Clubs can be the worst. If you even get in - which might not happen if the doorman dislikes the shirt you’re wearing - you’ve got to put up with $20 beers, painfully loud music, and insufferable people who think buying a VIP section gives them carte blanche to act like they’re training for the assh*le Olympics.
But this is Miami - and like it or not, we are a club city. Thankfully not all of them are quite so horrible. Expensive drinks and loud music might be unavoidable, but these nine spots are actually a good time - as long as you know what you’re in for.
If you want to stay far away from clubs, but still want to dance, we can help with that too.
Space is an OG Miami club that opened in 2000. It hasn’t always had the most favorable reputation, but new ownership, some sprucing up, and great music bookings have made Space cool again. Unlike most clubs, it isn’t too claustrophobic, and thanks to all the plants and a semi-open roof, the air feels fresh even when the person next to you is smoking. 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. 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 grab some breakfast on the way home.
To get to Los Altos, you have to walk to the second floor of a taco restaurant and enter through a secret door in a little Mexican candy shop (there will be a security guard to point you in the right direction). Once inside, you’ll find yourself in a relatively small room with neon lights that kind of looks like a place John Wick might get in a fight. There are a lot of seating options, a DJ booth, and a long bar that serves pretty good cocktails. It’s definitely more mainstream here, with a pop soundtrack that has a 75% chance of including some remixed version of “Moves Like Jagger,” but it’s still your best bet for a club in Little Havana.
This Downtown club is a descendant of the Electric Pickle, a beloved Wynwood spot that closed. Regulars of the Pickle will probably recognize the huge, colorful disco ball that now sits in the middle of ATV, which is a small room that’s mostly dance floor. They book solid DJs here and also put a little sticker over your phone’s camera before you come in - so this is more a place to dance and appreciate music than buy shots and take pictures with your friends.
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. Not only is the place massive and always crowded, but it’s also a strip club. There will be topless dancers twerking all around you, 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’s no stage - acts perform right on the dance floor at eye level with everyone else - and the crowd here 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.
To find Blind Barber, you’ve got to walk through the lobby of the Nautilus hotel and past an empty barbershop. It sounds complicated, but someone will point you in the right direction if you get lost. When you eventually find it, order a cocktail - which will be a lot better than the vodka soda in a plastic cup you’ll find at most other clubs. The room isn’t so big that you’ll lose your friends, but it’s also not so small that you can’t people watch without feeling like a creep. It’s also got a very pretty art deco personality, which just makes this place feel a little classier.
There are a lot of 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 and for at least $50 per hour) and a tiny indoor ice skating rink, both of which get more fun and more dangerous with every drink you consume. This is a solid spot for birthdays or bachelorette parties. And if you’re not into the extracurricular activities, just head to the dance floor, where this place looks and feels a lot more like an upscale Miami Beach club.
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 shits. As a result, a night here can feel like bar hopping without having to actually walk more than 15 feet.
When El Patio first opened in Wynwood, we considered it a bar. But this place is firmly in the club realm now - especially on weekend nights and during their Sunday day party. Even though their outdoor space is pretty and would be a good place to chill out, this is not the spot to sip wine and enjoy the weather. The outdoor space gets absolutely packed with people dancing on wooden bleachers to reggaeton and drinking bucket after bucket of beers. And if that sounds fun to you, stop by.