Happy hour in Miami is not about cheapness. Yes, quality establishments drop their prices on drinks and food in order to lure people in during normally slow hours, but no, this is Miami. You won't get away with mere cheapness, or not for long anyway. The Magic ciity has been known for it's vibrant nightlife; Clubs in Miami are amongst the best in the world! in fact, Miami hotels invented the 'party traveling' model of combining hotel and nightclub way before Vegas was Vegas. As the popularity of the city grew so did the expectations of it's visitors and for the past 20 years Miami Beach, Midntown Miami, and most recently, Wynwood and the design district have become food and drink powerhouses. The Miami foodie is a sophisticated creature with an international palate and a fierce hunger: PBRs and pretzels will get you nowhere. So what we offer here is a short list of happy hour spots in the Miami area, that focuses on quality and not on price. Having said that, this list is also offered in a descending order of what the editors feel constitutes a great happy hour deal. If you happen to walk away from one of these establishments with a full belly and a fat wallet, we wouldn't be at all surprised, but here they are:
Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company
Sweet Liberty is located in the Collins Park area alongside the Bass Art Museum. In one sense, Sweet Liberty is your neighborhood bar, with a menu of excellent edibles, mostly American cuisine, mostly under $20. Sweet Liberty is the brainchild of barmen John Lermayer and Dan Binkiewicz, along with restaurateur David Martinez, and the kitchen is run by Halid Quiroz, protege of chef Michelle Bernstein, so your $20 gets you pretty far here. Sweet Liberty's happy hour runs daily from 4 to 7 p.m. Four craft beers on tap, three champagnes, five wines, but what the buzz is really about is the $5 Moscow Mules, $5 Old Fashioneds, and $5 rose on tap. And what do you do with that stuff? Wash down oysters, of course: Sweet Liberty's oysters are selected fresh daily, and cost $.75 cents apiece – not even a full American dollar! Sweet. These and more make Sweet Liberty one of the best Miami Beach cocktail bars.
The News Lounge
The News Lounge is located on Miami's Upper East Side, and Happy Hour is from 5 to 9 p.m. every day. Deals include four domestic draft beers at $3, five craft beers on draft and nine bottled, various (reasonable!) prices. A choice of 10 different wines at $5. Want it fancy? Leblon cachaca caiprinha, caipiroska, dirty martini, lychee martini, all $6 each, 10 specialty cocktails for $12. Great eats, including brushetta for $3, empanadas at $3.50 each, ceviche avocado or tuna avocado, $5. Hummus, chicken skewers, meatballs, salmon phyllo roll, or stuffed cherry peppers, your choice, all $4 apiece. A long list, and we ain't got all day.
Tamarina is a pretty posh Italian ristorante that serves the Brickell district. Happy hour at Tamarina happens Mondays from 4:30 to midnight, Tuesday through Friday, from 4:30 to 8 p.m., and Sunday, from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. The vini list is pretty short but molto bene: Falanghina, Cupani, $5; Corvina, Tenuta Sant'Antonio, , $5; Rose, Fattoria Sardi, $5; Ca del Bosco, Franciacorta, $10. Prefer birre? Birra Moretti, $4, Stella Artois, also $4, just don't get a birre belli. Raw bar treats include shrimp cocktail, $5, salmon tartare $7. Oysters half off, and you get to decide which half. Antipasti deals include calmari fritti, bruschetta, shoestring zucchini, and breadsticks, your choice, $7.
Traymore Restaurant and Bar
Looking for happiness? Perhaps you'll find your bliss at the Traymore, a Miami Beach restaurant/bar, with a happy hour that happens each and every day from 5 to 7, and 10 to 11 p.m. It's a beautiful, historic restaurant, pre-war décor and a lot of swell art on the walls, all white and gold and shiny. What else is happy here? Happy hour deals – pardon us, “Social Hour” deals – include gin-and-tonics for $6, selected from your choice of 30+ artisanal gins, both foreign and domestic. Beers for $5, cocktails for $10, house liquor $8, wines $8 too. Hungry? The Traymore serves conch fritters ($6), oyster vodka batter "Po Boy" slider ($6), chicken croquettes with piquillo pepper sauce ($4), and Cuban sandwich ($5).
Happy Hour at Wood Tavern happens Tuesday through Saturday, from 5 to 8 p.m. It's located in the Wynwood Arts District, so feel free to wear black clothes with your edgiest shades. Have a seat by one of the picnic tables out back, meet lots of pretty people enjoying the dozen-odd craft beers on tap, many of those from nearby Wynwood Brewery. Don't like beer? Wood Tavern also has a great wine selection. Other deals include free tacos and $5 margaritas on Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. And everything, absolutely everything, is half off.
The Social Club is located on Miami Beach. Happy Hour is from 4 to 7 p.m. daily, and features your choice of 11 draft beers, five of those microbrews, for $5. The wine list includes 13 selections, all $5. Cocktails are $7, and a broad variety of excellent eats (including beer-battered gulf shrimp drizzled in aji amarillo, yum!) from $3 to $8. If you're into pisco, the price goes up $1 every hour, starting at $4 at 4 p.m. A good way to set your watch, especially if you're thirsty and you're particularly fond of pisco.
Lilt Lounge is an airy space located in downtown Miami on the first floor of the EPIC Hotel on the Miami River. The circular bar downstairs at the Lilt has a definite movie quality to it, maybe from some kind of space movie that involves a lot of drinking and eating. Lilt Lounge hosts happy hour Tuesday through Saturday, from 6 to 8 p.m. Drink deals include Laurent Perrier and Taittinger champagne, from $7 to $10. This is a bar with a vast selection of wins, rums, vodkas, gins, champagnes, wines – and six beers. Hm. Well, but they have $1 oysters, which is a very good deal.