The Best Bars To Be Trapped In During A Thunderstorm
If you have to seek shelter, do it somewhere that has cocktails.
Miami weather is cruel. One minute you’re having a shockingly good hair day, strolling down the sidewalk while an imaginary Bee Gees song plays in your head—and the next thing you know you’re running for your life from a bolt of lightning. There is, sadly, no way to avoid the unpredictability of the Miami thunderstorm. So it helps to have a list of bars you can easily duck into for shelter. What makes for a great rainy day bar? It has to be as cozy as your thickest pair of socks, a place you can spend anywhere from one to four hours in, and bonus points if they serve great food in case you get hungry. The places on this guide all offer some combination of those traits. Good luck and stay dry.
Few bars are more thunderstorm-appropriate than The Corner. It’s a dim, intimate, cozy little cocktail bar that feels like 4am no matter what time of day you’re drinking here. Plus, it is also possible to sit outside even if it’s raining. The sidewalk seating is covered just enough that you can watch the rain pelt the street from the safety of your table. And if the storm lingers and you start to get hungry, order a round of hot dogs from the kitchen while you wait for the clouds to clear.
Mac's Club Deuce
Mac’s is our own personal zombie apocalypse bar. This classic South Beach dive is where we want to be during the end of the world (or when it’s just raining very bad). The blinds are always closed so you don’t have to think about the outside world, and it’s small enough to meet everyone who’s drinking inside over the course of an hour. Plus, they have a legendary 7am-7pm two-for-one Happy Hour. If you get a good seat at the pink bar, which winds throughout the space like an angry snake, the minutes go by like hours. And if you get hungry, La Sandwicherie is right across the street.
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photo credit: Jen Castro
El Salón is a cocktail bar on Española Way. And despite its home on one of South Beach’s more touristy streets, Salón feels really secluded. It’s slightly hidden on an alley just off Española Way, and is a great place to hide from both tourists and rain while sipping a very good martini. The drink menu features a selection of Salón’s own blended spirits, which are tasty enough to order neat and sip slowly while thunder rumbles all dramatically in the background. The space—dim and intimate—just feels right for bad weather.
photo credit: Phillip Pessar
Seven Seas Bar
If you’ve had enough drinks at Seven Seas, you might actually start to think you’re inside an old ship. This incredibly divey dive bar in Coral Gables has porthole windows, campy nautical decor, and a cast of colorful regulars who kind of start to look like pirates after a few shots. Drink here during a storm, and you’ll get the feeling this place could float away into the sea at any moment. And you know what? That’d probably be kind of fun.
photo credit: Cleveland Jennings
Union Beer Store
Calle Ocho’s Union Beer Store has a rotating depth chart of the some of Miami’s best food pop-ups. They all make being stuck inside a lot more fun. Union also has stellar beers on tap and old school wrestling matches and gory horror movies playing on a loop. A decent chunk of their backyard seating is also covered too, so you can eat and drink outside while staying dry.
A great cheeseburger, strong drinks, and a giant neon light fixture of a mosquito slurping down a martini. These are all things on our personal Where To Drink When It’s Raining checklist. Over Under is a wonderful place to hide from the elements, whether you’re sitting at a table and having a full meal or sipping a frozen Irish coffee and eating a half-dozen oysters at the bar. It’s small but not cramped, comfortable and chill—but it’s also perfectly acceptable to be a little loud and drunk here too. What really makes time fly here, though, is the fact that everything—from the cocktails to the rotating menu of bar food made with local ingredients—is just really delicious.
If you’re with a date or just want to hide from the elements in a slightly more romantic setting, duck into NIU Wine. The narrow downtown wine bar is really charming, with flickering candles on each table and one of the best wine selections in town—poured by the glass or bottle. It’d be a great winter bar if it actually got cold in Miami. NIU Wine is also part of the NIU Kitchen family, which means you can also order from a small rotating menu of outstanding Spanish and Catalan dishes. So feel free to linger here a while. It’s much more fun than wading through the flooded Downtown streets.
Mike's At Venetia
If an Irish pub closed its eyes and made a wish to be on a roof, you’d get Mike’s. This place is located on the roof of an old apartment building right at the west end of the Venetian Causeway. Why do we like it for hiding from bad weather? Well, Mike's serves decent fried bar food and it has an indoor and outdoor patio that both stay dry. And since this place is right on the edge of Biscayne Bay, it offers a great view of the storm clouds blowing in off the beach. There's also a pool table and lots of TVs playing various sports to keep you occupied.
Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery
There’s absolutely nothing fun about being on Collins Ave. during a downpour. The flood-prone street can get very chaotic, very fast. So when you feel that first drop, start jogging towards Swizzle. This spot has the atmosphere of a basement bar, which is rare in a city that has approximately zero basements, and also precisely the kind of snug drinking environment akin to being underneath a very comfortable blanket. But not only is Swizzle a perfect rainy day shelter, it's serving some of the best drinks in Miami on their tiki-inspired cocktail menu.