By Jennifer Agress and Yours Truly
Drinking is a sport here in the Magic City, but only the most in-the-know locals know where to go to do it right at the top bars Miami. For a night out (or even just a happy hour!) that fuses good drinks with surroundings designed to dazzle, sip on something sophisticated at these stylish Miami bars, below. Cheers!
Sugar at EAST, Miami
The twinkling elevator ride up EAST, Miami, to the 40th floor, is reason enough to head to Sugar —but step out of that elevator, and you’ll still be blown away. This Asian garden in the sky has some of the best sunset views in Miami, and (as an added benefit) you don’t even feel like you’re in Miami at all. Best described as an “Asian-inspired jungle,” chic lounges, a DJ booth and intimate tables are hidden between lush plants, Japanese flowers and a wooden Balinese bar, and everything is surrounded by a giant glass wall that lets you lookout onto Brickell Avenue, Downtown Miami and Biscayne Bay. Pro tip: Snag the table in the far right corner around sunset, and Instagram won’t even do your view justice. Sugar is located at 788 Brickell Plaza. Hotel valet and street and garage parking are available.
Hidden in Washington Park Hotel’s historic Coral House, on Miami Beach, this fun and sophisticated bar is where Art Deco meets old-school Manhattan. Dubbed a “speakeasy,” in Miami, this New York transplant has become a bit of an icon. Walk past the seemingly-odd neon “Psychic” sign, open the red velvet curtain and behold: there’s a gorgeous wooden bar that curves around the whole wall, intimate bistro tables that make you feel like you’re dining in Paris, deep red fabrics, art, dim, mystic lighting, and serving the one-of-a-kind cocktails, bartenders dressed in white chef coats. Employees Only is located at 1030 Washington Avenue. Street and garage parking are available.
Dragon Lounge at Katsuya
Go to this SLS South Beach sushi joint for Chef Katsuya Uechi’s namesake rolls (it’s some of the best sushi in Miami), but when you’re done with dinner, belly up to the bar in the upstairs Dragon Lounge. Thanks to its rotating partnerships with Miami artists, this sexy Asian hangout offers a new experience every time you go. Different local artists are given total reign over the wall decor and installations every month, and coupled with the dim lighting, glowing-white digital art displays and Philippe Starck’s expert touch, the whole lounge is a work of—very contemporary—art. Katsuya is located at 1030 Washington Avenue. Hotel valet is available.
The Bar & Courtyard at The Setai, Miami Beach
Few lobby bars make you feel as chic as you do at The Setai, Miami Beach… if you can even call what The Setai has a “lobby bar.” Grab a seat at the actual bar, which is covered in pearl, and admire its dark back wall covered in wooden lattice work, its daily-changing bouquets of deep red roses and stylish glass beverage dispensers with house-infused liquors. Sit there, and you’ll feel like a millionaire. Go outside, around the courtyard’s Zen pond, and you’ll forget you’re in Miami at all. A Buddha statue and dim candlelight give the courtyard a romantic, Asian vibe, while real Florida oranges delicately infused into the hotel’s scent make imbibers feel as relaxed as if they were drinking in a spa somewhere fabulous. The Setai, Miami Beach is located at 2001 Collins Avenue. Hotel valet is available and public parking lots are nearby.
Saxony Bar at Faena Miami Beach
Steeped in golden-age glamour, the intimate Saxony Bar gives weekend night owls a sexy, sophisticated place to sip haute cocktails with Miami’s finest. Open only Thursday through Saturday night, this sexy hangout feels like a hidden gem, but anyone who’s anyone knows about it. Accessible by a spiral staircase, this speakeasy-style hideaway has a distinct Art Deco feel with its red and black stools, black terrazzo surroundings, glowing blue lighting and vibrant, backlit wall art. The people drinking with you make this bar stylish even without its decor. (After all, we did say it’s for Miami’s finest.) Saxony Bar is located at 3201 Collins Avenue. Hotel valet is available.
Le Sirenuse Champagne Bar at The Surf Club
Le Sirenuse Champagne Bar is housed in a 1930s clubhouse, in the same building where the 1900’s most-gabbed-about galas, parties and black-tie affairs once burst at the seams with the world’s hottest jetsetters, celebrities and politicians. With direct views of the Atlantic Ocean, go here to cheers to “la dolce vita” with fine champagnes in handmade Venetian glasses. Much like the cocktail menu, the vibe is “Mediterranean-revival,” with a patio covered in fresh magnolias, green and mahogany decor, and breezy-white elegance, giving guests of Miami’s most exclusive bar a peek into the property’s lavish past. Le Sirenuse Champagne Bar is located at 9101 Collins Avenue. Hotel valet is available.
Walk into this bar and take in the cool glamour that awaits you. At its core, there is an expansive black walnut and stone bar, all surrounded by walnut-paneled walls, floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the Atlantic Ocean, dim lighting and photographs of bullfighting by famed French photographer, Lucien Clergue. A classic cocktail bar with a too-cool-for-school feel, go here any day of the week; but especially during its monthly “Pizza & Pineapple” Thursdays, where guests can pair a specialty, one-time-only pizza (like Kale Pizza topped with Spicy Sausage!) with an Absolut Elyx Pineapple cocktail. They also make a mean Negroni. Ask for the Zorte On! made with Belvedere Vodka, Campari, Pacharan Zoco, Martini Bianco, and Gifforf Pamplemousse. Matador Bar is located at 2901 Collins Avenue. Hotel valet is available.