After enjoying a late brunch, sunbathing on the beach, a little shopping, and a quick afternoon nap, it's time to engage in some nighttime fun in Miami. Miami's South Beach truly comes alive as the sun starts to set. Neon-soaked art deco buildings along Ocean Drive light up the sidewalks as couples and friends in fashionable and alluring attire sip cocktails, dine, dance, and celebrate well past midnight. If you want to join the fun like a local, you need a few tips on navigating South Beach nightlife.
Happy hour on South Beach is a time-honored tradition, and it's your chance to enjoy some of the most creative, delicious cocktails in the coolest bars. Dress to impress, and start with a stroll down one of the city's romantic pedestrian walkways. Espanola Way, which runs just south of Lincoln Road between Collins and Washington, is a good example. Doraku, a creative sushi restaurant on Lincoln, is famous for great happy hour deals, but try to arrive before 5 p.m. to ensure a seat for the bargain-priced sakes and edamame.
For something a little more creative, try NaiYaRa, where you can sip a Tom Kha-Pina, crafted with mezcal, charred pineapple, lemongrass, and cilantro. Excellent Thai appetizers are also worth a nibble. Alternatively, head over to the trendy Tom on Collins inside the 1 Hotel, especially if you enjoy craft cocktails infused with fresh herbs. Many of the top restaurants and bars are inside chic hotels, making it easy to flow from happy hour to dinner if you want convenience.
To restore your energy for the evening, be sure to fuel up with a healthy, fresh meal. Don't look for early bird specials here. Nights in South Beach begin late and end in the early morning hours. Many restaurants line the sidewalks of Ocean Drive, with the heart of the town located between 5th and 15th Streets. Browse the menus on display outside, and don't be intimidated by the attractive employees paid to hustle you inside. It's fun to people-watch while sharing dishes at tables overlooking the beach, but the sidewalk tables can also be loud and jarring as all types of revelers shuffle by.
You may want to try one of the finer restaurants located off the main strip. Popular spots that don't disappoint include Otentic Fresh Food on Washington Avenue if you like dishes with French flair. Cleo on Collins Avenue offers tasty Mediterranean cuisine that can be enjoyed on cozy couches overlooking the street, while CVI.CHE 105 on Lincoln Road offers impressive Peruvian dishes in a hip, exotic atmosphere. Check helpful apps like Foursquare or TripAdvisor for reviews before making reservations. Most restaurants in South Beach are pricey — but well worth it.
Dance the Night Away
When you're ready to work off dinner, head out to enjoy some of the hottest entertainment in the world. Expect lines and hefty admission fees at the most popular spots, such as Story, Basement, and LIV, all located on Collins Avenue. To avoid the long wait, book VIP bottle service in advance. International DJs keep the beats pumping well into the early morning hours, and celebrities often make appearances to keep the night exciting.
The sky is the limit on fun, but the city does enforce a 5 a.m. closing time, and the cocktails tend to cost about $15 to $20 each, on average. Be sure to keep the next morning free for sleeping in, followed by mimosas or a Cuban coffee to sip at brunch — and then do it all over again.
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