Here's a freshly updated version of Eater's Cocktail Heatmap, a guide to the hot drinking dens and restaurant bars of the moment in South Florida. Rather than feature the perennial favorites and classic go-tos (you can find those here and here), this guide focuses on operations that have open less than one year. Happy drinking, and as always, feel free to write in with new suggestions to the tip line.Read More
The Cocktail Heatmap: Where to Drink Right Now in Miami, January 2020
1. La Cocina Coctelería
Self described as Hialeah’s first cocktail bar, this new watering hole is inspired by its neighborhood. Created by the masterminds behind popular local eateries like LoKal, Kush, Spillover and Vicky’s House and Stephen’s Delicatessen, the space features bright neon signs, a large Cuban flag mural behind the bar, art installations with nods to Hialeah pop-culture references, and drinks with cheeky names like the Leeeeterally Lucy Lopez and the Piñaso.
2. The Sylvester
Housed in the former Bardot space, The Sylvester “pays homage to old and new Miami” with cocktails and bites from the Beaker & Gray team like the “Ñooo, Que Frio!” a twist on a Old Cuban or a the “Magic City Mule.” The space also keeps with the Miami theme in decor, boasting colorful vintage wallpaper, tropical touches, repurposed antique furniture, alongside games including a pool table, pinball machine, foosball, and plenty of board games.
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3. Spanglish Craft Cocktail Bar + Kitchen
Named after Miami’s “unofficial” langue of Spanglish, a hybrid of English and Spanish often heard in the Magic City, the chic bar and lounge boasts Instagram-worthy drinks like the Spanglish and Chill, a tequila-based cocktail with strawberry infused sweet vermouth, tangerine, lemon, and pink peppercorn, served in a “popcorn bag” topped with caramel popcorn and chicharrón dust; alongside creative bites by Giorgio Rapicavoli like croqueta ‘buns’ and churrasco tiradito.
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4. Grails Restaurant & Bar
This colorful sneaker-themed bar by Giorgio Rapicavoli and the Cocktail Cartel team has brought Wynwood the proper sports bar it so deservers. More than 60 TVs can be found playing every game imaginable throughout the indoor/outdoor space, while creative dishes like pork wings, buffalo cauliflower, and crispy queso blanco are served washed back by local beers and easily sippable cocktails.
5. Sling Bar
This Singapore-inspired bar by Michale Schwartz serves up cocktails and bar snacks that feature Southeast Asian flavors within a tropical setting. Think drinks like the Curry Colada’ with Havana Club Rum, Velvet Falernum, curry syrup, coconut creme, lime, and passion fruit; paired with bites like chicken satay with peanut sauce and steamed snapper dumplings.
6. Blind Barber
Miami Beach, FL 33139
This hybrid barbershop-slash-speakeasy offers haircuts during the day and drinks at night. Guests enter through a discreet rear door into Blind Barber’s backroom cocktail lounge. Once inside they can sip on a variety of cocktails like the Arlo Margarita or the Chai Mai Tai. Soak that up with six different varieties of grilled cheese sandwiches, or dishes like avocado dip, tomato soup, and ceviche.
7. Esotico Miami
This bright and colorful tiki bar creates an assortment of drinks influenced by tiki-cocktail history. Think drinks like the Nu Mai Tai made with three different types of rum, passion fruit, and a “very secret ingredient,” or the large format Missionary’s Downfall with rum, brandy, pineapple, and mint. To soak up all that booze Esotico Miami will serve up a full dinner menu with a variety of tiki-with-a-twist offerings, like black truffle dumplings, octopus hot dogs, and fish cakes can be found in the “pupu” menu.
8. Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery
The team behind the now closed Employees Only Miami (RIP) is back with their new bar creation, Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery. As the menu implies, rum is the star with a versatile cocktail list focusing on classic and contemporary cocktails, as well as a mix of spirit forward drinks and tropical libations. The decor is even boasts a mural and walls lined with photos highlighting the history of rum that is meant to be museum-like, which the bartender will gives tours of when they aren’t too busy.
9. Casa Florida Cocktail Bar
This popular Florida-inspired cocktail bar is back after a year long hiatus. It still boasts its signature millennial pink decor, inventive tropical cocktails, and Little Havana location, but has also added an extensive weekend brunch menu and even a hotel to the mix.
10. Abi Maria Bar & Refuge
Kendall isn’t exactly known for its abundance of high quality cocktail bars, but Abi Maria is trying to change that. This Downtown Dadeland bar boasts old-school Havana vibes, tropical cocktails named after towns in Cuba, and bites to help soak up all that rum.