The Electric Pickle

THE ELECTRIC PICKLE

2826 N Miami Ave
Miami FL33127

Long before the fabulati, glitterati, and assorted other “ati” arrived in Wynwood, there was The Electric Pickle. This tiny, dark, dank, dingy lounge on a dodgy stretch is the perfect place to gather your friends for a night of deep beats. A duplex den of DJ-dom, The Electric Pickle is where many a big-name spin doctor makes a house call after an area gig. The dance floor is reminiscent of that scene when Charlie Brown and his Peanuts gang head bop to theme music, but unlike other Miami places where actual dancing is as antiquated as a pay phone, you really will be moving and shaking in here. You won’t feel rushed, as the scene keeps going until 5am. Kick back with all the time you need to catch music that’s marinated, mashed, and, at times, minimal. But the music is far from simplistic. You and your crew will be treated to a custom Dynacord sound system, coming back crystal clear in the many shades of electronic music. Get to grooving with the friendly locals until the space feels tight enough to burst. Then signal your friends it’s time to head to the outdoor patio for a breather and a bacon-bourbon Old Fashioned. Though of-the-moment cocktails are served, the Electric Pickle is anything but trendy. It’s the antithesis, in fact, which is why Miami’s own brand of beatnicks call the place their own.

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Photograph by Darren Johnson

Hoy Como Ayer

HOY COMO AYER

2212 SW 8th St Miami FL 33135

As multi-culti as Miami is, it’s easy to get caught up in the city’s mainstream club world, the one whose Top 40 soundtrack is about as edgy as a sphere. While you may not speak Spanish or understand the city’s Latin culture beyond a cafecito, Hoy Como Ayer will school you, if just for one night, in the art of cool Latin. Your crew will be feeling the energy as you get situated in a space reminiscent of a basement in the old ¿Qué Pasa, USA? days. Wood-paneled walls are decked with pictures of music legends Celia Cruz and Benny Moré and retro Cuban ads. This is where Auto-Tune dies and live music thrives. Show off your moves as you dance to Afropop tribal beats, or take in one of Miami’s best Latin fusion jam bands. A night here is like stepping onto the set of a foreign flick with no subtitles, where intoxication comes from the sultry sounds of salsa and the sweet scent of cigars mixed with sweat. Let the crowd impress you, half hipster and half hardcore dance and music fans. Even if Arthur Murray has never tempted you, feel free to mix it up on the dance floor—this is the kind of place where people get possessed by the music. The cocktails are always good here, too, so saddle up to the bar and order yourself a Cuba Libre and marvel in the magic. You’ve just been cultured.
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Photograph by YoLaGringo
Edited by BlackBook

Red, the Steakhouse

RED, THE STEAKHOUSE

119 Washington Ave Miami Beach FL 33139
(305) 534-3688

Steakhouses in Miami are ubiquitous, but what’s not so common is an import from the Midwest that has the chops to keep up. For a side of glitz with your spectacularly seasoned slab o’ meat, Cleveland’s Red, the Steakhouse is where you and your gung-ho gang of gastronauts will gather. The modern black-and-black hot spot has been a fave among many, from Michael Jordan and Rosie O’ Donnell to the pied piper of all adventurous eaters, Andrew Zimmern. But since you and your crew are more what’s what than who’s who, you’ll be arriving prepared to feast. As you enter, scope the buzzy bar crowd, gathered for tapas hits like foie gras en bocal and beef jerky. Loosen the belts in preparation for steakhouse faves like Aged USDA or Certified Angus, seasoned with a magnificent mashup of kosher salt, tellecherry pepper, and a brush of aglio. Purists in your group may be skeptical, but after that first bite they’ll be instant converts. Don’t let the unabridged list of sides cause confusion: tell your crew they can’t go wrong with parmesan tater tots or truffled whipped potatoes. If you have some seafood lovers in the house, they won’t be neglected, as Red has an excellent in with the Deadliest Catch dudes, scooping up some of the finest crab this side of Dutch Harbor.
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Photograph by momo
Edited by BlackBook

