Hottest Nightclubs in Downtown Miami and South Beach
By Carlos Harrison
Whether you’re on vacation, a staycation, or just a night on the town, Miami nightclubs put the “magic” in the Magic City.
Whether it’s Salsa, Hip Hop, House, EDM — or all of the above — the Miami nightclub scene is hot and happening, and made to fit just about every taste. Miami clubs are regularly ranked among the best in the nation, and regular gathering places for the megastars of music, movies, and modeling. You never know who you’ll run into. And don’t be surprised if one or more of the hottest acts gets up for an unannounced set, or duet, that you’ll never forget.
Mango’s Tropical Café
Step into a tropical rainforest with a full-scale Caribbean cabaret, Michael Jackson tribute show, belly dancers, and salsa lessons to help beginners get in the groove. Mango’s is distinctive, and dynamic — even the people behind the bar will break out dancing while they’re mixing it up, and your server might just be one of the performers in the fast-paced series of sets. The decor evokes a pre-revolution Havana. So do the colorfully costumed Tropicana-style dancers. But five minutes later, belly dancers writhe rhythmically. Then it’s the Mangos Dancers turn, followed by the “King of Pop” and a killer Thriller show. There’s bachata and Cuban conga, Brazilian samba and disco fever, Colombian cumbia and House. The cavernous miami nightclub interior offers a wraparound balcony for viewing from above, or front-of-the-stage tables for, um, belly button gazing. Fill your eyes, fill your ears, and fill your belly. The menu includes signature burgers, tacos, and flatbreads, as well as full entrees of Caribbean creole chicken and shrimp, roasted margarita chicken, churrasco, and Cuban-style “masitas de puerco.” Come early and get in the mood with nightly salsa lessons in the “private Mojito Room,” then get ready to dance the night away. 900 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139; 305.673.4422; mangos.com/miami
Insert your superlatives here. The performers include top name DJs and artists like Ruby Rose, Chance the Rapper, and Miami’s own Pitbull and Flo Rida. Liv's Miami nightclub crowd includes top-tier celebrities, models, and anyone else who likes the best. Sightings run from Rihanna, Drake and Nicki Minaj to Floyd Mayweather and Khloe, Kim and Kourtney Kardashian. LIV is 18,000 square feet of ultra-luxe, ultra-loud, and ultra-lavish nightclub energy, under steadily pulsing laser lights. Set on the bottom floor of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel, it’s the supreme king of the Miami Beach nightclub scene. Be forewarned: everyone – yes, that means you, too! – must dress to impress. There’s a strict door policy, velvet ropes, and bouncers who mean business. The cover varies from $20 to $40, but rockets quickly to $100 or more for premier acts – if you get in. 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33140; 305-674-4680; livnightclub.com
Hipster central. Massively. And massive. Story has a 27,000-square-foot dance space – yep, more than a half-acre of floor to show off your footwork – plus the latest and greatest sound system, and lighting to match. It’s got 60 VIP booths, five full-service bars, aerial dancers and a circus-style setting. How cool is it? The Miami Heat rented it for a private party and, reportedly, ran up a $100,000 tab. The names making the music include DJ Stevie J, Dada Life, and Kaskade. Or maybe EDM is more your style. Story’s hosted Nervo, Alesso, AN21 and Green Velvet. It’s also one of Miami’s hottest hip hop clubs, featuring appearances by Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz and Waka Flocka Flame, to name a few. Hardly surprising it’s top ranked among the best nightclubs in the nation, it’s operated and managed by the same folks who do LIV. The cover runs from $20 to $40 depending on the DJ. Bottle service starts at $275. And, as Story’s own website says, “Dress to impress. Miami clubs run a strict door policy.” And that’s the story at Story, too. 136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139; 305-479-4426; storymiami.com
Hey, it’s Miami, right? The capital of Latin America. That means in music, too. Tucandela serves up reggaeton and salsa, bachata and cumbia. All Latin. All night. Pitbull, Daddy Yankee, Jacob Forever, and Luis Fonsi, too. Loosely translated, Tucandela means “your flame.” Makes sense. It’s hot. It’s now. It’s wall-to-wall dancing, with DJ Andres Ferro keeping a close eye on the mood, and the moves, of the crowd. He reads their movements like a fortune-teller’s tea leaves, then serves up exactly what keeps the party going. And to double your pleasure and double your fun, Tucandela is actually two nightclubs in one. Its twin-sister club, Baru, is just downstairs – like, right down a connecting staircase that invites a steady flow of folks from one to the other. They arrived from Bogota, Colombia, via Panama. Now there’s venues in Miami’s Mary Brickell Village and Doral. No cover. Big crowds. Nice clothes. Great music. Check out the Miami nightclub In Mary Brickell Village, 901 South Miami Ave., Miami, FL 33130; 786-431-8892; tucandelabarbrickellave.com