Miami, Florida is a city which immediately calls to mind an amazing nightlife. Party-goers the world over travel to Miami due to its reputation for having one of the best club scenes on the globe. South Beach is where you will find the majority of the most exclusive nightclubs in the city, but the nightlife in Miami goes far beyond the South Beach clubbing culture. Whatever it is you are seeking from your nightlife experience, you should be able to find it in Miami.
If you are looking to check out some of the hottest clubs in South Beach, be sure to hit up LIV and Arkadia, both conveniently located in the famous Fontainebleau Hotel. These are two of the most buzzed-about nightclubs in Miami Beach, where you are likely to spot major celebrities any night of the week. The Opium Group’s Mansion nightclub is another popular South Beach hotspot, featuring world-class sound and lighting, and music from DJs of the likes of Skrillex, Deadmau5, and John Digweed. SET nightclub (also owned by Opium Group) is another favorite, but be advised, SET is not an easy club to get into, nor are any of the best clubs on South Beach. If you do want to get in, be sure to come with looks, money, luck, or a combination thereof.
For those of us who lack the desire to deal with trendy, expensive, and some-would-say pretentious South Beach, you might want to check out some of the Downtown Miami nightclubs. These clubs tend to be cheaper, easier to get into, and more down-to-earth, but this is not to say they aren’t just as fun. Downtown is where you will find a more locals-oriented crowd, in contrast to the tourist-heavy scene in South Beach. Some of the clubs you might want to check out include Latin-flavored Club 90 Degree, Jersey Shore cast-favorite Club Space on 11th Street, or Nocturnal, featuring three floors of fun topped by a rooftop terrace.
Miami is specifically known as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the country and is a common gay nightlife destination. Much of the LGBT nightlife centers around South Beach, and popular South Beach destinations include Twist, Score, and the Palace Bar and Grill, which is located in proximity of Miami’s famous gay beach near 12th Street. Notable Downtown locations include Johnny’s Miami, Diskotekka, and the Vault Miami. There is also a solid gay scene on the Upper Eastside, featuring more down-to-earth bars like the Jamboree Lounge and vintage piano bar Magnum Lounge, as well as Club Boi/Sandal, which caters to a mainly African-American and Latino clientele.
If you are seeking a more low-key experience before hitting the club, or would prefer to just eschew the club altogether in favor of a more relaxing night out, Miami is home to some very classy upscale lounges. These include Rose Bar at the Delano hotel and Skybar in the Shoreclub hotel, both located in trendy South Beach. Serving specialty aphrodisiac cocktails, Tantra in Miami Beach is a popular Miami lounge destination, and you might also want to check out acclaimed mixologist John Lermayer’s Blackbird Ordinary lounge Downtown.
You might not think dive bar when you think Miami, but as previously stated, Miami has a little bit of something for everyone. Mac’s Club Deuce is the oldest bar in South Beach, a smoky, cash-only dive open from 8 AM to 5 AM daily. Happy’s Stork Lounge doubles as a package store, which alone should tell you something about just how divey it is. You might also want to check out the Calle Ocho section of the Latin-American (mainly Cuban) district Little Havana for an authentic cultural dive bar experience, but unless you are already fluent, you would be well-advised to brush up on your Spanish beforehand!
For live music in Miami, head to the design district and check out Bardot which specializes in new indie music, or visit the Stage and catch an eclectic assortment of bands from indie to funk to soul. Jazz lovers should check out Jazid or the Van-Dyke Cafe in Miami Beach, or visit Miami favorite Churchill’s for their weekly jazz night. For bigger, but not quite stadium-sized shows, check out the Fillmore Miami Beach, or the Adrienne Arsht center, which features not only major contemporary musical artists of various genres, but Broadway musicals, classical performances, operas, and other more highbrow events.
No discussion of Miami would be complete without talking about its strip clubs, as it is known as one of the best cities in the country for adult entertainment. Tootsie’s Cabaret in Miami Gardens is a full nudity/full liquor club featuring a high-end atmosphere with plush VIP rooms (which are not cheap, but are well worth it if you can afford it) and of course some of the most beautiful dancers the attractive city of Miami has to offer. For a more urban gentlemen’s club experience, check out King Of Diamonds, Miami strip club favorite of top rappers such as Drake, Lil Wayne, and most notably Miami’s own Rick Ross, who name checks the joint in his lyrics and held a special birthday performance there in 2011.
Miami is truly in the upper echelon of United States nightclub destinations, sharing a rarefied air with cities such as Las Vegas, New York, and Los Angeles. If clubbing is your thing, Miami is an especially great destination, but it also has all that you would expect from any major urban center in terms of live music, dive bars, or whatever it is that floats your boat. If you love the nightlife in its many shapes and forms, you will love Miami.