Miami has long maintained a reputation for being a 24/7 party spot. It’s why so many flock to the 305 for Spring Break, Memorial Day Weekend, bachelor and bachelorette parties, long weekendsyou name it. But there’s so much more to the city’s nightlife than oversized nightclubs (although those are fun sometimes, too). And if you’re wondering what part of Miami has the best nightlife, I can tell you this much: you can always find a good time anywhere in the Magic City if you know where to look.

I came of age in Miami and spent a lot of time seeking out every kind of bar, club, music venue and literally wherever else might stay open late. And with every visit back home, I’m always pleased to find another new favorite spot or two to end the night at because Miami’s nightlife scene is nothing if not resilient. For each place that’s shut down, 10 more have popped up in its stead. 

So, where should you be spending your evenings while in Miami? Here are some of my top picks, whether you’re a barfly, a jazz lover, a dancing queen, or an early-to-bed type.

Acrobatic performance at Faena Theater in Miami Beach
The shows at Faena Theater are Vegas-level entertainment © Photo courtesy of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Faena Theater

Best for dinner and a show

For those seeking dramatic flair, this intimate theater and dining experience will make you feel as though you’ve stepped into the Moulin Rouge (seriously, Baz Luhrmann himself helped design the space). The decadent Faena Theater at Faena Miami Beach will have you absolutely gobsmacked from the moment you step in, but it’s not just the space that attracts. From their Ascension Cabaret to their monthly late-night extravaganza EVERAFTER, you won’t want to miss the chance at Vegas-level entertainment like this right in Miami Beach. This won't be a cheap night out, but who can put a price on glamour like this?

Tipsy Flamingo

Best cocktail bar with heavy Miami vibes

While it hasn’t been around as long as some of the city’s other major cocktail bars, Tipsy Flamingo is doing lots of things right. The drink menu doesn’t go overboard, instead zeroing in on a few finely tuned cocktails: the Henny Pa Mi Gente for the true local boys, the rum-coffee-caramel Tipsy Colada to keep you going late into the night and, of course, the tongue-in-cheek Pablo Escobar shot served with a baggie of salt because Miami. But it's the kitschy 305 aesthetic that draws folks in the door. So much pink, so many palms, all the neon, and who can resist the allure of the flamingo? Add to that a daily 5-9pm happy hour for the office crowd, rotating events and good beats, and you’re good to go.

Interior of Mac's Club Deuce, shot from behind the bar
Mac's Club Deuce is one of the few longstanding dive bars left in Miami © Mac's Club Deuce

Mac’s Club Deuce 

Best for an inexpensive dive experience with plenty of characters
South Beach

On the flip side, if you’ve ever said to yourself, “Where can I party on a budget in Miami?” Well, you’ve found it. Mac’s is one of the few true longstanding dives left in town. Open since 1926, this cash-only, neon-lit South Beach bar still sells beers at an affordable price. Take advantage of the early bird happy hour from 8am to 5pm, like I have many times. And when you need a food break, you can always wander right across the street to La Sandwicherie. It was even the late Anthony Bourdain’s favorite spot in town, so if it was good enough for us, it’ll definitely be good enough for you, too.

BackRoom at The Fish House

Best for laid-back jazz club vibes

For those wanting to take a break from South Beach nightlife, there are plenty of interesting options on the mainland as well – including in Miami’s suburbs. Take BackRoom, for example. Located inside The Fish House, a seafood restaurant west of the Palmetto, you wouldn’t think much was happening inside apart from some fresh mahi mahi being eaten. But once you’re in, it quickly feels like you’ve wandered onto New Orleans’ Frenchmen Street. This delightful and intimate music venue features plenty of Mardi Gras-inspired decor as well as a small stage from which jazz bands, cover bands, and more all entertain sans pretension, and yes – it’s worth the drive.

Dante's HiFi bar and record DJ booth
Vinyl DJs? We're here for it © World Red Eye

Dante’s HiFi

Best for audiophiles

Vinyl-listening bars are becoming quite the rage around the country, and frankly, I am here for it. This audiophile wonderland in Wynwood guarantees solid tunes to dance and vibe to every Tuesday through Sunday. It's a more intimate venue, so just know that you’ll likely be standing all night unless you reserve a table. If you’re just there to dance, that works! Otherwise, splurge for a seat (reservations are good for 1.5 hours) and enjoy a cocktail or two. Or order some mocktails and simply take in the music – past DJs have included Louis Vega, Benny Bennasi and DJ Jazzy Jeff.


Best for a classic Miami club experience
Miami Beach

Miami has no shortage of popular nightclubs to choose from, and I'd be happy to recommend any and all of the following: E11even, Do Not Sit On The Furniture, even the toes-in-the-sand Nikki Beach. But if you're visiting and want to truly boast about how hard you Miami'd, it's hard to top a place like LIV. Located inside the famed Fontainebleau Hotel, this mid-beach mega-club is always inviting top EDM and hip-hop acts to perform. Just this year alone, they've had Saweetie, Steve Aoki, David Guetta, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross on their stage. But it's not just about the DJs—it's also about who you might run into. From Bad Bunny to Kim Kardashian, Leonardo DiCaprio to George Clooney, LIV is one of the few clubs where anyone can go and potentially find themselves among A-Listers – that is, if you're willing to pay for it.

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Typical Coffee Shop window in Little Havana circa July 2012 in Miami, during "cultural fridays" an artistic, cultural, and social fair that takes place monthly. © Daniel Korzeniewski / Shutterstock


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