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Miami Nightlife

Bella Rose
423 16th Street
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 305 673 8634
www.bellarosemiami.com

Bella Rose's Sunday-night bash is a more locals-driven alternative to Nikki Beach's tourist-heavy scene. The dark South Beach lounge is filled with transvestites, models teetering in vertiginous heels, and a "murderer" on the loose to make for a glam goth vibe. Party producer Lex Mincolla is on a mission to "kill" one club-goer every week, with all the gory (fake) action filmed in stop-motion animation in the club's bathroom and turned into a cult phenom on YouTube the following week. Thursday nights are themed Thuggery (think old-school hip-hop and 32-ounce beers), while Friday and Saturdays are more straightforward with dancing to '80s hits. And even though it's in the midst of South Beach's high-rolling club scene, this is definitely not the place to go for bottle service.

Open Thursdays through Sundays 11 pm to 5 am.

Buck 15
707 Lincoln Lane
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 305 534 5488
www.buck15.com

Buck 15 occupies the upper floor of popular Asian restaurant Miss Yip's on Lincoln Road, but setting is more akin to a friend's basement than a South Beach nightclub. Vintage velvet lounge chairs are scattered about, and aquarium-like rectangular windows lined with low banquette couches peer onto the street below. Graffiti covers the walls, and metal rafters webbing the ceiling are the perfect place to perch your beverage as the DJ spins long-forgotten AC/DC, Erasure, and Bon Jovi hits. The crowd consists of local musicians, Russian models in jeans and sneakers, and Scandinavians on shore leave from the big cruise ships. Besides lacking typical South Beach pretensions, Buck 15 never hits you with a cover charge.

Open Tuesdays through Sundays 10 pm to 5 am.

Democratic Republic of Beer
255 N.E. 14th Street
Miami , Florida
33132
Tel: 305 372 4565
drb@drbmiami.com
www.drbmiami.com

Just what downtown Miami's nightlife scene needed—that's the universal refrain about the Democratic Republic of Beer, which opened to the hops-happy public in October 2009. The owners (two friends who met on Miami's hospitality scene) shared a common love for exotic beers that couldn't be quenched—so they built their own temple to the cause and stocked it with more than 400 types of beer. The perpetually updated menu includes everything from Bulgarian, Haitian, and Polish brews to Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, which costs about 20 times as much as the $2.50 Pabst Blue Ribbon. And in true egalitarian spirit, you can vote online for the house favorite, which is the only beer they keep on tap. The food offerings, such as bangers and mash, chicken tikka masala, and tilapia en papillote, are as worldly as the brews. The DRB's unlikely location, in a cinder-block building across the street from the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, adds color to the clientele: At night, the crowd morphs from pretheater patrons to tattooed and pierced sound crews; journalists wander over from the nearby Miami Herald building, and artsy types come hither from the nearby Design District. In addition to the granite bar, banquette couches, and small tables that line the narrow interior, a couch and a few tables are usually pulled onto the sidewalk, adding a retro-chic yard sale vibe to the fun, casual atmosphere.—Terry Ward

Open daily 5 pm to 5 am.

Gay Nightlife
Miami Beach , Florida

Although South Beach has a huge gay population and draws a lot of gay tourists from all over, much of the nightlife has actually migrated north to Fort Lauderdale. But there are still a few homo hot spots on the Beach. For daytime, join the refreshingly diverse crowd for drink specials at the Palace restaurant and bar, just opposite the gay beach at 12th Street (1200 Ocean Dr., South Beach; 305-531-7234; www.palacesouthbeach.com). Come evening, watch the locals strut along Lincoln Road from an outdoor table at video bar Score. Weekends are livelier, when big-name DJs play inside; Saturday is lesbian night in the upstairs lounge (727 Lincoln Rd., South Beach; 305-535-1111; www.scorebar.net). Halo Lounge, just off Lincoln, attracts a young, good-looking crowd of locals and visitors with its white decor, creative cocktails, and a lighting system that bathes the walls in pinks and blues (1625 Michigan Ave., South Beach; 305-534-8181; www.haloloungemiami.com). Sundays belong to Click at Aero Bar, where a rotating roster of DJs and promoters host the boys in two futuristically designed rooms (247 23rd St., South Beach; 305-674-1110; www.aerobarmiami.com). Then there's the old standby, Twist, a friendly, labyrinthine bar with two dance floors, seven bars, video screens, and even a garden out back; go-go boys and drag queens perform regularly throughout the week (1057 Washington Ave., South Beach; 305-538-9478; www.twistsobe.com). For the latest listings, check out SoBeSocialClub.com.

Glass
432 41st Street
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33140
Tel: 305 604 9798
www.theforge.com

Eurotrashy, big-boobed lovelies adore the been-there-forever Forge restaurant and the permatanned locals who fill it. The club space next door is equally jet-set glam: Once the site of Jimmy'z, run by Parisian nightlife guru Regine, it has morphed into a slick lounge/club called Glass. The renovation was helmed by local designer Alison Spear, who doused the place in white and added overstuffed leather sofas and contemporary art as an upscale distraction. Best nights: Wednesdays, when one of the Beach's longest running promoters, Michael Capponi, lures in his posse of multilingual millionaire types, and Saturdays, a lively house-heavy night.

