Best of Miami 2014: Ten Boozy Winners
The 2014 edition of Best of Miami is live, and it's filled with 320 of our favorite restaurants, bars, shops, and people.
Although we love everything about Miami (especially its restaurants), you know what we really love? The booze.
From the perfect bloody mary to the top new bar, Best of Miami 2014 celebrates all manner of boozy delights. Here are ten of our favorites to start the weekend.
See also: Best of Miami 2014
Best New Bar: Patpong Road
Photo by Laine Doss One night in Bangkok...
In Miami Beach, where too many clubs for the glamor set pretentiously serve Goose and Bulls for 20 bucks a pop, finding a bar that doesn't take itself too seriously is as relieving as snagging an ocean breeze on a muggy July afternoon. Patpong Road, brought to you by 50 Eggs, the people behind restaurants such as Yardbird, Swine, and Khong River House, is named for the notorious red-light district in Thailand and offers a cheeky play on a "naughty" night in Bangkok. As you walk up the tin steps into the tiny room, bathed in not-too-subtle red light, you step up to the bar. There, you'll find all the "retro" favorite cocktails you loved in college but are now too "grown up" to drink. Seriously, dude, when was the last time you had a kamikaze or a Long "Thailand" iced tea? The bar puts playful twists on the drinks, though, as in its version of the Sloe Screw. Renamed "A Long, Sloe, Comfortably Spicy Screw up by the Wall," it adds chili syrup, Southern Comfort, génépy, and vodka to the classic recipe. Drinks such as that make perfect sense to sip as you listen to the "latest" tracks by Prince, Culture Club, and Madonna. Patpong Road is kitschy, hilarious, and just plain fun. It's like being at a drunk Thailand pavilion at Epcot -- a little bawdy, but ultimately good, delightfully fake times.
Best Poolside Bar: Hyde Beach
Photo by Jose de las Casas Rock the pool!
Time for some real talk: It's damn difficult to mess up a poolside bar in Miami. You're beside a pool. There's a bar. You purchase cocktails, dip your feet into the water, and basically live the American dream as you sip your way to the bottom. How hard can this be, people? Yet an astonishing number of Miami hotels have conspired to ruin this simplest of good things with eye-poppingly overpriced drinks, shoddy service, and pools that are either inaccessibly hip or packed to the gills with sunburned out-of-towners. So props to Hyde Beach for getting it so right. Inside, the bar is decked out like a '70s Brady Bunch rec room, but outside there's 8,000 square feet of pool and beach fun. There are pitchers of mango mojitos ($80) and cucumber watermelon margaritas ($18), or for true backyard ballers, bottles of Moët & Chandon Ice ($475) and vases of sangria made tableside ($200).
Best Happy Hour: Doraku Sushi
Photo by Laine Doss This martini is only five bucks.
Question not found on a recent SAT:
Sally had a shitty day at work. She's hangry and needs a few drinks but has only 20 bucks. What does Sally do?
A. She goes home -- this is South Beach. You can't eat and drink for $20.
B. She buys a few cans of Four Loko at 7-Eleven and drinks them in the park.
C. She goes to Doraku during happy hour (5 to 7 p.m. daily) and gets two lychee martinis (two for $5 each), a California roll ($3), a crunchy crab roll ($4), and an order of edamame ($2).
Please think carefully before answering.
Best Cocktails: Bar Centro by José Andrés
Courtesy of Bar Centro/The Bazaar by José Andrés Hemingway would have had a few.
Cocktails in these heady days are complex magic tricks, summoned from the ether by the showstoppers known as bartenders. But just as there's a difference between a Houdini and the clown at kiddie parties, there's a huge gulf in skill behind all the smoke and mirrors fluffing up craft cocktails around town. That's why the cocktails at Bar Centro are so satisfying. True, they're gorgeous, and there's a fair share of showmanship with liquid nitrogen and props. But the cleverest of cocktails has to be well-rounded and delicious. Which is where José Andrés comes in. He's a master at making food that's both whimsical and delicious, and his chef-meets-Cirque du Soleil sensibilities translate to the cocktail menu. Here, a margarita ($16) is kissed by "salt air" (a bit of sea foam floating in the glass substitutes for a salt rim, giving you a more nuanced bit of salt in every sip); a dirty martini ($16) is graced with an olive spherification that bursts briny juice into your mouth when firmly pressed between your teeth; and a caipirinha ($16) is turned into a potent brain-freeze-inducing lime granita when mixed with liquid nitrogen. Each sip? Magical.
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