clock menu more-arrow no yes

Underrated Bars Miami Bartenders Love to Visit

View as Map

Miami is home to a lot of restaurants and bars, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Miamians aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's beverage players to share their recommendations for a random feature dubbed Cocktail Confidential. Know a bartender who wants to share some top cocktail spots? The tipline is open.
CocktailConfBars.jpg

When you sip on something from The Regent Cocktail Club or The Broken Shaker, you feel like you've been sent libations from the gods. The reality, however, is that these crafted cocktails were made by mere mortals, and every bartender likes to have his or her downtime. If you've ever wondered where your favorite bartenders like to go when their not pouring your liquid courage, ask no more. From dive bars to lounges, here are the places that Miami's best in the biz like to go for a cocktail of their own.
— Ashley Brozic


· All Coverage of Cocktail Week 2013 [EMIA]
Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Room

Copy Link
100 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33140
(305) 531-6061
Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi are the architects of the ultimate night for those who like to kick back, relax and sip a Smuggler’s Road at the Broken Shaker. But where do The Bar Lab boys go when they need to unwind? They head to The Room, a South Beach staple that’s stood the test of time. (Ok, it’s only been around since 2003, but that’s an eternity in SOBE time). “They have a really good selection of craft beers,” says Gabriel. “We always ask the manager, Alex, what’s new and what’s seasonal.” Currently, Alex is talking up the Founders Breakfast Stout and Funky Buddah Hop Gun IPA, but if those aren’t your style, no worries. There are 79 other unique brews to choose from.

2. Gramps

Copy Link
176 NW 24th St
Miami, FL 33127
(786) 752-6693
Visit Website
When Chad Phillips and Rob Montero want to simmer down after a long day of mixing and muddling, they head to a gritty little gem we like to call Gramps. “It is very low-key with an awesome outdoor patio. The bar staff is a lot of fun, the cocktails are outstanding and they have a solid beer selection,” Phillips says. With Louis Salgar helming the bar, Gramps has quickly established itself as a Wynwood mainstay and Montero, who once worked with Salgar at Sra. Martinez, can attest to this. “It’s very rewarding to see how far he has come in such a short period of time.” And while Montero does trust Salgar to make him some fantastic libations, he does have his preferences. “ My favorite drink to order from him is his Fire in the Yucatan, but whatever your preference, know that you’re in great hands when you sit down at his bar.”

3. MC Kitchen

Copy Link
4141 Northeast 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33137
(305) 456-9948
Although Louis Salgar is fairly new to the professional cocktail scene, he’s already got our attention, and he’ll have yours too the minute you sip one of his sinfully syrupy cocktails at Gramps. But when Salgar puts down the shaker, he takes comfort in MC Kitchen’s alluring atmosphere. “What’s more welcoming than [sitting at] a beautiful marble food bar, while being serenaded by Rick James, Michael Jackson, Curtis Mayfield and other funky goodies?” he asks. Salgar is also a fan of MC Kitchen’s fresh cocktails and cuisine. “The Red Velvet Elvis with bourbon, baby red beets, fennel and white balsamic vinegar has an impressive color, nose and a beautiful rich flavor. To say the food is excellent is an understatement. It’s a refreshing reinterpretation of Italian cuisine.”

4. Mai-Kai Restaurant and Lounge

Copy Link
3599 N Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
(954) 563-3272
Visit Website
During the wee hours of the night you can find Aubrey Russel mixing up his cocktail of the week at The Corner, but on his downtime he leaves behind the glitz and grime of the 305 and crosses the border to Ft. Lauderdale. His destination? Mai-Kai, a classic Polynesian restaurant where the food and cocktails are just as vivid as the hula skirt clad performers. The restaurant has been around since the 1950s, but it's still a popular spot for weddings, birthdays and happy hour. "I like to hit up the happy hour at the bar for some great tiki-inspired cocktails," says Russel. "Fun, slightly bizarre and a good place to escape for a couple of hours, or more."

5. The Broken Shaker

Copy Link
2727 Indian Creek Dr
Miami Beach, FL 33140
(305) 531-2727
We all know Ben Potts as the Blackbird Ordinary bartender who can whip up cocktails quicker than a machine gun can spit out bullets. But if you really want to know the man behind the bottles, catch him at The Broken Shaker pretty much every Sunday. Potts is keen on The Broken Shaker’s vibe and concoctions. “Their cocktails are ingredient forward and [they] use a ton of culinary finesse and creativity to make the drinks they make. Their menu is constantly changing, so there's always something new,” he says. As for his drink of choice, Potts keeps it simple, but only slightly. “I typically order one their "twists" on an old-fashioned, which they tend to include on their cocktail list every time they change it (which is about every two weeks).”

