3456 North Miami Avenue - Wynwood Arts District
The venue’s decor makes you feel like you’re in someone’s cool underground party. I’m pretty sure all the bartenders are very beautiful ladies, so boys can at least get an eyefull. The venue also features amazing acts from all over constantly, although I suggest researching the act before going, since they vary greatly in music genres. However… they sometimes have a snobby doorman that will look at you as if you stink and there is almost always a $10 cover.
Park in the back and there is a back entrance, there is no sign outside to recognize it but it is right next to Gigi’s restaurant so if you see that just make the next right and park in the lot in the back.
4600 NW 2nd Ave - Wynwood Arts District
This is mostly a wine/piano bar. It’s a great place to go if you want to just relax while sipping on some rare wines & beers and listen to jazz music. It’s a like a watering hole for people that want to seem interesting, but don’t let that hold you back from going. The place has a really great vibe and it’s very non-pretentious.
7221 SW 58 Ave - South Miami
How can I describe this place… well it’s by Sunset Place and very close to UM so you may see a lot of students in there. The best way to describe it would be to say that it is a house with a giant bar in the middle. The stage isn’t elevated, which makes it difficult to see the band play. But to be quite honest whenever there is live music at this venue patrons seem to get lost in the music and dance for themselves so it doesn’t matter.
437 Lincoln Lane - Miami Beach
Buck 15 is one of the few unpretentious bars in Miami Beach. There is never a cover and DJs are sure to keep you dancing. Some people say that it attracts hipsters, and that may be true, but you can’t help but get sucked into the bohemian feeling that everything is good with the world.
It’s located above Ms. Yip and there is never cover. God Bless you in your search for a parking spot at the beach…
297 NW 23rd Street - Wynwood Arts District
It’s a great happy hour spot with delicious tapas and wine. It is great at accomodating big groups in this spot and there is an outdoor sitting area (which may be bad tonight because it will storm). It also features live music on Thursdays & Fridays so you should check it out.
3015 Grand Avenue - Coconut Grove
Um… this place just opened and I’ve been there twice. It’s very big, back in my college days it used to be a full out club so the space is there. However, not many people know about it so I’ve never seen it packed and it still is unpretentious, like most places in the grove. The food is meh… only eat there if you’re starving and the beer selection is decent. Hopefully more live music will get more people to go.
5501 Northeast 2nd Avenue – Little Haiti
How to describe this place… It’s been around for a very long time, and I can’t remember it ever feeling like it was clean, ever. But there is a certain sense of comfort that comes with this dirt. Older people generally frequent it and I’m sure you will never find a yuppie in this place. It oozes out a sense of rock and roll & jazz and drinks are ridiculously cheap. Whether there is a cover or not, truly depends on the night, but parking is free. (Do not pay the homeless men to watch your car, they don’t…)
2826 N Miami Avenue - Wynwood Arts District
I never thought I was cool enough to come to this place, and I’m sure I’m still not, but they are kind enough to let me in.
It’s a mid-size venue where everyone is welcome. There is usually a cover but it is never ridiculous and you will never feel out of place. They usually feature acts from out of town and they specialize on getting amazing DJs to come and play. It’s got two rooms and an outdoor patio.
1306 N Miami Ave - Downtown Miami
Best memory at this place for me was watching Alex Cuba… They actually have a pretty cool stage area that is off to the back, on your left side as you walk in. However sometimes they close that area off and have everyone be in the middle, which is messy… at least if you’re watching a rock band, and it certainly takes away my dance cravings… It’s half outdoors, so dress for a steamy night, also all types of people come here so don’t feel pressured to wear your fanciest cocktail attire, it’s really not necessary.
697 North Miami Avenue - Downtown Miami
Grand Central as a venue… From prior observations I have noticed that Grand Central can be one of those snobby clubs, however this is not always the case. Last time one of my lovely companions was able to get us in because she knew the owner and we honestly had no problems. What if you didn’t know the owner? Well then I would hope you had already bought your ticket, because Grand Central always has a cover and it is often expensive. This is the down side… that, and the fact that there is nothing to eat nearby once you get out sweaty from dancing and starving. The upside is that there is plenty of parking nearby and although it isn’t free, it is never more than $10. There is also plenty of seating and it is really dark, so us ladies don’t have to spend that long on make up! (This may be just a bonus for me… )
2212 sw 8th st - Little Havana
This is place drips of Cuban Melancholy. They specialize in having great Cuban acts perform but they do not discriminate. You can often find local bands performing there and other international acts. It’s a place where both the old and young come and party, I’ve drunkenly fixed all the problems of the world in this place many a times.
1342 Washington Ave - Miami Beach
For those of you that don’t know what Jazid is, it is basically the only cool live music venue left in South Beach. Others have tried to be similar but the truth is that South Beach has been overrun by people that just want to feel important because they got into a club that has a huge line outside. Therefore, business owners have fed the demand by creating such places as Mansion, Cameo, Dream (is that still even open?!), etc. (Rockshop is another venue that is trying to provide a place for rockers at the beach but the verdict is still out on that place). Anyway, back to Jazid, it is a very tiny place located on 13th and Washington Avenue.
