From the prototypical South Beach nightlife experience to luxurious hotel hotspots frequented by the locals, Miami’s scene of rooftop bars runs the gamut. In the mood to dance the night away? Or do you prefer a laid-back lounge scene? We’ve got you covered with these seven al fresco bars in the sky.
1. Classic South Beach Experience on Ocean Drive
Party-goers flock to the shores of South Beach to participatein the 24/7 nonstop festivities. Who are we kidding–that’s what Sobe is famous for. And if that’s the scene you’re after, then look no further than the C-Level Rooftop Terrace at the Clevelander Hotel on famed Ocean Drive. Expect DJs spinning pulsating beats, bikini-clad tourists tossing back shot after shot and an oceanfront party that lasts long after the sun goes down. You might even see a fire-breathing stilt walker. Hey, it’s South Beach.
Insider Tips: If you want everyone to knowyou’re from out of town (and almost everyone here is), then order a frozen Miami Vice. Otherwise you’ll fit in rather well if you opt for a Cuban-inspired Mojito. The Cleverlander is located at 1020 Ocean Drive and the rooftop opens to the general public at 7 p.m. Pre-party at the downstairs bar for a Spring Break-style atmosphere before heading up to the C-Level Rooftop Terrace for the 360-degree views.
2. Throwback Glam-Inspired Atmosphere on Collins Avenue
Throw back a few cocktails and recite your favorite Scarface movie quotes atop this Studio-54 style rooftop lounge. HIGHBAR at Dream South Beach is all about paying homage to the Art Deco architecture and glamour of Miami Beach. A favorite spot for vacationers, the rooftop has a daily 2 for 1 happy hour from 5 to 8 p.m. (yes, weekends, too). Cabanas are available for rent and so are hookahs that come with a menu of tropical tobacco flavors like Watermelon Breeze and Pirate’s Cave.
Insider Tips: Order the Naked Taco Signature Red Sangria, inspired by the Mexican restaurant downstairs called the Naked Taco — which, by the way, is a great place to eat before or after you party the night away at HIGHBAR. Dream South Beach is located at 1111 Collins Avenue, located about 50 yards from the beach and within walking distance to the Clevelander (if you want to hit up both spots).
3. A High-End Romantic Favorite on Lincoln Road
Completely switching scenes, but staying on South Beach, Juvia is a swanky, fine-dining oasis situated atop the Herzog & de Meuron designed parking garage on pedestrian-friendly Lincoln Road. And just to be clear: this is not your average parking garage. Think sharp, zig-zagging columns stacked like a collection of concrete sculptures. Enter the restaurant via a private elevator and at the top you’ll marvel at the jaw-dropping views that stretch from one end of Miami Beach to the other, with the glistening water of the Atlantic Ocean in the background.
Insider Tips: Ditch your touristy South Beach T-shirt before you come here or you will stick out . . . in a bad way. A favorite spot for well-heeled locals, you’ll want to dress to the nines to fit in. And to get a table, you’ll need to make reservations. But if you’re up for a drink at the bar (and we suggest the Purple Rain cocktail), then you can just show up, but get there early if you want a seat. Juvia is located at 1111 Lincoln Road and opens at 6 p.m. for dinner.
4. Hidden Gem with Killer Water Views on Brickell Avenue
Perched atop the Conrad Miami hotel on Brickell Avenue, The Bar at LVL 25 isn’t quite as well known as some of the other rooftops on this list, but that’s something you can use to your advantage. Until the word gets out, easily score an outside bar table and enjoy the impressive views (day or night) facing east to Biscayne Bay. Happy hour runs from 4 to 7 p.m.
Insider Tips: Right now the scene is more of a corporate crowd, but that could all change once the Miami socialites find out about the Veuve Cliquot champagne specials: $50 for a bottle at 5 p.m., $60 at 6 p.m. and so on. The Bar at LVL 25 at Conrad Miami is located at 1395 Brickell Avenue on the 25th floor.
5. Laid-Back Luxury in an Urban Setting at the Four Seasons
Another favorite spot for locals to sip on handcrafted cocktails and nosh on delicious, farm-to-table eats, Edge Steak & Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami offers a mellow-meets-urban vibe on the luxurious, open-air rooftop terrace. Breeze passed the lavish indoor section and head outdoors for the comfy lounge area with overstuffed love seats surrounding a fire pit. There’s a great selection of happy hour specials that run from 4 to 7 p.m. every day of the week.
Insider Tips: You can get away with either resort-wear chic or business casual at this al fresco eatery. No need for reservations if you shimmy up to the bar or the fire pit lounge area. For something different, order a Moscow Mule and a selection of tapas. Have a sweet tooth? Ask for the s’more-making kit and roast marshmallows by the fire. Edge Steak and Bar is located at 1435 Brickell Avenue on the 7th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel.
6. Downtown’s Hottest Rooftop Bar Scene is at the EPIC Hotel
This downtown Miami rooftop terrace is a place to see and be seen. Featuringa DJ spinning house music, an extensive cocktail menu and a posh poolside atmosphere, Area 31 at the EPIC Hotel is a big hit with the locals. On Fridays “chase the clock” with $5 drinks and bar bites at 5 p.m., $6 at 6 p.m., $7 at 7 p.m. and so on until closing.
Insider Tips: Dress to impress and bring your camera to capture stunning shots of the Miami skyline. While Fridays are the biggest nights, this is a great place to check out any night of the week. Regular happy specials on Monday through Thursday include $7 drinks from 5 to 8 p.m. Area 31 is located at 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way on the 16th floor of the EPIC Hotel.
7. A High-Energy Dance Club on the 50th Floor at the Viceroy
They don’t call it FIFTY Miami Ultra Lounge for nothing. Miami’s most exclusive lookout point is literally perched on the 50th floor of the super sexy Viceroy hotel. You won’t get views like this anywhere else. It’s like a feast for the senses . . . and the eyes. Think models and bottles. Miami’s best DJs keep a lively dance party going until the wee hours of the morning. This is a popular spot for both hip-hop and house music.
Insider Tips: Your best shot at getting past the velvet ropes? Book a reservation for a VIP table with bottle service. Or get there early and slip some cash to the bouncer. And don’t forget to dress the part. FIFTY Miami Ultra Lounge is located at 484 Brickell Avenue on the 50th floor of the Viceroy.
All photos by Kara Franker.