Nightlife in Miami-Miami BeachThe glamorous life is as much a part of the South Beach mystique as palm trees, lapping ocean waves and Art Deco hotels. Once the sun goes down, that lifestyle takes on a whole new luster as the glitterati step out in designer clothes to sip cocktails and groove to booming music in ultra-stylish surroundings. Although the air of exclusivity is carefully cultivated—as it was during South Beach’s earlier heyday in the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s when it was America’s playground for the rich and famous — the reality isn’t quite so intimidating, particularly if you start your evening before 11 p.m. Wondering where to go? The area around the intersection of Collins Avenue and Lincoln Road specializes in chic nightspots
Exclusive Nightlife in Miami-Miami Beach
Getting in might be a challenge at SET (320 Lincoln Road), but the effort is worth it. SET offers the real South Beach nightclub experience, something you might not expect judging from its plain-Jane exterior. If it weren’t for the crowds waiting outside you might never find the place. Inside is a whole other world of light and sound that will likely leave your head spinning before you ever touch one of the pricey (though not by South Beach standards) cocktails.
The two-level club has enough spot lights, lasers, smoke machines, plasma screens, projectors and top-of-the-line speakers for a big-budget Hollywood movie set, which may be where it gets its name. From its main level—with its globular chandeliers and twin go-go girl platforms behind the bar—to the exclusive VIP Room and ultra-exclusive Trophy Room upstairs, the décor is posh and dramatically lit. Check into getting bottle service; purchasing that privilege may make sense if you have a party small enough to fit at a reserved table but large enough to share the expense. Phone (786) 735-1900.
Things for Couples to Do
Several blocks south of Lincoln Road, Mango’s Tropical Café (900 Ocean Dr.) offers a very different nightclub experience, but one no less saturated with local color. The Latin-Caribbean hot spot on beautiful, beachfront Ocean Drive serves up spicy Caribbean cuisine, tasty mojitos and dance numbers that get steamier—while the dancers’ costumes get skimpier—as the evening progresses. Vibrant murals, garish lighting and lively entertainment help make Mango’s a perennial tourist favorite. Phone (305) 673-4422.
Surf and sand is the theme at the appropriately named Nikki Beach (1 Ocean Dr.), near the southern tip of the island. The beautiful people love sunbathing in Nikki Beach’s huge outdoor area with its cabanas, plush day beds and signature white teepees. The club regularly hosts parties and fashion shows, and resident DJs play the latest dance music. Phone (305) 538-1111.
Should stepping out to South Beach’s fabulous clubs (with their fabulous prices) begin to wear thin, head to one of the city’s local haunts for a low-key alternative. Although Mac's Club Deuce (222 14th St.) is just a short walk from the beach and Lincoln Road it offers a refreshing change of pace when all you want is a beer and a game of pool. The bar accepts cash only; phone (305) 531-6200. Likewise, The Abbey Brewing Co. (1115 16th St.), just a couple blocks off Lincoln Road, dispenses with all that high-end Collins Avenue frippery in favor of a dim, no-frills ambience where you can choose from among a handful of house recipe brews along with several imported draft beers; phone (305) 538-8110.
Things to Do in Downtown
Of course, there’s far more to the Miami nightclub scene than South Beach. In recent years nightlife across the bay in downtown has really taken off, and one of the first big clubs was Club Space (34 N.E. 11th St.), a two-level warehouse of a place with a state-of-the-art sound system and a regular lineup of top DJs from around the world. Space’s unusual 24-hour liquor license allows it to keep the party going all night long after other dance emporiums have closed. Space even hosts a popular Sunday-morning dance event on its outdoor Terrace where you’ll find energetic clubbers who’ve been up all night mingling with those well-rested patrons who’ve come out to start their day with a cup of coffee and a healthy dose of throbbing house music. Phone (786) 357-6456.
