By: Dana Rozansky and Rebecca Charur
When people think of Miami’s nightlife, they often think of gaudy nightclubs blaring a mix of Cardi B and reggaeton until the wee hours of the morning. And while there’s certainly plenty of that going on, Miami offers so much more than meets the eye.
As our city continues to grow and evolve, so does our bar scene…and I AM HERE FOR IT. So let’s talk about the “cool factor” that sets some bars apart from others. The basics: Eye-catching décor, great ambiance, delicious cocktails, fun music. But aside from those things, there’s something to be said for a place that’s a bit hidden, a tad more exclusive, a place that you’d only know about if you’re in the know.
Here’s where the ‘speakeasy’ concept comes into play. These bars naturally achieve said cool factor because they’re anything but mainstream. Think hidden entrances, no signage, non-descript doors and quirky passwords that will grant you entrance.
As always, we want to make sure you’re in the know, so we decided to round up a few of our fave hidden bars and speakeasies for you.
AMA Design District
Tucked behind Brad Kilgore’s newest restaurant, Kaido, AMA is a hidden Japanese inspired drinking den that’s a sight for sore eyes. You’ll be transported from Kaido into a small, stunning bar with a blue and gold shimmering floor, vintage Japanese gaming machines and a sprawling bar stocked with high-end Japanese whiskeys. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a few fancy cocktails or indulge in AMA’s signature 16-course ‘ama-kase’ experience, one thing’s for sure: you’re going to be ama-zed.
Los Altos Little Havana
Located directly above an unassuming taco spot on Calle Ocho lies a cool Mexican speakeasy called Los Altos. First, you’ll be guided upstairs where you’ll find yourself standing in a Mexican candy shop…but instead of telling the shopkeeper what type of candy you want, you’ll naturally ask for tequila. Once she hears the magic word, a door will open and you’ll step into a lively bar filled with an energetic crowd, fun décor and inventive cocktails.
The Tea Room at the East Hotel Brickell
Hidden away in the wall by the oh-so important women’s bathroom, The Tea Room brings an added element of sleek sophistication to the already impressive rooftop bar, Sugar. After entering through the wall, you can either lounge by the bar surrounded by 180 degree city views or sit down for an Asian Night Brunch. Yes, it’s a thing and it’s amazing. Priced at $88++ per person, the two-hour dining experience encourages you to select one dish from each category offered on the five-course tasting menu and pair it with your choice of champagne, wine, beer or sake.
Shh Lounge Miami Beach
If you’ve never been to the Franklin Hotel, that might change with newcomer Shh Lounge. And it will even have you hitting the books before entering. At the end of a hallway, you’ll come across a book shelf guarded by a bouncer. To enter, pull the green book and the door will open to a bar and lounge that merges the sophistication of South Beach with a grunge New York City alleyway. But remember: Shh it’s a secret.
Bodega South Beach
If you like to hit the town in Miami, you’ve likely stumbled into Bodega for a taco or a margarita (or seven). So while it’s not necessarily Miami’s best-kept secret, it still remains one of our favorite ‘hidden bars’ in the 305. What appears to be a casual taco shop in the front is just a little pregame for the party in the back. Once you walk through the port-o-potty door, you’ll find yourself inside one of Miami’s most fun bars. Awesome music, ‘grammable wall art, solid margs and overall good vibes.