The Hedonist's Guide to Miami

Places to Party
By Lesley Abravanel
Page 5 of 5   |  
CALL IT A NIGHT: Miami's nightlife goes from dusk to dawn... and beyond (Brand X Pictures)

Get Your Party On:
Hotel bars are the new clubs in Miami, and with good reason: there are more haute hotel watering holes than there are clubs. Take Skybar, the hyper-fabulous sprawling nocturnal oasis that slinks through the lush backyard of the Shore Club Hotel, the home away from home for such bold facers as Mariah Carey, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jay Z, Beyonce, and Britney, among others. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, Skybar is at its loftiest, as hipsters straight off the pages of Vogue shake and stir to a soundtrack of gossip, clinking ice cubes, and 50 Cent. The Rose Bar at the Delano is another A-list spot, as is the Lapidus Lounge at the Ritz Carlton South Beach (786-276-4001,

Across town at the habit-forming dance-club-slash-lounge-slash-sushi-restaurant Opium Garden (136 Collins Avenue, 305-531-5535), the Magic City's well- heeled, scantily clad types slink through this sexy Hawaii-meets-Ibiza nocturnal playground, exploring all its hidden nooks and crannies before settling in upstairs at its exclusive VIP room Prive. For a dramatic departure from the norm, head over the causeway to the Pawn Shop Lounge (1222 NE 2nd Avenue, 305-373-3500), a massive warehouse and former pawnshop complete with a full-sized school bus and an Airstream Trailer that serve as VIP lounges.

A note on dress code and velvet-rope breaching: If you're not an A-list celeb, be bold and brave enough to breach the velvet ropes. Unlike the old South Beach, the new one is much more lenient when it comes to dress codes: a tux or gown is not necessary unless you're coming from a black-tie affair. Safest bet for both women and men: Jeans and a T-shirt or a cool tank top (for women, not men). Do not wear wife beaters unless you're Kevin Federline. Black pants and a button down for men always work, too. Don't overdo it—this is Miami after all. As for bouncer etiquette, have patience, although don't be taken advantage of and wait for an hour as seas of people pass through the ropes before you do. Give it ten to 15 minutes or, better still, have your hotel concierge get your name on the guest list. While a guest list doesn't guarantee free admittance, it at least guarantees admittance. And whatever you do, DO NOT TIP THE BOUNCER. If they take the bait, you're likely to be let into a club that's begging for people; if they don't take the bait, they're too proud, arrogant, and will make sure you don't get in anyway. If you don't want to deal with any of the above, stick to the hotel bars, restaurants, and dive bars.

Hipsters with two left feet may prefer to bask at places like Metro Kitchen+Bar (956 Washington Avenue, 305-531-4056), the stylish Hotel Astor eatery and watering hole; Casa Tua (1700 James Avenue, 305-673-1010), the stunningly chic Italian restaurant housed in a Tuscan-style villa whose upstairs bar and lounge is reminiscent of a cozy living room in someone's posh home; the Forge (432 41st Street, 305-538-8533), an opulent bastion of decadence, celebs, moguls, and meat; Cafeteria (546 Lincoln Road, 305-672-3448), the minmalistic 24/7 New York City import that has the power to make even models mack out on mac and cheese; the Room (100 Collins Avenue, 305-531-6061), an intimate, candlelit wine and beer bar with fabulous galvanized steel ceilings; or Automatic Slim's (1216 Washington Avenue, 305-695-0795), the white-trash-chic bar whose motto is, "Where the beautiful people come to get ugly."

On your first day in the city, try to mix and match to concoct a chic Miami cocktail of adventures all your own. Lather up the scene, rinse out at the beach or in a spa, hit the nightlife, then repeat. Just be forewarned: chances are, after lapping up 72 hours of Miami's soul-stirring beat, you'll likely extend your stay until the boss, your credit limit, or your own stamina for eating, dancing, shopping, and swimming calls you home.

Getting Around:
Put simply, public transportation in Miami sucks. As a result, you either need to rent a car or stay close to South Beach, where foot and cab are the most popular means of transportation. If you do plan to stay solely on South Beach, do not rent a car, as parking is a nuisance, not to mention expensive. For those driving to South Beach, consider a number of municipal lots such as the ones on 7th Street between Washington and Collins avenues, and the one right off of Lincoln Road near the Lincoln Theatre.

Published: 5 Apr 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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