Across the street you’ll find E11EVEN Miami (29 N.E. 11th St.). This 24-hour cabaret/nightclub features DJs, burlesque entertainers and theatrical performances including aerialists, contortionists, go-go dancers and magicians on multiple stages. More than 600 square feet of LED video walls and moving lights add to the high energy atmosphere. Looking for where to eat? A full service kitchen and six bars serving expertly crafted cocktails will keep you satiated around the clock. Phone (305) 829-2911.
LILT Lounge (270 Biscayne Blvd. Way), in the luxurious EPIC Miami hotel, complements the hotel’s contemporary design with its sleek, modern décor. Copper orbs are suspended above a circular, white-lacquered bar surrounded by leather and metal semicircular stools. After dark, the lights are turned down and dramatic, colorful up lighting creates a more intimate atmosphere. Nosh on small plates perfect for sharing including carpaccio, gazpacho and lobster cocktail. Expertly-crafted cocktails infused with locally-sourced, fresh fruits and herbs, are available at the bar or from the table-side champagne cart. In cool weather, head outside to the patio overlooking the serene Miami River. Phone (305) 351-7403.
Nightlife in Little Havana
Amid cigar shops and coffee counters in Little Havana, Ball & Chain (1513 S.W. 8th St.) is a nightclub with a storied past that includes gambling and owners that were bootleggers and felons. The main room has avocado-green walls with wood trim and features a large, square bar in the center. Live music is performed on a pineapple-shaped stage in the spacious courtyard. Select from signature cocktails infused with tropical fruit juices and fresh, hand-crank-pressed guarapo (sugarcane juice). Order Cuban-, Mexican- and Caribbean-inspired dishes from a tapas menu including plantain chips, fish tacos, fried pork rinds and roasted corn. Inside tables are only available for reserved bottle and cocktail pitcher service after 8 p.m. Phone (305) 643-7820.
LeKoKe Wines & Bites (1225 S.W. 8th St.) is a family-owned wine boutique in Little Havana. Green walls are lined with wooden shelves filled with bottles of wine, antiques and Cuban memorabilia. A large, crystal chandelier, dim lighting and soft music create a casual ambience for eating out. Select from more than 300 Old World and New World wines from some of the best wine-producing regions around the world to take with you or enjoy at the cozy lounge. Sit back, sip your wine and nibble on generous bites including bruschetta, caprese salad, empanadas, tortilla flamenca or tostones. Phone (305) 848-5656.
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3974 NW South River Dr. Miami Springs, FL 33142
Miami Beach Population
Miami Beach Elevation
Miami-Dade County sales tax is 7 percent. An additional hotel room tax is 6 percent in Miami-Dade County, with the exception of Surfside and Bal Harbour, where the resort tax is 4 percent.
(305) 476-5423 (Miami-Dade County) or (305) 579-6111 (Miami)
(786) 331-5000 (Miami-Dade County) or (305) 416-5400 (Miami)
Time and Temperature
Baptist Hospital of Miami, (786) 596-1960; Jackson South Community Hospital, (305) 251-2500; North Shore Medical Center, (305) 835-6000; University of Miami Hospital, (305) 689-5511; Westchester General Hospital, (305) 264-5252.
701 Brickell Ave. Suite 2700 Miami, FL 33131. Phone:(305)539-3000 or (800)933-8448
Miami International Airport
Miami and Miami Beach are served by many major car rental agencies. Hertz, (800) 654-3080, or (305) 871-0300 at Miami International Airport, offers discounts to AAA members.
The Amtrak Station is at 8303 N.W. 37th Ave.; for reservations and other information phone (800) 872-7245.
Greyhound Lines Inc. stations are at 3801 N.W. 21st St., (305) 871-1810.
Cabs are plentiful and operate on the meter system. Fares are $2.95 base fee plus $5.10 for the first mile, $2.40 per additional mile and 40c for each minute of waiting. A $2 fuel surcharge and an airport surcharge may apply. Taxi companies include Yellow Taxi, (786) 830-6253, and USA Taxi, (305) 897-3333.
Transportation by elevated light rail, people mover and bus is available in Miami.