7 Restaurants Where Your Parents Can Dance
photo credit: Courtesy Pueblito Viejo
Parent dancing looks different across this country. But—and we admit we’re biased here—no parents can tear up a dance floor like a pair of Miami parents. Down here, your mom and dad don’t just bust out the moves once a year for Cotton Eye Joe at Eddie’s wedding. No, your mom is out to prove she’s the queen of salsa, bachata, merengue, etc—at least compared to everyone else in her book club. But not every dance floor is a parent-friendly dance floor. The spots on this guide have soundtracks your folks will love, places where mom can safely leave her purse, and spacious areas to get their money’s worth out of that new hip.
Everyone, to be clear, can dance at Cafe La Trova. But it does seem like parents have the upper hand here. The live band plays the Cuban classics they know and love, and all eyes of the huge restaurant are turned towards the stage. So if you get up to dance, you better know what you’re doing. It’s perfect for a confident parent who loves the spotlight. And if mom and/or dad are more into yacht rock, they can visit the bar in the back of the space, which is inspired by ‘80s Miami with no shortage of mirrored surfaces and vintage jams.
Here are actual scenes from our last dinner at La Cumbancha: a spontaneous conga line forms out of nowhere, sucking our staff writer into its gravitational pull like a vacuum cleaner. A toddler stands next to the live band with a toy guitar (no idea where he got it from) and pretends to play with the band as a squadron of tías root him on. Dinner at this Miami Lakes Cuban spot feels like a family reunion even if you're related to no one inside. This makes sense since it shares ownership with Cafe La Trova. The food is fine, but the cocktails are tremendous and the house band is excellent. There’s not much of a dance floor, but, as our writer learned, the entire restaurant can easily become one at a moment’s notice.
Do mom and dad enjoy Brazilian music? Then send them to Boteco on 79th Street, and maybe order them an Uber if they can’t be trusted around caipirinhas. On Friday and Saturday nights, a live band turns Boteco’s outdoor patio into an intergenerational dance floor with a side of picanha. The band will probably come on 30 minutes late, but will make up for that by playing the hell out of a triangle. The space is narrow and everyone just gets up and dances next to their table, which is nice for your folks because there’s always a chair nearby when they need a little break.
Parents who know how to dance cumbia or are at least cumbia curious should visit this Hialeah spot. Starting at about 9pm on Fridays, they scoot the tables off to the side so that people can get jiggy. The beginning of the night is perfect for parents looking to dance to Colombian oldies. But as the night progresses, things get rowdy and the venue starts to feel more like a club. At this point, parents have to be OK with random bursts of confetti, spontaneous conga lines, and the risk of accidentally running into the hyper-clean mirrors that surround this space.
Nando is a massive palapa in Homestead that blends live music and red meat beautifully. This is a perfect spot to bring a humongous family—from the babies through the abuelas. There are massive combo platters full of enough beef to feed them all, areas where the kids can play, and a live band that will successfully distract mom and dad from asking you when you’re going to give them some grandchildren. The later things get, the more this place starts to feel like one big hora loca.
If the parents have thick skin, they might love it here. And we say that because, before this Colombian spot turns into a dance party, it’s a merciless musical roast. On weekends two singers go from table to table making fun of people in perfect rhymes. It can be a little brutal, but very fun. And afterward, everyone releases the tension by moving their hips on Pueblito’s dance floor beneath horrifying wax figures of beloved celebrities.
The folks need to be OK with big crowds and loud noises for this one. But if they are, then they might like Ball & Chain. The classic Calle Ocho bar is still one of the best places to salsa in Little Havana. Inside, there’s confused tourists and confetti. Out back, there’s a pineapple-shaped stage for live music. And there’s occasionally a line to get in too. But there’s also a lot of dancing everywhere you look. They even host free salsa classes occasionally, in case one of your parents has a New Year’s resolution that involves learning to salsa.