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

By: Virgin Atlantic

April 5, 2019

South Beach, Miami © Shutterstock

South Beach, Miami © Shutterstock

April’s Miami Beach Pride festival looks set to light up the city this weekend, with a two-day event in Lummus Park kicking off tomorrow and the 11th annual Pride Parade along the length of Ocean Drive on Sunday. If you’re in town for the celebrations, why not stick around for more? 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. Over two decades 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 a talking point several years after opening. Moneyspinning megaclubs 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 line-up of hotshot models and jetsetters.

There’s more to Miami than South Beach though, so head west across 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, sultry cocktail joint Racket with its underlit bar and potted palms, and the refurbished and Latin-focused Gavanna.

Rooftops, beach bars and patios

Area 31 at Epic Hotel © Image courtesy 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: 5-7pm, Friday: all night) is one of the best – and best value – in town. Also in Brickell is The Bar at Level 25 at Conrad Miami; a lesser-known spot popular with business travellers and those in search of a quieter vibe.

Back in South Beach, the sixth floor C-Level Rooftop Terrace at the Clevelander remains as popular as ever, as does waterfront hotspot Monty’s Sunset, whose stone crab platters are as beloved 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 hotspots

f 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 venues and low key lounges to explore, starting with the secret bar at the back of Bodega Taqueria y Tequila 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 swingin’ Ball & Chain in Little Havana for live music, salsa dancing, 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.

Virgin Atlantic operates direct flights to Miami from London Heathrow.

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