Who doesn’t love a good secret? We’ll let you in on this one: there’s something sexy about exploring the unknown, a night out turning into an exciting adventure. Clubs and bars might not be doing it for you anymore, so add a little secrecy into your weekend routine. Mix a hidden backdoor in with dancing and drinks, and fall down the rabbit hole of speakeasies in Miami you just have to try.
Appearances can be deceiving. Who knew when grabbing a late night meatball sub you could stumble into an elegant, vintage cocktail lounge? NDA is a new, intimate, disco-inspired bar and lounge, reflecting inspirations of Old-Hollywood glitz and glam. The atmosphere blends old and new together with vintage decor and modern vibes. Dim lighting creates a sense of warmth and secrecy, with a disco ball lighting up the middle of the room — perfect to dance the night away. Orange velvet coats the room, lining the walls and lavish banquette couches, dressed with extravagant feathers to create a sense of comfort and class. The music does not disappoint: a live DJ spinning a variety of upbeat music from hip-hop to Latin to throwbacks to house remixes.
NDA has an extensive list of delicious cocktails curated by beverage director Andi Cruzatti. The must-try drinks include: “Y Tu Mamá También” — jalapeño tequila, mezcal, lime juice, watermelon chai syrup and ginger beer. “La Vie en Rose” — rose-infused vodka, framboise raspberry beer reduction, lime and bitters. “Catch Me If You Can” — gin, simple syrup, lime, plum liqueur and rosemary.
How to find it: Step inside The Mad Butcher, a gourmet sandwich shop with an old-school deli vibe located in Wynwood. To your left of the brightly lit menu, you’ll see a cute, retro photo booth next to the bathrooms. Walk past the bathrooms, through the plastic butcher-shop curtains and you’ll find yourself in a metal room bathed in red light. If you see a slab of fake meat hanging, you’re in the right place. Open the door to the walk-in cooler and suddenly you’ve been transported into the cozy, ’70s-style speakeasy.
Address: 2300 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127
More tacos and clubs … what could be Better? A not-so secret speakeasy hidden behind a delicious taqueria’s porta-potty. Yum. Bodega is a Miami gem. With a lively crowd, always fun music and tasty drinks, Bodega is iconic for a night out with
friends. Bodega is dark and intimate, yet loud and filled with dancing and boozing. Bodega shifts from casual to more formal as the day goes on, enforcing a dress code on Fridays and Saturdays, meaning no shorts or hats. Being a popular destination, there’s
usually a line out the door and, if you can finesse your way to the front, there might be a cover fee depending on how busy it is. Don’t let this scare you — it’s often worth it.
The lounge has two comfortable stories lined with mismatched plush couches. The
interior is wooden and rustic with hanging lights creating an industrial, homey vibe. And you simply can’t say you went unless you take a picture of the iconic “Love Me, F*ck Me” LED sign that lines the wall. There is a happy hour daily from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., but the crowd doesn’t fill up until around midnight. They offer a variety of events including NFL Sundays and live music nights, anything you could want from a bar. Bodega also just expanded, opening up a new location close to the University of Miami in Coconut Grove, located at 3419 Main Highway, Coconut Grove. This spot offers not only a lounge but a private and exclusive mezcaleria upstairs as well. “I’m so excited they opened up a Bodega closer to campus! It makes life so much easier,” said senior Vivi Martell. “Grove Thursdays are back.”
How to find it: Walk through the blue porta-potty covered in graffiti and stickers. Simple as that!
Adress: 3419 Main Hwy, Coconut Grove, FL 33133
Coyo Taco is the ideal taqueria after a night out with a great deal on margarita jugs. However, what you might not know is there is a hidden club in the back of the Wynwood location, where unsurprisingly, you’ll find heaven in the form of tequila and mezcal. Dark and crowded, the Latin influence takes over and has you moving your hips in ways you didn’t know you could. The walls vibrate with reggaeton, creating a high-energy oasis. And while you’re there make sure to get one of their famous margs.
How to find it: Once at Coyo Taco, walk past the wooden benches outside and straight to the back where the bathrooms are. Past the bathrooms, you’ll see a blue door labeled “employees only.” Don’t let this fool you. Enter this and you find yourself in a dark hallway with an exit sign. If the pounding music wasn’t enough of a clue, step through the curtains and you’ll have made it: a hideaway Latin bar.
Address: 2320 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127
New York City is in Miami — and we’re not talking about the student population. Dante’s HiFI in Wynwood is where hipster meets music junkie. When you first step in, you’ll see a collection of Polaroids taken and signed by various past celebrity guests. Dante’s HiFi is aesthetically pleasing and oozes with sophistication and soul. With the gold, velvet-pleated walls, plush couches, dim lighting, staff dressed in Newsie caps and suspenders, and the bar itself being a bookshelf library of vinyl records, it feels just like an old jazz bar.
Dante’s HiFi is a Japanese-inspired listening bar, where the purpose is to come, sit, sip your drinks and listen, fully immersing yourself in the music. There’s a more mature crowd here compared to other places. It’s nirvana for audiophiles, a dream come true with lofi beats and hifi vibes. The DJ’s selection is rich and diverse and curated by music director Rich Medina from his own personal collection. Although there is no cover, they offer memberships for record fanatics, which includes exclusive events at least once a month.
They offer a vast menu of Miami-inspired specialty drinks, the most on brand being “Skinny Love,” a very smoky drink made of mezcal union, toasted rice, lychee and lime. However, they emphasize the importance of ambience and art here rather than chugging down drink after drink.
How to find it: Stumble along the streets of Wynwood and you’ll find a well-lit alley with lots of art — walk down that; it’ll lead you into an open plaza marked by wooden benches and a giant painted masked cat on the wall. You’ll see a plain building with black caged windows, a door topped with an umbrella-shaped cover, and the numbers 519. You’ve made it.
Address: 519 NW 26th St, Miami, FL 33127
Tall Beautiful Views of Brickell: Tea Room. Located on top of the EAST Miami hotel at 788 Brickell Plaza.
Where Sake & Wine Meet: Kojin. Located in the back of ramen restaurant, Hachidori, at 8222 NE 2nd Ave.
Elegant Late Night Cocktail Galore: Swizzle Rum Bar & Drinkery. Located inside The Stiles Hotel at 1120 Collins Ave., Miami Beach.
Día de los Muertos-inspired Club: Don Diablo. Located inside the restaurant El Santo at 1618 SW 8th St., Miami.
words_kelly bramson. design&photo_daniella pinzón.
This article was published in Distraction’s Winter 2022 print issue.