The Best Outdoor Bars In Miami
photo credit: Karli Evans
There are days in Miami so pretty that being inside feels like it should be illegal. And on those days, a great outdoor bar can come in handy. This guide has our favorite ones in Miami. These are the bars where sitting outside is the whole point—places that are going to make you look around and mumble a prayer of gratitude that you’ll never have to learn what black ice is. They range from lush patios to sprawling wine bars to waterfront spots that’ll make you drunk dial your accountant and ask if you can afford a boat. Visit one next time one of those perfect days rolls around.
Wetlab is an unremarkable bar in a remarkable place: it’s slightly hidden inside UM’s Marine and Atmospheric Science campus with a view of Biscayne Bay that makes even the priciest hotels in town jealous. Even though it’s on UM property, it’s completely open to the public Wednesday-Friday. Finding this place feels like you’re on a scavenger hunt and you will get lost at least once, walk past classrooms, smile as you remember your own college days, then cringe as you remember more of them, then sprint before the memory of that time you went streaking for free Jimmy John’s comes flooding back. You’ll find this place eventually, though, and be glad you did—especially if you come for a sunset beer on their outdoor patio.
The Cleat is another slightly hard-to-find Key Biscayne bar with a view that’s worth shedding a tear. This place is located inside Bill Baggs State Park on the southern tip of Key Biscayne. And it has the best waterfront view of any bar in the entire city. It’s hard to describe without using cliche adjectives like breathtaking, especially at sunset. The Cleat has a very Keys vibe, occasional live music, and every seat in the house provides a view of Biscayne Bay you’d normally have to purchase a $300 bottle of vodka to enjoy. There is an $8 per vehicle fee to get into the park, but tell them you’re going to The Cleat and they (should) let you in for free.
This classic Mid-Beach spot is immensely popular because it’s a beautiful space—with poolside seating and a lush landscape. Broken Shaker also has one of the best cocktail menus in the entire city. It’s that rare bar that both tourists and locals love. So, if you’re coming on a weekend night, definitely expect a crowd (and maybe even a line to get in). But despite the crowds and pain-in-the-ass-parking-situation, it’s still one of our favorite places to drink outside in Miami.
Lagniappe is proof that not all wine bars are quiet, dim places that feel like libraries. This place gets packed and loud both inside—where you’ll find a weekly rotation of great jazz and plenty of good wine in a slightly cramped space—and outside, which is a back patio that all other back patios should aspire to be. There are string lights and tons of tables that look like they were collected from years of garage sales. It’s hard to get one of those tables on the weekend (when they’re usually full of big groups or first dates) so come early or just do laps until you see an opening. A night spent drinking wine and eating cheese here is worth the work.
ZeyZey, a mostly outdoor venue in Little River, is doing a lot of things. There are a couple bars serving wine and frozen drinks. About four food vendors (including the excellent Maíz Project) operate from little huts scattered around the space, which is essentially a giant house. There’s a stage for live music, and a DJ booth in the living room for late-night dance parties. Before the sun sets, you might see some families with small children running around. But as the night goes on, dancing intensifies, and it’s a really fun place to spend the night (whether or not you partake in said dancing). There’s usually a ticket or RSVP required for entry, so check ZeyZey’s Instagram for a link to that.
Terras is our favorite rooftop in town thanks to both the great cocktails and the wonderful view of the Downtown skyline. The Little Havana spot serves food as well, including small plates like queso fundido, hearts of palm salad, and short rib birria tacos—but you’re mostly coming here to drink (and possibly dance). The space is pretty and not too claustrophobic—great for a date or catching up with a few friends. And even though it’s on the roof of a hotel, it’s not annoyingly touristy.
Casa Florida works just fine when you’re in the mood to drink and eat underneath palm trees and string lights. There’s pretty much only outdoor seating here (including inside a retro bus) and it’s usually quiet enough to have a conversation, but not so quiet that any moments of awkward silence will feel unbearable. They also have a small food menu in case you’re hungry. But we come here to drink because the cocktails are really good (and better than the food). The Old Fashiorange tastes like an Old Fashioned made out with a Creamsicle and the tangerine negroni is refreshing and delicious.
Higher Ground is a Wynwood 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 drink after work or a crowded Saturday night party—Higher Ground should be in your Wynwood bar rotation.
Gramps is a time capsule of everything that made Wynwood exciting in the first place. Inside there are 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, a very popular Thursday drag night, 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 pizza within a five-mile radius.
Magic 13 is a Little Haiti brewery, and its biggest strength is its outdoor space. The big backyard is organized around a huge tree we want to hug (give us enough beer and we just might). Other good things about Magic 13 include fairly regular live music programming, beer (obviously) and a small meat-centric food situation run by Meat N’ Bone.