Miami's known to have one of the most robust nightlife scenes in the nation, with thousands of visitors flocking to the streets of downtown Miami and South Beach just to spend their hard earned money on a good time out. Most of the time our scene is associated with the glitz and glam of the mega-clubs that rule the attention of our visitors, but there are also some low-key gems that give the locals a break, and are even favored over the clubs. While the rock scene in Miami may not be like the one in NYC, we still boast some pretty damn good bars that cater to those trying to get away from the commercial nightlife scene. Here are our picks for the best rock bars in Miami.
Best Rock Bar in Miami: The Vagabond
30 NE 14th Street
If a flashy rocker like Mick Jagger or Bowie were to put together their dream club, that would have to be The Vagabond. Although some may see it as more of a club, to us it's a true rock and roll bar, which also gives you the option of cutting up a rug on their dance floor. The outdoor area and front bar are two of the best rooms in Miami nightlife, with their patio area offering a fountain that spits out fire (yes, fire AND water). Owner Carmel Ophir is a big fan of all things rock, so it's no surprise that this place turned out this way.
Best Rock Bar in Miami: Churchill's Pub
5501 NE 2nd Avenue
There's absolutely no aspect of this legendary South Florida bar that doesn't scream rock and roll. This is where Marilyn Manson first got his start, further cementing the true character of Churchill's Pub as one of the best rock bars in Miami. They don't try and do up their place with fancy portraits or classic rockers, or some special ode to the Beatles. Nope, it's all about the grit at Churchill's Pub, and there's no better place to have a bar in the city in our opinion.
Best Rock Bar in Miami: Tobacco Road
626 S. Miami Avenue
It's the oldest bar in Miami, and has live music playing every single night of the week. Not just live music, but some form of rock and roll. That easily makes Tobacco Road one of the best rock bars in Miami. Walk up to any local in Miami and ask them where Tobacco Road is, and chances are that they’ll know. Now, we know what you’re thinking,“That’s not a hole in the wall bar.” Just go once and you’ll definitely agree with us that it is. Just because it’s a little bigger than your ordinary bar doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have that local haunt feeling. Tobacco Road is Miami’s oldest bar, and you definitely get the feeling once you walk through their doors.
Best Rock Bar in Miami: Automatic Slims
1216 Washington Avenue
Automatic Slims reminds me of the type of bar you'd find on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. The lighting is bright and tacky, the decor is as 'off' as a dated gallon of milk, but the booze flows like wine! If Mötley Crüe were still in their prime, this would definitely be one of their favorite places to hang. While the music selection primarily depends on what DJ is there that night, there's always some kind of 80's hair metal that gets play during the night. Although at times it may seem like it's manufactured to be this way (there's really no authentic feel), it doesn't matter because it still attracts the kind of crowd that opts for a crazy night at a bar, rather than club.