- The Catalina Hotel on South Beach has a free happy hour from 7pm-8pm. All well drinks are free, so throw ‘em down before dinner.
- Miami restaurant hot spots ($$$$) are: Joe’s Stone Crab (now in season if you like crabs), Prime 112 (steak), Nobu (japanese), and Barton G’s (high end continental with great presentations)
- A Fish Called Avalon is right on Ocean drive and has really great seafood. If you can sit outside, they have a great live band and is also great for people watching.
- Walk around Lincoln Road for lunch/dinner. Menus are all outside and many times the owners come up and try to convince you to eat at their restaurant. Just go for the type of food you want and/or the best people watching spot. Make sure to catch some street performers.
- On the way, stop by Espanola Way just before 15th street (if you’re heading north) between Washington and Drexel. There is a great Spanish tapas restaurant on the corner called Tapas and Tintos.
- Late night food: Best sandwich I have had on Sobe (and maybe ever) is from La Sandwicherie on 14th and Washington. It’s open until 6am.
- The nicest part of the beach (not sure where your hotel is) is up by 15th and ocean or down by 1st, 2nd. If you’re down by 2nd, make sure to stop by the famous south beach establishment Big Pink’s for whatever type of food you can imagine because they’ve got it all.
- Wet Willie’s is an icecream shop for frozen alcoholic beverages. Do it! At least once. As the great Ludacris says “if you wit me ain’t no time to sleep, especially at Wet Willie’s on Miami Beach.”
- Jazid has great live music
- The Room is a great little bar with an amazing selection of beer on tap. Then head to Primo’s pizza for the best slice on SoBe.
- In terms of clubs, as I was leaving school in May 2010, the hot new clubs Liv and Louis. Liv is the most exclusive. Set is also really cool. Mansion is the big ticket. I’ve also been to Cameo. These are both huge, impersonal clubs, but if you just want to dance you’ll have a good time. There will be promoters trying to drag you into their clubs, and a lot of times they can get you in at a reduced cover, if that’s something you want.
- My favorite restaurant (both for the food and value) is Perricone’s in Brickell. Perhaps one night, make a reservation to sit in their outside deck where they sometimes will open up the roof on a nice night while a jazz band plays from the second floor loft. Really amazing setting.
- Then there are a number of bars where most young professionals hang out at (i.e. Irish Pub, Blue Martini, Tobacco Road (oldest bar in Miami-but not centrally located), and for a great view of Brickell (on the Miami River), head to Waxy O’Connor’s. I would cab to Waxy O’Connor’s though because the neighborhood becomes dicey along the walk.
- If you want an “authentic” Miami club experience, try taking a cab to Gloria Estefan’s Bongos (it’s close to the American Airlines Arena). It’s more of a Latin crowd, along with Segafredo’s in Brickell.
- The best Cuban food I know of is Havana Harry’s (located by University of Miami) and Versailles if you’re feeling adventurous and want to cab to Calle 8.
MIAMI AT ITS BEST
- Monty’s in Coconut Grove for happy hour (I would suggest going Friday). ½ price drinks and raw bar, tiki set up on Biscayne bay, music, etc. (4pm-8pm)
- Beach at Key Biscayne (South)
- If you happen to be there for a full moon, head up to the beach on 82 and Collins (North Miami Beach) around 10-11pm for the monthly drum circles. it is usually just a random group of people with drums, fire dancers, singing, screaming, whistles, dancing, drugs, booze, and oh-the police generally come and break it up but don’t give too many problems as long as you’re respectful!