6. Social Club At Surfcomber

Copy Link
1717 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 604-1800
After almost winning the title of Bartender of the Year from The U.S. Bartender’s Guild, it’s safe to say that Julio Cabrera is currently reining over the Miami cocktail scene. But when Cabrera wants to step away from his bartending spotlight, he likes to post up at the Social Club at the Surfcomber. “This is my favorite place to go when I'm off. They have a great cocktail menu and spirit selection, an underrated group of talented bartenders lead by Chad [Phillips] and excellent service.” While Cabrera can whip up libations to please even the most selective palates, he prefers to keep it tropical with the Social Club’s Swizzling the Night Away, a mix of rum, green chartreuse, punt e mes, kalani coconut and grapefruit.

7. Palm Restaurant

Copy Link
9650 E Bay Harbor Dr
Bay Harbor, FL 33154
(305) 868-7256
Visit Website
As beverage director for the Genuine Hospitality Group, Ryan Goodspeed is a busy man. But when he’s not making sure customers are getting the best of the best at Michael’s Genuine and The Cypress Room, you can find him sipping an oversized martini at the ever-classic Palm Restaurant in Bay Harbor. There’s a lot to say about this 32-year-old Miami mainstay, but GoodSpeed focuses on his favorite bartender, Bobby. “Bobby is just about everything I could ask for in a bartender. Over 50, a bit curmudgeon-y, doesn't joke much, but he recognizes and respects his customers and gives great service. Which is a whole lot more than I can say about the majority of bars in Miami.”

8. The Regent Cocktail Club

Copy Link
1685 James Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 673-0199
Visit Website
As head bartender of Khong River House, Will Rivas knows how to make a killer Thai-inspired drink, but every once in a while he likes to let someone else call the shots when it comes to gin-based beverages. For this, he trusts the bartenders at The Regent Club. “The guys behind the bar always take really good care of me and whoever I send over. You can typically find me drinking Last Words. I love gin and green chartreuse and the drink is a perfect marriage between the two,” he says.

9. Purdy Lounge

Copy Link
1811 Purdy Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 531-4622
Visit Website
When she’s not totting her suitcase cross-country as National Ambassador for St. Germain, you can find Hillary Choo kicking it up a notch at Purdy Lounge. Eater’s Bartender of the Year loves the spot for its brand new cocktail program which, according to Choo, “makes the bar not only fun for late night bartender happy hours, but also for grabbing a well-made drink.” Choo loves a great classic cocktail, and luckily for her Purdy’s bartenders are trained to perfect them at any hour of the night. “Purdy is always a great time because it's casual, easy-going and open until 5 a.m. daily. It's just a great place to grab an old-fashioned after work.”

Loading comments...

1. The Room

100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140
Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi are the architects of the ultimate night for those who like to kick back, relax and sip a Smuggler’s Road at the Broken Shaker. But where do The Bar Lab boys go when they need to unwind? They head to The Room, a South Beach staple that’s stood the test of time. (Ok, it’s only been around since 2003, but that’s an eternity in SOBE time). “They have a really good selection of craft beers,” says Gabriel. “We always ask the manager, Alex, what’s new and what’s seasonal.” Currently, Alex is talking up the Founders Breakfast Stout and Funky Buddah Hop Gun IPA, but if those aren’t your style, no worries. There are 79 other unique brews to choose from.
100 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33140

2. Gramps

176 NW 24th St, Miami, FL 33127
When Chad Phillips and Rob Montero want to simmer down after a long day of mixing and muddling, they head to a gritty little gem we like to call Gramps. “It is very low-key with an awesome outdoor patio. The bar staff is a lot of fun, the cocktails are outstanding and they have a solid beer selection,” Phillips says. With Louis Salgar helming the bar, Gramps has quickly established itself as a Wynwood mainstay and Montero, who once worked with Salgar at Sra. Martinez, can attest to this. “It’s very rewarding to see how far he has come in such a short period of time.” And while Montero does trust Salgar to make him some fantastic libations, he does have his preferences. “ My favorite drink to order from him is his Fire in the Yucatan, but whatever your preference, know that you’re in great hands when you sit down at his bar.”
176 NW 24th St
Miami, FL 33127

