Travelers far and wide have been coming to Miami for decades to experience its world-renowned nightlife, and many of them have paid a pretty penny to do it, too. Fortunately, you don’t actually have to spend a lot of money to have a good night in South Florida. From laid-back dive bars and art walks to outdoor concerts, movies and great happy hour deals at some of the city’s best bars, here’s where to go to have an affordable night out in Miami and its Beaches. (And remember: people-watching, one of Miami’s most popular activities, is always free.)
When it comes to finding cheap drinks in Miami, you can always count on its dive bar scene. Spread from South Dade to South Beach (yes, even trendy South Beach!) many of these no-frills spots have just as big a fan following as Miami’s famous nightclubs.
Start at the Old English-style Ted’s Hideaway; it’s the dive bar in swanky South of Fifth with “South Beach—A great place to be a successful failure!” scribbled on the wall. This graffiti-covered spot stays open until 5 a.m. and has two daily happy hours offering drinks between $3.75 and $6 apiece. Similarly, Lost Weekend, hidden in the back of charming Española Way, is where you go to pair your alcohol with some friendly competition. In addition to $5 domestic draft beers and $7 well drinks, there are pool, air hockey and foosball tables for all to enjoy. The most legendary of all the Miami Beach dive bars is definitely Mac’s Club Deuce, a cash-only spot where the late, great Anthony Bourdain once had a drink. Offering the best deal in town, go here for $5 domestic beers and well drinks all day long, as well as two-for-one beer, wine and cocktail specials from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
If you’re on the mainland, Wynwood’s popular Wood Tavern is a laid-back, indoor-outdoor spot with DJs, live music, artist collaborations, free taco nights and a new drink deal every day. On Tuesdays, get $5 margaritas with your free tacos from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and come back on Wednesday night, from 8 p.m. to midnight, when ladies drink free. The bar offers $5 Jameson drinks and $0.50 wings every Wednesday through Friday, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. On Thursdays, get a shot of Jack Daniel’s and a glass of Stella for just $6.
Coconut Grove residents will want to head to Barracuda Raw Bar & Grill, where there are beer pong tables and beers as low as $2.50 each, all afternoon, every afternoon. Farther down US1, South Dade’s Hole in the Wall is exactly what its name implies. Go to any of its four locations for cheap deals on wine, beer and greasy bar food—we’re talking $5 Sam Adams and Guinness every Monday, and entire domestic pints for just $2.50 each on weekdays.
GREAT HAPPY HOUR DEALS
Happy hour is a great way to experience some of Miami’s most popular (and often priciest) bars and restaurants on a budget. Head to Miami Beach and you’ll find some of our favorites. Pizza & Burger by Michael Mina, at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, offers a “Social Hour” from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. to midnight, every day of the week. During this spin on happy hour, imbibers can buy one cocktail and get their second for just $1.
Another trendy South Beach watering hole is Bodega Taqueria y Tequila. While late-night cocktails here will cost visitors around $12 a pop, head to this taco stand-turned-speakeasy during happy hour—which runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily—for $4 draft beers, $6 specialty cocktails and $2 tacos to go with them.
And in dazzling South of Fifth, The ScapeGoat is a classic American cocktail bar with a daily happy hour you can’t refuse. Unlike its neighboring locales, where it isn’t out of the question to pay $20 for a martini, this popular spot serves $4 beers, $6 wines and $8 specialty cocktails from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
CONCERTS & MOVIE NIGHTS
With its warm weather all year round, Miami is a great place to catch an outdoor concert or a movie in the park. On select nights from November through May, the 2.5-acre SoundScape Park, adjacent to the New World Center, offers free WALLCAST® concerts. What does that mean, exactly? It means you can call your family and friends, grab a blanket and watch a LIVE broadcast of classical New World Symphony concerts on a 7,000-square-foot projection wall on the side of the concert venue. Some nights, you can even watch free movies at this same spot. Check the schedule.
Art walks are a great way to get a taste of both Miami’s culture and nightlife, and they happen at least once a month. The largest and most popular art walk is definitely Wynwood Art Walk, which takes over the entire Wynwood neighborhood on the second Saturday of every month. During this free event, expect live street and mural art, special art activations, DJs, drinks, food trucks and even appointment-only art galleries staying open to the public late into the night.
In Little Havana, the stretch of Calle Ocho between SW 13th and SW 17th Avenues hosts Viernes Culturales (or “Cultural Fridays”) on the third Friday of every month. During this event, Calle Ocho—the heartstrings of Miami’s Cuban community—becomes even more vibrant than usual. Perfect for families of all ages, there’s live music, art, food, walking tours, domino games, cigar rollers and dancing in the streets.
Now in its 38th year, Coral Gables’s First Friday Gallery Night takes place on, you guessed it, the first Friday of every month. Sponsored by the Coral Gables Gallery Association, this event invites locals and visitors alike to stroll through more than 15 art galleries, all of which stay open later than usual. Peruse art in one gallery, enjoy complimentary refreshments, and if you don’t feel like walking, hop to the next gallery on a free trolley. On a nice night in The City Beautiful, you won’t want to be anywhere else.