Yakko-San

YAKKO-SAN

3881 NE 163rd St North Miami Beach FL 33160
(305) 947-0064

After a night of rolling through the Miami club scene with your best buds, you’re feeling pumped and hungry. It’s 2am. What would Anthony Bourdain do? When in Miami, actually, Bourdain and pretty much anybody else with a taste for authentic Japanese soul food would be headed to Yakko-San, where a steaming bowl of angel hair with uni and ikura will take the edge right off the night. You may be at a strip mall, but you’ll appreciate the bright, clean interior, which has plenty of room for you and your crew. Settle into the scene (or lack thereof) and get focused on the food. Reasonably priced and not from these parts, Yakko-San’s menu is a marvel in itself, with everything from grilled beef tongue and black pork belly to chicken gizzards with chives and bean sprouts. For the less adventurous, there are also stellar sushi, soups, and noodles to choose from. A full bar is definitely a draw for boozehounds looking for a 3am nightcap, but the house’s kimchi hotpot of pork, tofu, and clams will make even the most bleary-eyed alert with raging taste buds. At Yakko-San, everyone from cheflebrities to, well, you, are greeted with a welcoming Irasshaimase! which may be more than you got from any SoBe club. Respect and ramen. Now that rocks.
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Photograph by Stu_Spivack
Edited by BlackBook

The River Seafood & Oyster Bar

THE RIVER SEAFOOD & OYSTER BAR

650 S Miami Ave Miami FL 33131
(305) 530-1915

Your date’s no dummy, they know why you made reservations at an oyster place, but all ulterior motives will be set aside after one taste of the next-level mollusks at The River Seafood & Oyster Bar. This bustling spot in Brickell may not be a boldface name in the gossip pages, but you and your sweetheart don’t need a Beyonce sighting to fall in love with stellar cocktails and seafood shipped fresh daily from all over the world. The interior is small and sleek, making it easy to feel intimate. Start off your night out with an order of flavor-packed fire-roasted oysters, with sofrito butter, ancho cream, manchego, and chorizo. Then slurp down a dozen oysters on the half-shell, a briney second course to prep you for the marvelous mains. On this round, give the bivalves a pass and keep your taste buds grooving by opting for the Key West snapper filet, pan-fried and served with avocado-tomato salad, lemon vinaigrette, plantain chips, and sea salt. Or maybe it’s time for bacon-wrapped barbecued cobia, which proves yet again that everything’s better with bacon. Seal the night by clinking glasses with elegant after-dinner drinks like the French 75, which mixes gin, lemon, cherries, and champagne. As if the oysters weren’t enough.
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Photograph by Malcolm Murdoch
Edited by BlackBook

Joey’s Wynwood

JOEY’S WYNWOOD

2506 NW 2nd Ave Miami FL 33127

The Great Pizza Debate is one you and your friends have all the time. As with Biggie vs. Tupac, there are strong regional biases, but this is Miami, where pizza tends to be dodgier than the street cred of the latest auto-tuned wannabe. Thank goodness, then, for Joey’s Wynwood, an ideal destination for primo pies on your next friends’ night out. You’ll be feeling stylish when you step into the cozy, industrial-style space. Stride across the concrete floors and get comfortable, letting the scents from the open kitchen waft over to your table. You can keep everybody in your crowd happy with a full menu of pastas, meats, and seafood dishes like an awesome baked cod with eggplant, capers, and olive sauce. But maybe by now the pizza debate has reared up again. Exhibit A for awesomeness is the house’s Sfiziosa, a smart mix of mozz, arugula, fresh pepper, bresaola, and parmigiano. Or throw a ringer into the mix by going sweet and hot with the Dolce e Piccante, which mixes fig, Gorgonzola, honey, and hot peppers, once again showcasing the house’s amazing thin crust. Pies here may not solve the Great Pizza Debate once and for all, but in tandem with the excellent wines and creative cocktails, they’ll make the conversation very, very palatable.
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Photograph by Luca Nebulani
Edited by BlackBook