3. MC Kitchen

4141 Northeast 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33137
Although Louis Salgar is fairly new to the professional cocktail scene, he’s already got our attention, and he’ll have yours too the minute you sip one of his sinfully syrupy cocktails at Gramps. But when Salgar puts down the shaker, he takes comfort in MC Kitchen’s alluring atmosphere. “What’s more welcoming than [sitting at] a beautiful marble food bar, while being serenaded by Rick James, Michael Jackson, Curtis Mayfield and other funky goodies?” he asks. Salgar is also a fan of MC Kitchen’s fresh cocktails and cuisine. “The Red Velvet Elvis with bourbon, baby red beets, fennel and white balsamic vinegar has an impressive color, nose and a beautiful rich flavor. To say the food is excellent is an understatement. It’s a refreshing reinterpretation of Italian cuisine.”
4141 Northeast 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33137

4. Mai-Kai Restaurant and Lounge

3599 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
During the wee hours of the night you can find Aubrey Russel mixing up his cocktail of the week at The Corner, but on his downtime he leaves behind the glitz and grime of the 305 and crosses the border to Ft. Lauderdale. His destination? Mai-Kai, a classic Polynesian restaurant where the food and cocktails are just as vivid as the hula skirt clad performers. The restaurant has been around since the 1950s, but it's still a popular spot for weddings, birthdays and happy hour. "I like to hit up the happy hour at the bar for some great tiki-inspired cocktails," says Russel. "Fun, slightly bizarre and a good place to escape for a couple of hours, or more."
3599 N Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308

5. The Broken Shaker

2727 Indian Creek Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33140
We all know Ben Potts as the Blackbird Ordinary bartender who can whip up cocktails quicker than a machine gun can spit out bullets. But if you really want to know the man behind the bottles, catch him at The Broken Shaker pretty much every Sunday. Potts is keen on The Broken Shaker’s vibe and concoctions. “Their cocktails are ingredient forward and [they] use a ton of culinary finesse and creativity to make the drinks they make. Their menu is constantly changing, so there's always something new,” he says. As for his drink of choice, Potts keeps it simple, but only slightly. “I typically order one their "twists" on an old-fashioned, which they tend to include on their cocktail list every time they change it (which is about every two weeks).”
2727 Indian Creek Dr
Miami Beach, FL 33140

6. Social Club At Surfcomber

1717 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, Miami Beach, FL 33139
After almost winning the title of Bartender of the Year from The U.S. Bartender’s Guild, it’s safe to say that Julio Cabrera is currently reining over the Miami cocktail scene. But when Cabrera wants to step away from his bartending spotlight, he likes to post up at the Social Club at the Surfcomber. “This is my favorite place to go when I'm off. They have a great cocktail menu and spirit selection, an underrated group of talented bartenders lead by Chad [Phillips] and excellent service.” While Cabrera can whip up libations to please even the most selective palates, he prefers to keep it tropical with the Social Club’s Swizzling the Night Away, a mix of rum, green chartreuse, punt e mes, kalani coconut and grapefruit.
1717 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Miami Beach, FL 33139

7. Palm Restaurant

9650 E Bay Harbor Dr, Bay Harbor, FL 33154
As beverage director for the Genuine Hospitality Group, Ryan Goodspeed is a busy man. But when he’s not making sure customers are getting the best of the best at Michael’s Genuine and The Cypress Room, you can find him sipping an oversized martini at the ever-classic Palm Restaurant in Bay Harbor. There’s a lot to say about this 32-year-old Miami mainstay, but GoodSpeed focuses on his favorite bartender, Bobby. “Bobby is just about everything I could ask for in a bartender. Over 50, a bit curmudgeon-y, doesn't joke much, but he recognizes and respects his customers and gives great service. Which is a whole lot more than I can say about the majority of bars in Miami.”
9650 E Bay Harbor Dr
Bay Harbor, FL 33154

8. The Regent Cocktail Club

1685 James Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
As head bartender of Khong River House, Will Rivas knows how to make a killer Thai-inspired drink, but every once in a while he likes to let someone else call the shots when it comes to gin-based beverages. For this, he trusts the bartenders at The Regent Club. “The guys behind the bar always take really good care of me and whoever I send over. You can typically find me drinking Last Words. I love gin and green chartreuse and the drink is a perfect marriage between the two,” he says.
1685 James Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139

9. Purdy Lounge

1811 Purdy Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
When she’s not totting her suitcase cross-country as National Ambassador for St. Germain, you can find Hillary Choo kicking it up a notch at Purdy Lounge. Eater’s Bartender of the Year loves the spot for its brand new cocktail program which, according to Choo, “makes the bar not only fun for late night bartender happy hours, but also for grabbing a well-made drink.” Choo loves a great classic cocktail, and luckily for her Purdy’s bartenders are trained to perfect them at any hour of the night. “Purdy is always a great time because it's casual, easy-going and open until 5 a.m. daily. It's just a great place to grab an old-fashioned after work.”
1811 Purdy Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Related Maps