In order to help you figure out which new restaurants are worth going to, we created The Hit List, our guide to recently-opened spots that are actually worth your time and money. We actually get off our asses and scope these places out - just because a place is new, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good.
And now, we’re doing the same thing for bars. All the places we visited are less than a year old. Frankly, some of them were empty, and some of them smelled weird - but there were also some we liked a lot, and which we think you should consider checking out. From a speakeasy in Hialeah to our new favorite place to drink in South Beach, check out the Bar Hit List below.
The most interesting beers in Miami are being made at this brewery on Bird Road, right next to Tropical Park. Unseen Creatures says they brew with locally foraged yeast and bacteria - and while we can’t quite explain what that means, we can tell you it’s delicious. Their house beers use local fruit like raspberries and blueberries, and the rotating beers are tart, sweet, and more complex than anything we’ve tasted in a while. We also really like their simple brewery, which is bright and sunny during the day, with some window seating facing I-95 so you can watch less fortunate Miamians battle traffic while you sip away.
There aren’t many places left in Wynwood where you can have a good drink in a small room that doesn’t feel like Flo Rida is about to pop out and start singing at any moment. But Spanglish is that kind of bar, and it makes us feel like adults who appreciate a solid cocktail instead of 22-year-olds who don’t know what a real hangover is yet. There’s a food menu that can work for dinner, but we like this place better for drinks. Like the Cafetera Old Fashioned, which is poured out of a bright red espresso maker, or the Pimp My Rye - a mix of rye, Earl Grey, sage, lemon, and yuzu tonic that is every bit as entertaining as that show with Xzibit.
You may have been to Casa Florida before because they first opened up in 2016. But after a short and very successful stint, they closed down for reasons unknown. Now they’re back, and that gets them onto our bar hit list on a technicality. Regardless, we really like this place, especially when we’re in the mood to drink outside. They’ve got some seating (including inside an old bus), which is usually quiet enough to bring a date you’d actually like to hear. The drinks are great too, and they’re Old Fashiorange tastes like an Old Fashioned made out with a Creamsicle.
Miami is not a sports bar town, possibly because we seem to only realize we have sports teams when they’re in the playoffs (and that doesn’t happen a lot). But if we ever do have a reason to care about sports, Wynwood’s Grails is a solid choice to cheer on the [insert team here]. The bar has a lot of outdoor seating, a menu with OK chicken wings and other decent bar food, and there are TVs everywhere so you can watch your game of choice no matter how crowded it is. They also have one of those mini arcade basketball hoops, which gets 30% more fun after each drink you have.
You lose all sense of time in Swizzle. It’s dark and windowless like the hull of a ship - except you have access to exceptional cocktails and you can get up and leave whenever you want. You just might not want to - especially after you taste one of the cocktails, which are broken up into categories on the big menu like “exotic and tropical,” “fancy drinks,” and “stirred and stiff.” Every time we come here we try something new, and we haven’t tasted anything less than great here so far.
It’s worth coming to La Cocina whether or not you’re interested in the very good food from Stephen’s Deli, which is where you’ll find this place, just past the bathrooms. This tiny cocktail bar in Hialeah is a blast all on its own. The drinks are great, you can order food in case you do start craving reuben croquetas or an excellent burger, and there are these little Miami inside jokes sprinkled in every corner of the room - from the names of the drinks (the Pata Sucia is actually quite good) to the Royal Dansk cookie tins that cover the bar.
The Sylvester in Midtown is one of those bars that will make you say something like, “I wish my house looked like this.” We do, in fact, wish our house had this kind of tropical Florida aesthetic, with hanging plants, flamingo wallpaper, and cozy vintage furniture scattered around. And we also wish we could walk into our kitchen and choose from a selection of very cute cocktails and an excellent negroni with young Thai coconut Campari. A fridge full of perfect drinking snacks like smoked white fish dip, an arepa grilled cheese, and sausage hot pockets would be nice too. But until that day comes, we’ll head to the Sylvester for such things.
We’re not entirely sure how to describe Tomorrowland. It looks like a repurposed auto garage, feels somewhere between a sports bar and a cocktail bar, and has a food truck that serves chicken parm sliders. But even if it defies categorization, we like it here. The drinks are good, there’s plenty of space, a nice Happy Hour, and you should keep it in mind next time you want to drink outside in Downtown Miami.