The Best Bars In WynwoodWynwood can be a mess, but these bars are our safe haven.
We have complicated feelings about Wynwood. Over the last decade, the (at one point in time) unique arts district has been almost comically over-developed. It has since morphed into less of a cultural epicenter, and more of the place where the most annoying people you know go to drink way too much. That said, there are still good things in Wynwood—like some of Miami's best restaurants and also these bars, which are the few remaining places we still actually like to drink in the neighborhood.
photo credit: Courtesy Higher Ground
Higher Ground is a cocktail bar inside a hotel that, depending on which night you go, is either a great place to hide from the chaotic nightlife of Wynwood, or partake in a more sophisticated version of it. The cocktail bar is broken up into three different rooms (one of which has a pool table). And there’s also an outdoor deck that feels like a rooftop even though it’s not technically on the roof. The cocktails are very good, and—whether for a relaxed weekday drink or a crowded Saturday night party—Higher Ground should be in your Wynwood bar rotation.
Dante’s HiFi is a Wynwood bar and “listening room.” This doesn’t mean that everyone is sitting in silence and listening to music (this is Miami after all, a city incapable of silence). But it does mean that this place has an absolutely spectacular sound system, and a really incredible record collection. DJs take turns spinning songs from that collection, occasionally hopping on the mic to give some context about what they’re playing. And while all this is going on, you can order good cocktails, snack on wasabi peas, and mentally calculate how much money you need to save in order to install these speakers in your own home. Reservations are kind of a necessity, and you can make one online.
Gramps is a time capsule full of everything that made Wynwood exciting before developers tore it to shreds: lots of color, culture, and booze. Inside you’ll find sneaky good cocktails, cold beer, and just the right amount of kitsch. And outside, there’s a tropical kaleidoscope of palm trees and paint, where fantastic DJs, drag (go Thursday night for that), and live music take turns sharing the stage. You can spend a lot of time at Gramps without getting bored, and when you get hungry, they also have the best slice of pizza in Wynwood.
photo credit: Tasty Planet
This wine bar has a spacious outdoor patio that’s great for a breezy night. It’s also located on a backstreet east of North Miami Ave.—a.k.a. the side of Wynwood that isn’t always a complete clusterf*ck. They sometimes have food pop-ups and DJs, but even if it’s a night where nothing in particular is going on, you can still hang out, drink reasonably priced wine, and snack on marinated olives or sliced meats. This is a pretty good first date spot, and also a good option if Lagniappe is too crowded.
Cerveceria is an indoor/outdoor brewery and restaurant big enough to have its own zip code. They have a Cuban/Caribbean menu with things like yucca fries, jerk chicken wings, ceviche, and shockingly good plantain chips that are crispy and cupped like pepperonis on pizza. Most of the food (except those incredible plantain chips) is pretty good. But it’s more of a place to drink, snack, and watch live music—which they usually have outside during the weekend. Things also don’t get too wild here, so this is one Wynwood bar where you can confidently bring the family.
Wynwood Brewing is a modest taproom that’s been serving great beer since the early days of Wynwood. Thankfully, they’ve stuck around and are still a great place to have a beer, play a board game, and chat. Sometimes there’s a food truck parked outside too. It’s a laidback spot that’s a couple blocks away from the busiest parts of the neighborhood, so you can come here when you need some peace and can't tolerate another DJ abusing the airhorn sound effect.
Fans of beer, Star Wars, or reasonably chill bars free from house music will probably enjoy J Wakefield. And if you happen to like all three, you’re going to love it here. J Wakefield is a small brewery covered in murals of Star Wars characters (including a Baby Yoda dumpster in the front). It’s a simple space, but there's always a good selection of rotating beers, and also an incredible smash burger pop-up, Ted’s Burgers, that flips patties outside on Sunday. There are picnic tables in the front where you can eat, drink, and stare at Dumpster Baby Yoda.
There aren’t many places left in Wynwood where you can have a good cocktail in a small room that doesn’t feel like Flo Rida is about to pop out and start singing at any moment. But Spanglish is that kind of bar, and it’s a fun enough spot to make us feel like we’re going out in Wynwood, but not annoying enough to make us regret going out in Wynwood. You can also sit down and eat here, but the drinks are the main attraction. The Cafetera Old Fashioned, which is poured out of a bright red espresso maker, is one of our favorite cocktails in Wynwood—especially because we don’t have to worry about a 21-year-old Spring Breaker bumping into us while we drink it.
Miami is not a sports bar town, but if we ever do have a reason to care about sports, Wynwood’s Grails is a solid place to cheer on the [insert team here] to victory. The bar, which is right next door to Spanglish, has a lot of outdoor seating, and a menu with OK chicken wings and other decent bar food. Plus, there are TVs everywhere so you can watch your game of choice no matter how crowded it is. They also have one of those mini arcade basketball hoops, which gets 30% more fun after each drink you have.
photo credit: @iamscottharris
Veza Sur is another brewery in Wynwood, which has more breweries per mile than any other neighborhood in Miami. Like a lot of the other brewery options, it’s a welcome antidote to some of the neighborhood’s rowdier spots. No one’s going to be dancing on the bar here, and it’s a good call if you just want to have a conversation, some crisp beers (which they also make into beer cocktails), and maybe a bite from one of the rotating food trucks out back. The outdoor patio is a good call if the weather is nice too.