Mansion
1235 Washington Avenue
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 305 531 5535
www.mansionmiami.com

Sure, it opened in February 2004—a generation ago in nightlife years—but this movie theater-turned-nightclub is still packing in upscale clubbers each weekend. In part, it's due to the setting: a 40,000-square-foot superclub with six VIP areas, six bars, and a very large dance floor that allows it to cater to different tastes and crowds simultaneously. (You may have known its previous incarnations as Level, Glam Slam, Club Z, Paragon, and 1235.) The other reason the A-list crowd is still dancing here? Its music policy is as selective as the velvet rope, which lures producers like Pharrell Williams and Scott Storch to decompress here after a long day in local studios; they often bring with them the artists, such as Paris Hilton, for whom they've been knob-twiddling.

Open Wednesday through Saturday 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Mokaï
235 23rd Street
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 305 531 4166
www.mokaimiami.com

Miami Beach's 23rd Street is shaping up to be the buzzy new drag, thanks to the Gansevoort South and upcoming W hotels at the beachfront end. In the meantime, there's a new club from nightlife king Nicola Siervo, who's had an unbroken decade-long reign at the top of Miami Beach's scene (Bang, Bar None, Joia, Mynt). Mokaï—inexplicably named after a huge canyon in New Zealand—is a VIP-only bolthole with just 22 tables. It's decked out with huge alligator-, iguana-, and crocodile-leather sofas; sterling silver tables; and a space-age, ultramodern custom lighting system. Expect a hyperselective crowd and a tough door policy. But if you book a table for bottle service, the bouncers may just let you through the door.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Purdy Lounge
1811 Purdy Avenue
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 305 531 4622
www.purdylounge.com

Escape the modelizers and $15 cocktails at this locals' lounge on the west side of the island. It's a groovy, laid-back, late-night (till 5 a.m. daily) spot with a pool table, board games, and plenty of comfortable chairs. The decor is an industrial riff on a comfy parlor, with metal wall sconces and overstuffed armchairs. There's free, live Reggae music on Monday nights and DJ-spun Indie rock on Tuesday.

Open 3 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

SET
320 Lincoln Road
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 305 531 2800
www.setmiami.com

Sister to megaclub Mansion, SET is located on a grimy, bus-choked block of Lincoln Road, but inside, it's fun and glitzy with refreshingly loud music—reviving a party-like-it's-1992 scene, when South Beach was first emerging. (The bank-breaking bottle service is the only difference.) The main floor, with its four enormous handmade Swarovski chandeliers, is usually pumping with house; upstairs at the front is another bar in a smaller room that plays to a hip-hop crowd. Of course, the best place to be is with owners Roman Jones, Francis Milon, and brother Eric Milon, a former GQ cover model, in the VIP room: The 20-person hideaway behind a two-way mirror above the bar is like a clubby lodge, with overstuffed leather chairs and hunting trophies.

Open Thursdays through Saturdays.

Skybar
Shore Club
1901 Collins Avenue
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
33139
Tel: 786 276 6772
www.shoreclub.com

If you have the magic open-sesame black card, this playland at the Shore Club hotel is all yours; otherwise, prepare to dress up and posture at the velvet ropes. Once inside, you have your choice of settings: lounging by the pool on Moroccan cushions with a glass of one of 75 rums from the Rumbar; on a rattan chair in the Sandbar (the sand is brought in from the beach); or in the Redroom, the inner sanctum with its all-ruby interior and lighting, punctuated by candles.

The Vagabond
30 N.E. 14th Street
Miami , Florida
33132
Tel: 305 379 0508
www.thevagabondmiami.com

More Lower East Side than South Beach, this mainland venue with a worthy music lineup is a showplace for youthful, exuberant Design District cool. Artists, hipsters, and rockers in skinny jeans descend on the two lounge areas and large back patio to dance with reckless abandon to the beats laid down by resident DJs such as legend John Digweed (who's also one of the owners), Lee Burridge, Little Louie Vega, and Hercules and Love Affair. Classic hip-hop and $1 bottles of Colt 45 fuel the Thursday party. Indie acts such as the Postmarks and King Khan & the Shrines play live on Fridays. And Saturdays are hosted by Back Door Bamby—one of Miami's longest-running underground parties. A cover charge kicks in after 11 pm on Fridays ($5) and Saturdays ($10); tickets for the bigger live acts vary in price and can be purchased through Wanttickets.com.

White Room
1306 N. Miami Avenue
Miami , Florida
33136
Tel: 305 995 5060
www.whiteroommiami.com

Beyond its bamboo-fenced entry, White Room opens into a motor lodge–esque courtyard with cabanas clad in white curtains and lounge furniture. Unfortunately, they open to a skyward view of caged AC units, telephone wires, and billboards. But the crowd of Latin American club scene devotees and fashion mavens don't seem to mind. Alterna-types sporting skinny jeans and designer sneakers gravitate to the back dance room, where electronic remixes and Euro pop bounce off convex mirrored walls and a stage beckons would-be pole dancers. A smaller cavelike lounge swathed in red light located off the courtyard lures a slightly older crowd with drum-and-bass beats that reverberate off the walls. Revelers circulate between the two dance rooms, catching their breath in the cabanas or ordering a cocktail at the alfresco bar before drifting reverie-like between the worlds of lounge and dance party. Saturday's PopLife parties (largely considered the party that shaped Miami's underground scene) have garnered a cult following. The Design District club also hosts several prime parties during Art Basel.

Open nightly from 10 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.