For outsiders, Miami’s reputation is likely more for its parties than for its cocktails—drinks are more of a lubricant for a night out than something to be savored in their own right. But anyone who thinks that clearly doesn’t the city. While bars like the Deuce have held down the scene for decades without fanfare, recent years in Miami have seen a craft cocktail boom, supplying locals with a plethora of watering holes worth bragging about. Whether you prefer the hipster vibes of Wynwood, the dance floors of Calle Ocho or the buzz of South Beach, you can expect a spectacular mixed drink when you get there, as long as you hit up one of our favorite spots.
Sure, there are Broken Shaker locations in major cities across the U.S. at this point, but the Freehand Miami is still home to the bar that started it all. Make your way through the hotel lobby to find the lush oasis in the backyard where creative 20-somethings lounge by the pool and bartenders pick through the herb garden for fresh cocktails. The seasonal drink menu changes often, but there are always cheap daily drink and punch specials to start off the evening.
The Regent, located in the Gale South Beach hotel, takes inspiration from the 1940s to give guests a refined, relaxed drinking experience with quality cocktails to match. In the elegant lounge, you can expect to see bartenders wielding dropper bottles and tweezers as they mix perfectly balanced classic drinks. If you want your classy cocktail experience al fresco, head up to the Regent’s rooftop bar for more high-quality drinks with a side of killer views.
Jazz and salsa have been blaring from the historic digs on Calle Ocho for decades, and the club counts Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong among its famed performers. Today there’s no better place to drink a mojito in the city (or the country for that matter) and take in the energetic rhythms of Little Havana (especially from the giant pineapple shaped bandstand in the backyard). After your obligatory mojito, explore the rest of the bar’s cocktail list, especially the Calle Ocho Old Fashioned made with tobacco infused bitters and the Pastelito Daiquiri garnished with an entire guava pastelito.
When you’ve spent one too many afternoons at Broken Shaker, head across Biscayne Bay to another hit venue from the same crew, The Anderson. The bar’s sunny backyard provides similar tiki vibes to Broken Shaker, but the interior bar is a dimly lit homage to neighborhood dives of decades gone by, with zebra carpeting and an old-school jukebox packed with ‘80s hits. The cocktails feature chefy ingredients like lime sprinkles and “anti-waste tepache.” And the food menu offers elevated bar snacks like a Proper Hot Dawg and fried banana split.
A leader in Miami Beach’s craft cocktail scene, Sweet Liberty turns out quality drinks beside serious grub (steak frites, bone marrow) in an industrial space in Collins Park. Sweet Liberty is good for many occasions at many times of day, but for the best experience show up during happy hour, when cocktails go for $5 and oysters can be had for just 95 cents. Or come late at night to experience the glory of a full kitchen open until 4 a.m.
With its industrial exterior, mismatched furniture, video games, tiki-fied backyard and dive bar aesthetic, this Wynwood staple has a decidedly un-cocktail bar vibe. But don’t let Gramps fool you. The bartenders make serious mixed drinks, including 19th century classics and modern favorites. A packed calendar of events—record sales, holiday pop-ups, the notorious drag queen bingo—make Gramps one of the most entertaining places to sip a cocktail.