The Federal

THE FEDERAL FOOD DRINK & PROVISIONS

5132 Biscayne Blvd Miami FL33137
(305) 758-9559

Most gastropubs are more pub than gastro, but when it comes to finding cheeky, creative cuisine on your next night out with friends in Miami, look no further than the Federal Food Drink & Provisions. This Biscayne Boulevard hot spot celebrates “American integrity, ingenuity, and craftsmanship,” albeit in a strip mall, but that’s part of the delicious irony of it all. Once inside, you and your gang will be transported to another place and time. Relax into the country-cozy, Anthropologie-inspired interior of reclaimed wood and Mason jars. Here’s the rub on this gastro grub: Not every bar can boast a Jar O’ Duck, filled with crave-worthy duck rillettes, charred fluff, and candied sweet potato. Get all caught up with your crew while you knock back some Buffalo pig wings, with all the fried awesomeness of chicken wings and blue cheese sauce, only with pork. Your crowd likes it all-American? Try the fried chicken, testing your buds to see how they do with the housemade hot sauce, which is joined by buttermilk ranch dressing and pickled watermelon radish. Who’s the colonel now? You and your foodie friends, that’s who. All cheekiness aside, you can also impress your besties here with serious wine dinners from boutique labels, beer suppers with craft breweries, and special nights like Crawdad Wednesdays. The next time you’re on the hunt for an authentic gastropub experience, make a Federal case of it.
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Photograph by Kalle Scharlund
Edited by BlackBook

Wynwood Kitchen & Bar

WYNWOOD KITCHEN & BAR

2550 NW 2nd Ave Miami FL33127
(305) 722-8959

Those friends of yours who always like to be on the cutting edge will love Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, because not only is it edgy, it’s pretty sharp, too. WKB, as they call it, isn’t just a restaurant or a bar. It’s part of an art campus that houses the Wynwood Walls, where you and your crew will steep in culture as you check out murals by graffiti and street artists like Futura, Kenny Scharf, and Shepard Fairey. Once inside, you’ll bask in a vibe that’s just as artsy, with an industrial interior warmed by driftwood accents and dark wood tables. Chef Miguel Aguiar’s modern Latin cuisine will brighten your taste buds with savory dishes like ropa vieja empanadas or the signature WKB Hamburgesita—chorizo and chicken with pickled jalapeño, romaine, and a cascabel chili glaze. Make sure to sample a cocktail named after your favorite artist. The David Sherry is both hip and delicious, with a smart mix of pear schnapps, tequila, and jalapeño. Savor an after-dinner drink with your gang so you can all enjoy the energy of the bar and its creative canvas of arty types. The scene is a perfect match for the scenery on the walls outside.
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Photograph by Juan Andres Martinez
Edited by BlackBook

Bourbon Steak

BOURBON STEAK

19999 W Country Club Dr Aventura FL 33180
(786) 279-6600

Michael Mina didn’t become a famous chef for nothing, you know. To impress your honey with a night of seriously decadent wining and dining, make a date to sample Mina’s magnificent hand at beef and butter, lamb and olive oil, and pork and bacon fat. Mmmm, bacon fat. At Bourbon Steak, you will break many rules—diets first and foremost. For good reasons, the top three being: Duck. Fat. Fries. Enter through a dramatic glass box. Admire the sleek glass, mirrors, and flattering lighting as you’re transported to a steakhouse of a bygone era, a cavernous homage to carnivorous activity. Cast an eye out for celebrity regulars like James Caan and the still-tanorexic George Hamilton, whose hue pales in comparison to the rich, dark glow of the rest of this place. Basking in the beefiness, start off in the raw with an American Wagyu beef tartare. Keep with the theme as you follow up with more meat—perhaps the glazed beef short rib, or an actual slab of Japanese Wagyu, A5 grade. That’s the very tippy-top of the line (but you knew that). When it comes to sides, don’t give your date a hard time if indecision sets in: truffled mac ‘n’ cheese or a trio of the aforementioned duck fat fries from the burger bar menu? Get both. And speaking of burgers and bar, you may want to book your follow-up date, maybe returning on a less formal night when you can mull that bar menu with a few cocktails and some truffled popcorn. Mmmm, truffled popcorn.
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Photograph by Arnold Gatilao
Edited by BlackBook