Miami's hottest bars are hidden in plain sight. Here's where you need to go if you want to be in the know.
Tears were shed when Bardot, one of Miami’s most beloved hot spots, shuttered its doors. But the co-founders of Beaker & Gray quickly mended our broken hearts with Boombox Miami, an underground lounge that took over the venue’s space. But don’t expect flashing lights—Boombox Miami is keeping with the whole “you only know if you know” theme. And if you know, well, then you’re in for a treat. A black subway-tiled hallway deposits you into the 3,400-square-foot lounge, where the cool kids drink The Longest Island Iced Tea and Lemon Drop the Mic cocktails and face off at a game of pool while jamming to live music. 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami, boomboxmiami.com
Shh Lounge has a secret—can you keep it? Good. Then head to the Franklin Hotel, where you’ll find an inconspicuous bookshelf. Didn’t want to read on your big night out? Don’t fret. Press the right book (we can’t tell you which one, obviously, but there may or may not be a bouncer who can help you tap the right tome), and the shelves will open to a dark (but #LIT) room with graffitied walls, neon signs that say things we can’t print (but you’ll want to see) and a DJ manning the ones and twos over a giant Waste Management dumpster—yes, you read that right. Order the Secret Seduction (Belvedere Vodka, infused grapefruit, Cointreau, vanilla and grenadine) to stay in theme. It’s weird and it’s awesome and you want to go there ASAP. 860 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, shhlounge.com
Kaido is everything we’d expect from Bradley Kilgore. The James Beard-nominated chef's take on Japanese street food is innovative, exciting and downright delicious. But Kilgore gave us an added bonus with Ama—a secret bar named after the Japanese tradition of pearl diving. You can only access Ama with a special reservation and will need to be escorted in by management. But once inside, the space is a wonderland of tastes (Kilgore produces an experimental omakase menu for Ama), sights (portraits of ama divers who are mostly female and all badass line the walls) and sounds (on the night we were there, Biggie blasted from the speakers). Adding to the fun, Kilgore has installed vintage pachinko machines for your gaming pleasure. You exit Ama through the kitchen, where you'll catch a final glimpse of Kilgore, who delivers the knowing smile of a man who has just given you an unforgettable night out in Miami. 151 NE 41st St., Miami, kaidomiami.com
Photography by: BOOMBOX PHOTO COURTESY OF BOOMBOX MIAMI; SHH LOUNGE PHOTO BY WORLD RED EYE; PACHINKO MACHINES PHOTO COURTESY OF AMA AT KAIDO