Left out of the South Beach nightlife

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An evening attempting to hit the clubs in Miami proves conclusively that I’m not part of the South Beach party scene

The velvet rope should have been the warning sign for me to turn and run the other way. I am not a velvet rope kind of person. I’m a dive bar kind of person. I generally don’t even go anywhere there’s a cover charge.

But I’m in South Beach, Miami, one of the clubbing and partying capitals of the U.S., so I feel obligated to give it a shot. Many South Beach hotels offer packages that include discounts and special privileges at the nearby clubs, because that’s what a lot of people come here for.

south beach sign

So here we are, waiting in line with all the young pretty people, whose outfits probably cost more than my last vehicle.

The first club we walk past is way too upscale and even has a sign outside detailing its dress code. I should mention that I’m wearing a tshirt and skinny jeans – I don’t do dress codes, either. Since there’s no way we’re getting in this one, we don’t bother stopping.

Another nearby club has a line around the block. Did I mention that I don’t do lines? A woman is checking names off a guest list. You can probably guess that I don’t do guest lists. We keep walking.

Eventually, we reach option #3 on our list and go inside. This place has no cover charge, but it also has no patrons. Either we’re way early, or this place is deader than Don Knotts. After a couple of overpriced drinks, it’s time to move on.

south beach clubs

Finally, we locate a reasonable club with a modest cover charge. There’s a velvet rope, but the line is short, and some people in line are even wearing shorts.

Inside, the place is crowded but not annoyingly so. I wanna pop bottles at the club, because that’s what you’re supposed to do in Miami, but that’s way beyond this traveler’s budget. A few glasses of cheap beer have to suffice. Drinks and dancing go way into the evening, and I get my fill of South Beach nightlife.

The evening is fun, but I actually enjoyed myself more the previous night, when I ended up at perhaps the only true dive bar in South Beach – a dark place called Kill Your Idols. There’s a chandelier made of empty liquor bottles, a Bruce Lee statue above the bar, and Beavis & Butthead playing on a video projector on the wall.

Not to mention a cool, alternative crowd. This is where I feel at home. You can have the clubs in South Beach – I’ll stick to places like this instead.



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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Chicago-based journalist and blogger who seeks out quirky sights and awesome destinations throughout North America and beyond.

25 comments on “Left out of the South Beach nightlife

  1. Love reading your take on places. When I was in the area, I thought, how do you tell the ladies of the night from the night club crowd – they all look the same to me. Expensive drinks in over priced places have never been my thing. Used to do the Dive Bars and shoot pool. Shooting pool meant I could socialize without talking much to anyone. Glad you found a place you liked.
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  2. I feel I have to step in on this one. I live in South Beach. And I agree about the whole club scene, it’s pretty much a bunch of BS, especially the ones on Washington which are targeted at tourists.

    There are a hefty amount of dive bars in South Beach (great blog post idea now that I think about it) which include Deweys, Ted’s Hideaway, Free Spirit, Lost Weekend (connected to Kill your Idol) and Liquor Lounge.
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    • We looked online for other dive bars and couldn’t find much. So you’re right – that would be a great blog post idea since there’s an internet void on that topic!

      We did find some recommendations on Yelp, but I didn’t trust them because they included sports bars, which, by definition, cannot be considered dive bars, at least the way I define the term. I’ll have to check out those other places the next time I make it back there.

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