Don’t deny it, you’ve seen the celebrities featured on E! and Access Hollywood casually sipping drinks and looking oh-so-chic at one South Beach club or another. While you may not actually spot one of those celebrities, (unless you’re willing to shell out big bucks for the VIP rooms), you can party like one in Miami Beach. It’s easy – South Beach isn’t that big, and can be traversed in a taxi or on foot if you’re wearing comfortable shoes. Remember to pace yourself – most clubs remain open until 5 a.m., so you may want to take a shot of some strong Cuban café con leche before venturing out.
It's also a good idea to avoid looking like a tourist by dressing in chic clothes and mapping out your night ahead of time. Always carry at least one credit card and ample cash. While most places accept both, there are still the good old fashioned cash-only spots and the newfangled bars that are paperless.
Getting Around South Beach
If walking or driving doesn’t appeal to you, consider taking the South Beach Nightclub Shuttle. For around $50 per person, you get door-to-door service from your hotel to the club of your choice that includes the club entrance fee. The shuttle will then pick you up at 4 a.m. and bring you back to your hotel, hassle-free. Another plus: you don’t have to wait in line at the club. There's also the option to use Uber or Lyft. Within the beach, you can get a ride quickly and you can even upgrade to black car with either service.
Ocean Drive Nightlife
Miami Beach visitors flock to Ocean Drive, the always-packed catwalk that hugs the Atlantic Ocean and is the place to see and be seen. There is no shortage of great bars, clubs, and restaurants on this famous 15-block stretch.
One of the most well-known spots on Ocean Drive is the Clevelander, a landmark hotel and bar. Famous for having a pool in the middle of the front patio, guests commonly dangle their feet or even dive right into the pool at this haute hangout. It’s also a perfect example of Art Deco architecture, in case you care enough to rip your eyes away from the beautiful people lounging around. Contests and events are held almost every weekend. (1020 Ocean Dr.).
Another fun Ocean Drive hot spot is Mango’s Tropical Café. This is a U.S. version of Havana clubs of days past: salsa bands, sexy dancers in tight leopard-print hot pants, frothy tropical drinks and a boisterous, lively atmosphere. A menu and sidewalk seating is also available. (900 Ocean Dr.).
For the clubgoers who truly want to see and be seen, you can't beat Nikki Beach Miami. Situated directly on the beach (hence the name) Nikki Beach serves up seafood and craft cocktails to the rich and famous. If you're looking for something slightly more subdued, head upstairs to the Pearl Champagne Lounge. This upscale lounge is best known for serving champagne along with snacks and small plates in a bright, calming setting. (1 Ocean Dr.)
If learning how to dance salsa is on your Miami must-do list, there's no better place to learn all the right moves than Salsa Mia. Welcoming dancers of all levels, the instructors are upbeat and the atmosphere is more like a party than a dance rehearsal. (900 Ocean Dr.)
Washington Avenue Nightlife
Running parallel to Ocean Drive (and just two blocks away) is Washington Avenue. This is another clubbing hotspot, with bars and dance clubs opening and closing with alarming frequency. You can stroll down Washington and pick your own watering hole, but two spots stand out.
If you're looking to party hardy, Rockwell might be the place for you. Buying bottles and a VIP table could cost thousands, but it's a guaranteed good time. Check the club's website for an event schedule that includes hip hop and house DJs and variety galore.
Another fun club on Washington Ave. is CAMEO, a huge space with six bars and, of course, a VIP area with bottle service. Celebrities, models, athletes, and influencers are often found here, partying it up and dancing to hip hop and a variety of music. What was once a theater built in 1936 has over 80 years of history, including when it was a punk and hardcore music venue in the 1980s.
For a truly wild Miami experience, head to Twist. With seven different bars, multiple DJs and drag queens this gay club is the best place to keep things lively until early morning. (1057 Washington Ave.)