurant with an amazing Wall of Wine, delicious food, and a lovely room for parties, along with a cozy open air courtyard. Been wanting someone to do a small wedding or rehearsal dinner here...anybody game?