Where To Go When Lagniappe Is Too Crowded
Some excellent alternatives for when Lagniappe's backyard looks like a mosh pit.
We love Lagniappe. Let us make that clear off the bat. The Midtown bar is lovely, and has always been one of—if not the—best places in Miami to hang out with a bottle of wine and some cheese. It’s perfect for dates, birthdays, listening to jazz—the list goes on. The problem is, lots of people feel this way. So many, in fact, that on a Saturday night during winter, finding an open table in Lagniappe’s backyard can feel like one of those viral Black Friday videos where people are roundhouse kicking each other for a kitchen appliance. So next time you walk into Lagniappe, see two UM students playing tug of war over a plastic chair, and instantly say “nope”—go to one of these places instead. They all either have wine, excellent vibes, live music, or all of the above.
photo credit: Cleveland Jennings
Jass is more of a sit-down restaurant than a bar, but when we came here we also literally said out loud: “This is like if Lagniappe was a sit-down restaurant.” So it belongs on this guide. Jass is really charming, with live jazz playing at an ideal volume and a dining room that feels like a fun antique shop. Music usually happens Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (but call them to ask about the current week's schedule). You can get a bottle of wine for under $50, but you should be eating too because the Mediterranean food is good. Get the clay pot of lamb, which comes encased in a dome of brioche your server will slice open at the table.
photo credit: Tasty Planet
If you need a Lagniappe alternative that’s close to Lagniappe, Ruka will save the day. This Wynwood wine bar is only a mile south, and has a spacious outdoor patio that’s great for a breezy night. It’s also located on a backstreet east of North Miami Ave.—a.k.a. the side of Wynwood that isn’t always a complete clusterf*ck. They sometimes have food pop-ups and DJs, but even if it’s a night where nothing in particular is going on, you can still hang out, drink reasonably priced wine, and snack on marinated olives or sliced meats.
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photo credit: Cleveland Jennings
Next Door By Flour & Weirdoughs
Next Door is a wine bar run by (and right next door to) Key Biscayne’s Flour & Weirdoughs. And it’s a perfect option for all occasions that call for a chill night out with a bottle of wine and some excellent dishes involving bread. The menu is tight, but as good as you’d expect from one of Miami’s best bakeries. They make a simple, outstanding choripan, eggplant escabeche served with sliced baguette and crispy baguette chips, and a few sourdough pizzas. Nothing on the menu costs more than $20 either. The space isn’t huge, but it’s perfect for small groups or couples. And if it’s nice out, they slide open the windows to take advantage of the ocean breeze.
Paradis Books & Bread
Whenever we’re looking for a fairly casual, affordable, fun place to hang out and have a conversation, Paradis is almost always the answer. The North Miami wine bar and bakery is very cozy inside, spacious outside, and serves various forms of delicious bread—like $3 slices of the best pizza in Miami. The playlist is always stellar and the crowd is generally pleasant to be around. We love this place so much that we sometimes have to stop ourselves from including it on every single one of our guides.
We should warn you, NIU Wine is super tiny. So there is also a good chance that it might not have an open table if you’re trying to walk in with a party of six. But NIU Wine has something Lagniappe doesn’t: reservations. If you have time to plan in advance, make one, and it’ll guarantee you a seat at the beautiful Downtown wine bar. There, you can have some outstanding wine, snack on mini bar sandwiches, and just generally feel like you’ve been invited to a very cool friend’s house.
Margot Natural Wine Bar
Margot, also in Downtown, is a bit bigger than NIU Wine, but still firmly in the category of “small.” So proceed with caution if you’re traveling with a big group. People don’t usually camp out here as long as they do at Lagniappe, so even if you have to wait for a table or a bar seat, you’ll get in eventually. Once you do, Margot is a good time. It’s got this pinkish/purplish lighting that’ll make you look 25% more attractive, good wine options, and wine-based apertivo cocktails. There’s also a menu of small plates like crudo, marinated olives, and a sardine bahn mi.
When you want to drink outside somewhere aesthetically pleasing where you’re almost sure to find an open seat, Casa Florida is the move. The very pink outdoor bar has a big spread-out space, solid cocktails, and feels secluded even though it’s just across the river from the dreaded Wharf. They also have a retro bus that’s been repurposed for additional seating. Food is an option too (and it’s fine) but you’re mostly coming here to have cocktails, beer, and wine in a space that feels like it was decorated by hip flamingos.