Miami after dark: Where to find the city’s best nightlife

By: Virgin Atlantic

September 1, 2015

The nightlife scene in Miami is a sizzling hot, neon-lit, non-stop party and it always lasts until dawn. Whether you’re drawn towards poolside people-watching, sexy Latin rhythms or non-stop uhntz uhntz uhntz, we’ve got you covered when the sun goes down…


Miami the city that keeps the roof blazin’ sang Will Smith in 1998. Seventeen years later the city’s famous club scene is still regularly voted #1 in the country, propped up by a continual stream of A-listers, ever flashier venues and the affluent, see-and-be-seen crowds who flock here.

South Beach remains the heartbeat of it all. Ian Schrager’s Basement Miami at Miami Beach EDITION – complete with skating rink, bowling alley and dancefloor with massive disco ball and 70s lighting – is still the talk of the town eight months after opening. Moneyspinning megaclubs Mansion, Story and LIV at Fontainebleau feature high energy beats on a grand scale, with multiple rooms, superstar DJs and a revolving cast of celebs. Or dance barefeet on the sand at Nikki Beach with a global cast of hotshot models and jetsetters.

There’s more to Miami than South Beach though, so head west over Biscayne Bay to Wynwood and the Design District for a more underground, less overtly glitzy vibe. Highlights include long-running cross-cultural music venue and dance club Electric Pickle; relentlessly hip and intimate Bardot with its zero photography policy and wide mix of sounds; Latin-focused and freshly refurbished Gavanna, and newish kid on the block House, who have a selfie station on the way in so you can satisfy (and then ditch) your narcissistic tendencies at the door.

Rooftops, beach bars and patios

Area 31 © Courtesy of Area 31 Restaurant:Kimpton.jpgArea 31 at Epic Hotel © 2015 Courtesy of Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group

The nights are balmy and the best breezes can be found up high. Located on the 16th floor with glittering views of the Downtown/Brickell skyline, Area 31 at Epic Hotel is best known for its seafood, but its weekday Happy Hour (Mon-Thurs, 5-8pm) is one of the best – and best value – in town. Also in Brickell is LVL25 at Conrad Miami; a lesser-known spot popular with business travellers and those in search of a quieter vibe, and the insanely swanky FIFTY Miami Ultra Lounge at Viceroy Miami, with its private pool and Asian-inspired interiors on the 50th floor.

Back in South Beach, the sixth floor C-Level Rooftop Terrace at the Clevelander remains as popular – and touristy – as ever, as does waterfront hotspot Monty’s Sunset, whose stone crab platters are as popular as the ‘Famous Pain Remover’ cocktails. Looking to glam it up? Head to the jazz era-inspired Blues Bar at the National or High Bar at Dream, where the Atlantic Ocean views are as cool as the frozen pina coladas.

Cocktail lounges

Cocktails at The Rum Line © Courtesy Loews Hotels & Resorts.pngCocktails at The Rum Line © 2015 Courtesy of Loews Hotels & Resorts

If you’re looking for a place where the art of mixology is taken way more seriously than the dress code, read on. Despite the focus on hedonistic partying, Miami does have a good crop of speakeasy-style lounges and low key venues to explore, starting with the hand shaken, Tiki-inspired cocktails at The Rum Line at Loews; the softly-lit comfort of 1930s House at Thompson Miami Beach, and the jazzy late-night vibe of Downton neighbourhood favourite The Corner.

Further afield, head to no-cover Blackbird Ordinary in Brickell for speciality cocktails that won’t break the bank; the recently re-opened Ball & Chain in Little Havana for Cuban-inspired drinks and outstanding fish tacos, or back to the beach for the much raved-about Broken Shaker at the Freehand in Mid-Beach, where the James Beard-nominated cocktails are made with elixirs, botanicals and infusions from around the world.

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What do you think of Miami’s nightlife scene? Do you have any favourite clubs or venues not mentioned here? Share your tips in the comments below.

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