While massive EDM parties rage this month, there are wonderful smaller bars throughout Miami in which to take refuge.
The bar at Public House is a local and gem and welcome respite during the winter music madness.
Like Art Basel Miami Beach for audiophiles, the week of Winter Music Conference and Ultra Music Festival has morphed into a musical melée that has every scenester from Las Vegas to Berlin looking for a piece of the action. But even the most ravenous ragers among us sometimes need a smaller, more intimate venue in which to relax.
Like the Cheers of South of Fifth, Public House gets back to the basics with straightforward drinks, a bar lined with locals, and an atmosphere that combines the rustic elements of a surfer saloon with the coziness of your dad’s basement. Seven days a week, regulars and weekend warriors sip one of 25 brews, beat their high scores on a pinball machine, and jam out to jukebox tunes ranging from country to classic ’80s anthems. Co-owner Jaycen Cochran has only two rules: “No smoking and no club music.” 423 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, 305-763-8109
At Batch Gastropub in Brickell, master mixologists play mad scientist, pre-batching cocktails in nitrogen-enriched kegs before they’re served up draft style. “We’re constantly experimenting with house-infused spirits—jar after jar of strawberry shortcake vodka, jalapeño pineapple tequila, pecan whiskey,” says restaurant operator Kurt Ditzler. “It’s straight out of Breaking Bad.” A warmly industrial décor features a glass garage-door-style façade, tufted leather banquettes, and exposed piping. Riffs on classic tavern fare include chili-glazed chicken wings with blue cheese espuma and pork pot roast served with a sous-vide egg. 30 SW 12th St., Miami, 305-808-5555
Rose Bar, the gem of a cocktail den at the Delano, tips its hat to the past with its timeless cocktail list and Art Deco décor. Warm woods, rose-upholstered walls, and prismatic Venetian chandeliers seem to slow down time as head bartender Bernie Waters mixes a spectrum of concoctions sophisticated enough to satisfy an international palate. “Many of the cocktails we consider classic were created to mask the taste of poor-quality alcohol,” Waters says. “Today, we’re fortunate to pay homage to those favorites with truly top-notch ingredients.” 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-674-5752
A canopy of globe lights strung over communal tables beckon wanderers into The Butcher Shop, a beer garden-grill hybrid hidden on a nondescript street in Wynwood. On the patio, bartenders sling craft brews, shots of flavored moonshine, and martinis ornamented with olives stuffed in-house. Inside the former warehouse space, a 24-foot meat case showcases the stuff of a carnivore’s dream: duck sausage, lamb and feta burgers, USDA Prime Black Angus beef, and mettwurst the German employees of Fred Niznik fondly call “the closest thing to home.” 165 NW 23rd St., Miami, 305-846-9120
Do Not Sit on the Furniture is the antithesis to South Beach’s “models and bottles” mentality, a space where DJs are free to spin deep house, techno, funk, and nudisco nightly from a custom analog sound system. “Tables take up too much room,” says owner and DJ/ producer BehrouzNazari. “You play music to dance, not to sit and show off the Champagne you bought.” In-the-know locals booty shake into the early morning underneath a giant disco ball UFO, surrounded by revelers who share their passion for quality sound. 423 16th St., Miami Beach, 305-450-3809
At Area 31, located on the 16th floor of the Epic Hotel, heavy hitters escape the chaos of the Brickell Financial District in favor of sweeping skyline views, seafood from the waters of the UN-designated sustainability region Area 31, and a refreshing cocktail program by lead bartender Dean Feddaoui. The restaurant’s chic outdoor terrace, which Feddaoui describes as “steps from Ultra, but miles away in vibe,” invites an urbane crowd to soak up views of Biscayne Bay while appreciating the modern twists on caipirinhas, margaritas, and mojitos. 270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami, 305-424-5234