In order to help you figure out which new restaurants are worth going to, we created The Hit List, our guide to the new spots that are actually worth your time and money. And we do the same thing for the best new bars in Miami. All the places we visited are less than a year old, and they include outdoor music venues, natural wine bars, and incredibly fun cocktail spots. But what do they all have in common? We’ve visited them, really liked them, and felt they were well worth the varying degrees of hangover.
North Miami’s Paradis Books & Bread is on both our restaurant Hit List and our Bar Hit List, because it’s so good at being both. But if you’re coming here just to drink, you can expect mostly natural wine along with some cider - available by the glass or bottle - in a relaxed indoor/outdoor space. This is more a place to drink, chat, and eat pizza than be loud and dance (it is part library, after all). But everything here is delicious (especially the lamb and marinara slices) and it’s a nice change of pace if you’re a little tired of waking up after a night out with your ears ringing.
Going to The Cleat is a bit of a mission, mostly because of its location inside Bill Baggs State Park on the southern tip of Key Biscayne. However, it is incredibly worth it and - in our opinion - the best waterfront bar in the entire city. And that is almost entirely because of the view. It’s hard to describe without using cliche adjectives like breathtaking, especially at sunset. The Cleat has a very Keys vibe, occasional live music, and every seat in the house provides a view of Biscayne Bay you’d normally have to purchase a $300 bottle of vodka to enjoy. There is an $8 per vehicle fee to get into the park, but tell them you’re going to The Cleat and they (should) let you in for free.
The good folks at Kush Hospitality have perfected the genre of the “self-aware, semi-ironic, campy Miami” concept. Their latest entry into this genre: Don’s 5 Star Dive Bar, a new cocktail spot directly next to Cafe Kush in MiMo. The bar is decorated with odes to famous Miamians named Don - Don Johnson, Don Shula, and Don Bailey from those horny carpet ads. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds, yet still a fun, loud spot to grab a cocktail, maybe dance a little, and soak in the Miami nostalgia. They also have a waterfront outdoor area where you can chill - in case you need a break from staring at Don Bailey’s gloriously hairy chest.
Margot is part of the recent wave of natural wine bars that have opened in Miami. But even if you’re not particularly interested in natural wine, you should still come here because it’s a really gorgeous space perfect for dates or splitting a bottle and some cheese with a small group of friends. They also have wine-based apertivo cocktails, as well as a menu of small plates like salmon crudo, parmesan drizzled with aged balsamic, and a plate of ham and potato chips. If you’re still hungry after you leave, walk 12 steps over to Margot’s neighbor, Taqueria Hoja, where you’ll find some of the best tacos in Miami.
Space Park is a lot of things, and a bar is certainly one of them. The huge outdoor event space and marketplace is run by the Club Space team. And even if you’re not a Club Space regular, you should check this place out. The venue will do the occasional ticketed show, but they’ve recently opened to the public on Friday and Saturday for their Trippy Market, which is a blast. You can have some drinks, lay in a hammock, watch live bands, and grab food from one of the onsite vendors. They’ve got some very good pizza and one of our favorite food trucks in town, the plant-based Sunday.
Over Under opened in the middle of the pandemic, when the concept of a fun bar seemed about as realistic as billionaire space travel. But, things have changed since then, and Over Under has become one of the most fun bars in Miami. If you come during the day, for an early dinner, or at Happy Hour, you can relax and have a burger and one of their excellent cocktails or frozen drinks. Come here after 10pm, and you might see people dancing in front of a DJ, or screaming out emo karaoke by the wooden bleachers in the back. We never really know what to expect when we come here, but we know it will be fun, drunk, and tasty.
Remember Concrete Beach Brewery in Wynwood? If you do, then you know exactly what Dogfish Head Brewery looks like, because the new occupants of this space haven’t changed much except the paint job and beer menu. That’s not a bad thing though, because Concrete Beach was a fine spot for a relaxing beer in Wynwood. Dogfish is too, and they have some very good beer, including frozen options like the SeaQuench lime slushi blended with sugar and lime. They also have a food truck that churns out bar snacks like conch and crab fritters, empanadas, and wings.
This is another new spot from Kush Hospitality. This bar is in Brickell and an ode to Brickell’s old Tobacco Road, which was the oldest bar in Miami until rich people decided to tear it down so they could build something boring and expensive. It’s going to feel very familiar to anyone who’s ever been to a Kush restaurant. There’s lots of kitsch, a menu with great bar food, and some very good cocktails. But this place is most notable because it provides Brickell with a quality casual drinking option, something the neighborhood has very few of.
This Australian brewery in Coral Gables is a great place to drink and eat outside. Their front patio is really spacious, and laid out over a stretch of astroturf, so you can feel like you’re having a little picnic. This place is equal parts brewery and restaurant, but you can certainly come here just to drink - especially day drink, because they’ve got some crisp, refreshing brews. But if you did that, you’d be missing out on what is quite possibly the best fish and chips in town. So maybe come with a bit of an appetite.