Now I’ve lived a ridiculously “pure” life, so I don’t know about certain subjects that most people my age have already mastered, the point is, I’m pretty sure you can get whatever you want in the second floor of Jazid. So if this is your sort of thing, this is your kind of place. I don’t think you can get wild animals to eat, so don’t get too crazy…
Jazid is known for having amazing local acts perform on a regular basis. They’re usually Reggae or Jazz Fusion bands so be prepared to dance, and if you don’t dance just keep drinking, the band is sure to make you shake your hips in no time.
9559 South Dixie Highway - Kendall
It doesn’t really look very promising, I know, but the food has always been banging. It’s also one of the few venues in Kendall and they tend to have Miami’s coolest bands play for them. Think of it as a college bar with a stage.
7295 Biscayne Blvd - Brickell
This is a Bistro, which means it’s not very big. The decor is actually pretty interesting and it has this new “put a bunch of shit on the walls” look. That’s not to say I don’t like it, but expect to see a bunch of retro things that young hipsters love these days. It is a cool place to have a nice little sandwich and watch a showcase.
337 SW 8th Street - Brickell
Pax is a new venue that opened up in early 2011, I heard about it in March and have been only once. I like the mix of different mediums that it provides (live music, cinema, art, etc). Not to mention the free parking and the fact that because it is right under the highway you feel like you’re in a hole in the wall place you discovered yourself.
3480 Main Highway - Coconut Grove
For the major gringos out there this place is VERY Colombian, so if you feel threatened by an overwhelmingly Latin crowd (which I mean, why are you in Miami if that is the case) do not go here. For those of you brave enough to go, this place opened up about a year ago and it is where the old Señor Frog’s used to be in the Grove. It has an cool stage and a second floor with private rooms for parties and a sweet balcony that lets you check out the stage. The food is not great but if you get there for booze and music you’ll be just fine. They’ve tried to charge me a cover but I always bs my way out of it, so I’m sure you can too.
170 NE 38th Street - Wynwood Arts District
I’m not even sure when this place opened, I want to say it was sometime last year. I’m just happy I found it because it’s proven to be a nice little addition to my repertoire of spots. Now, I’ll be frank, I haven’t been there in a while (which might as well be never), but if my memory serves me right, there generally is no cover.
It is a beautiful venue that includes a cool patio with it’s very own billboard. It is slightly bigger than a lounge and it’s equipped with three bars and plenty of seating area. The stage is also raised so it’s easy to view your favorite act.
626 South Miami Avenue - Brickell
TB is Miami’s oldest bar, I used to hear tales of it having the first liquor license ever given in Miami, but I’m not exactly sure the tales are true. It’s also the home of a ridiculously delicious burger. It’s actually split in 4 parts, the main bar/eating area, the upstairs small stage bar, the small patio bar and the parking lot which can be considered a second and bigger patio because that is where they have their biggest stage. They usually have a cover of $5 and parking is $5 as well, so be prepared to spend $10 just to be there.
729 Southwest 1st Avenue - Brickell
I first must explain that this place is like my second home. There isn’t a venue I know as well as Transit. Let’s start with the simple fact that there is almost never a cover and you can never be over or under-dressed for this place. I’ve found people as old as my grandparents and as young as, well the legal age to get in is 21 but I did meet a drunken 18 yr old there one time. (If you ever meet me, you must ask me for the story)
Transit Lounge is constantly featuring the best local acts and has the best drink specials. It is an oasis in the middle of Brickell, where everyone forgets how stuck up and annoying other places can be. (ehem! Club 50…)
I love Transit Lounge so much that I know everything about it. The spots to dance where the a/c (air) will hit you so you don’t sweat as much, the safety pole right in front of the stage that keeps creepers away from you, how no matter what there will always be crazy girls taking pictures in the bathroom… I could go on forever. Transit is the best place to be, and not one person can change my mind on that.
840 Lincoln Road - Miami Beach
This place is confusing, because it looks like a regular Lincoln Road restaurant when you first arrive. To be quite honest it looks like those typical trendy pubs that “everyone” seems to want to go to. However upstairs they have a pretty cozy venue where they usually host some amazing acts. The food is also delicious and all over the place, chances are, whatever you are in the mood for, they have. (Unless it’s something obscure like fava beans from the Brazilian Rainforest)
30 NE 14 Street - Downtown
Vagabond is a very hipster venue downtown. The best place to hang at is probably their outside patio, which includes a fountain that mixes water and fire. Again, as all my favorite venues they allow everyone in. Usually this venues features more DJs than live music, but they do invite full bands to play from time to time. There is a cover on most nights although it varies in price and the bonus is that parking around there is pretty much free.