The Miami Clubs That Don’t Completely Suck
photo credit: Karli Evans
Clubs can be the worst. If you even get in—which might not happen if the doorman dislikes your shirt—you’ve got to put up with $25 beers, painfully loud music, and people who think buying a VIP section gives them carte blanche to act like they’re training for the a-hole Olympics. But while expensive drinks and loud music might be unavoidable, the spots on this guide can actually be a good time—as long as you know what you’re in for. If you want to dance but hate clubs, we can help with that too. And if you're just looking for a great Miami bar, we've got you.
Space is an OG Miami club that opened in 2000. Unlike most clubs, it isn’t too claustrophobic, and thanks to all the plants and a semi-open roof, the air feels fresh. These days it’s both a club for people who actually care who’s behind the DJ booth and people who want to dance until the sun hits them in the face, which literally happens thanks to that semi-open roof. Just know that headlining DJs often don’t come on until 3am at the earliest, so go ahead and have that espresso after dinner—and check out our guide to places you can have breakfast if you stayed at Space all night.
photo credit: Michael Pisarri
Medium Cool lives in a pleasant sweet spot between club and cocktail bar. But if it’s a club vibe you’re looking for, plan on coming after 10pm. That’s when the bottle service crowd slowly starts to outnumber the jazz night crowd, and a DJ replaces the live band. By 2am, there’s no mistaking you’re in a club. But it’s not the annoying kind. The cocktails are solid and the crowd is much more tolerable than the rest of the South Beach bottle service spots. Plus, the smaller size of the room makes it feel like you could conceivably meet a majority of the people inside throughout the course of the night.
Going to E11even is like embarking on an advanced white water rafting trip. You need to know what you’re getting into and mentally prepare or else things can go very badly, very quickly. E11even is ridiculous. There will be topless dancers twerking, dollar bills flying through the air, and random aerial acrobatic performances happening in the center of the club. Also, a famous rapper will probably start performing at, like, 4am and you’ll spend so much money that you’ll cry on the phone to your bank the next day. Still, this is a piece of Miami everyone should experience at least once.
Floyd is like Space’s little brother, both in size and personality. They share the same owners and are located right next to each other. Floyd is more intimate, though—just one big room with a DJ booth in the middle of the club. There is no stage. Acts perform right on the dance floor at eye level with everyone else, and the crowd usually cares about the music more than the scene, which is good because there isn’t much room to do anything but dance. If it wasn’t for the expensive drinks, this place might feel like a very large house party.
photo credit: Courtesy Twist
This classic gay club is still one of the best LGBTQ nightlife spots on South Beach. Walking through this place feels a bit like going to one of those carnival funhouses with a series of small, crowded rooms. Each one has a different vibe and personality, but they’re all usually full of dancing people, some of who won’t be wearing shirts. As a result, a night here can feel like bar hopping without having to actually walk more than 15 feet.
Unlike most clubs, there are things to do at Basement other than just dance while trying not to spill your drink all over your shirt. There are rainbow bowling lanes here (which you have to reserve in advance for at least $60 per hour) and a tiny indoor ice skating rink (that's also $30 per half hour), both of which get more fun and more dangerous with every drink you consume. There used to be another big room with a dance floor attached to the space, but that's closed at the time of this writing. Still, it's a solid spot for bachelorette parties or other group celebrations.