The Best Cocktail Bars in Miami: A Connoisseur’s Handbook
Image source Giulia Mulé via Flickr
For those who have ventured to — and imbibed in — the northern reaches of our great country during the past few years, it was clear that Miami was a bit behind the times when it came to its craft cocktail scene. However, never one to play second fiddle, the Magic City now has an abundance of places to enjoy some of the best cocktails in the country.
Here are three bars that represent Miami well on a national (and international) scale.
The Broken Shaker
From the well-respected duo behind Bar Lab — a cocktail bar management program — comes The Broken Shaker. Bar Lab has helped clients such as Pepsi, Saks Fifth Avenue, and others with events, brand development, and cocktail program creation. Now they can add to their mantel of accomplishments Broken Shaker’s 2013 James Beard Award nomination.
Serving cocktails seven days a week until 2 a.m., Broken Shaker is unanimously regarded as one of Miami’s best craft cocktail bars. All it takes is one look at the menu to see the care put into creating a one-of-a-kind drinking experience. For instance, even something as seemingly simple as a Rum and Coke is elevated with the use of house-spiced Bacardi Gold, homemade Cola, and an ingenious preparation of freezing Jamaica #1 Bitters into an ice cube, which slowly releases its flavors in the Miami heat. The Broken Shaker is also home to mixologist Virginia King, whose Manhattan was crowned the best in the country at the Manhattan Experience Competition.
Local tip: For a something a little more adventurous, try the Texas Politics, a spicy ancho chile and tequila cocktail.
The Broken Shaker
2727 Indian Creek Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33140
Regent Cocktail Club
When you have the likes of Julio Cabrera and John Lermayer manning your bar, it is safe to say the cocktails will be top notch. If you’re not familiar with these two, please allow me to introduce them.
Cabrera was crowned America’s “Most Imaginative Bartender” at a nationwide competition held in Las Vegas. With that title, he earned the right to represent the U! S! A! in London against other world-class bartenders. As if that was not enough for one year, he went on to grace the cover of GQ’s 2013 Men of the Year issue. John Lermayer has made a name for himself too: “The Emperor.” It is a nickname and reputation that precedes him. He has been the cocktail program director for such illustrious bars as NYC’s Mondrian SoHo and Forty Four. The Regent Cocktail Club offers a 20-page cocktail list along with daily specials, but I’m sure whatever you are in the mood for, the bartenders can craft into a cocktail among Miami’s best.
Local tip: Don’t necessarily wait for the weekend to hit Regent. This bar’s atmosphere often enjoys an added boost from live musicians on weeknights, including blues by Kohannes and the roots-revival tunes of Brendan O’Hara.
Regent Cocktail Club
1690 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Blackbird Ordinary might seem like a humble bar name on the surface, but the word “ordinary” has a more traditional meaning as a noun: “A colonial tavern; an establishment for the entertainment of a local community with gaming, drinking, and conversation.”
Blackbird Ordinary fits the bill on all three of those points and boasts some of Miami’s best cocktails. The understated Brickell establishment also one of the few bars this writer has ever come across that not only dedicates a tap to cocktails, but also prepares, carbonates, and bottles their own cocktails on a rotating basis.
This practice is the brainchild of bar manager Fraser Hamilton, who cut his teeth with renowned bartenders in Europe, working in one of Glasgow’s first cocktail bars. Blackbird Ordinary is also known for its back patio, featuring a wall where Blackbird grows its own herbs and spices for use behind the bar. Along with drinking, they also take the community part of their name seriously, hosting events almost every night. Come out on Monday nights and meet the players in the Miami bar scene when Blackbird Ordinary hosts a weekly Industry Night. Also of note, Tuesday Ladies’ Night where two X-chromosomes will score you free drinks from 8 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.
Local tip: Try the Larry Bird for a guaranteed good time: Irish whiskey, ginger and mint syrup, and a dash of chocolate bitters.
729 SW First Avenue
Miami, FL 33130