The best restaurants to eat at the bar

90% of these restaurants don’t require reservations at the bar

Mar
06
2024

Keep this guide handy when you’re looking for the best restaurants to eat at the bar. 

We love a good bar. It’s our happy place where great conversation, food, and cocktails can co-exist with friends or a date. We also love that it’s an opportunity to make new friends with our neighbors and the people behind the bar.

There’s something about the bar experience that is more intimate than when you’re at a restaurant table. Maybe it’s the informality of being at the bar that allows you to loosen up and feel at home or the time spent in close proximity to those next to you and those behind the bar.

It’s also nice to know that you can still be spontaneous and show up last minute because 100% of these restaurants don’t require reservations at the bar.

Of course, some bar settings are trickier to get into than others. Regardless, we’ll point out what to do to increase your chances of grabbing a seat at the busier bars of these restaurants. Check out this list of our favorite spots to grab a full meal at the bar.

THE SURF CLUB RESTAURANT


Neighborhood: Surfside
Address: 9011 Collins Ave
Cuisine: Modern American
Good for: Eating at the bar, date night, drinks and bites, clients, special occasions

When there is a big name attached to a restaurant, expectations are always high and The Surf Club Restaurant by Thomas Keller does not disappoint.

Chef Thomas Keller is famously known for The French Laundry in Yountville, California, and Per Se in New York City. If and when you decide to stop by The Surf Club Restaurant, chances are that Chef Keller won’t be there. But it doesn’t matter. Excellence exists here. And we want to celebrate any major life achievements at the Surf Club Restaurant. But we also just want to go to their regal bar and feel like a million bucks.

The best way to experience the bar there is by arriving relatively early. We’d say before 7 PM. Start the night with the refreshing Basil Smash with gin. And then stick to small plates for sharing. The generous portion of French Onion Dip and Kettle Chips is a must if you’re just having drinks. However, if you plan to eat, order the best crispy, Jumbo Lump Crab Cake of your life, Hass Avocado & Garden Vegetable Louie, and the Hand-cut Steak Tartare.

WALRUS RODEO


Neighborhood: Little River
Address: 
5143 NE 2nd Avenue
Cuisine: 
Wood-fired kitchen
Good for: Eating at the bar, date night, dinner with friends

There are three things you need to remember about Walrus Rodeo: porchetta, pizza, and green mustard lasagna. And you can order all three of those at their wine bar. We love the bar, it’s inviting and we feel like you can easily make friends.

Walrus Rodeo, Boia De’s sister restaurant in the same Little Haiti shopping center is one of our favorite newer restaurants.

The menu theme is “charred”. They’re all about those wood-fired oven flavors with dishes like the Charbroiled Island Creek Oyster and Charred Bone Marrow. They recently updated their pizza selection and we need you to order the Clam Chowda Za with Florida little neck clams, potatoes, and crispy pancetta.

At Walrus they know what to do with the meats. And we love everything about the Porcelet Porchetta. Make a little lettuce wrap with the sliced porchetta, rocket pesto, pepperonata, and rodeo ranch. Oh and off the menu, you must order the mustard green lasagna with lamb ragu, grana padana, and stracchino. The most unique lasagna we’ve ever had in Miami.

 

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AMAL


Neighborhood: Coconut Grove
Address: 3480 Main Hwy
Cuisine: Modern Lebanese
Good for: Eating at the bar, date night, drinks and bites, dinner with friends, budget-friendly

Stop by Amal, when you’re in the mood to dress up, but don’t want to go to the Beach. This a great spot for those who have been on a few dates already and want to sit at their sleek bar.

The menu focuses on modern Lebanese dishes created by Chef Wissman Baki. Expect a sharing-style menu with dips, cold and hot mezze, and skewers.

The space is so freaking gorgeous. We honestly wouldn’t mind our house looking like this. Imagine, sandy interiors with earth tones like rose and terracotta. They’ve also incorporated small palm trees throughout the restaurant to give it a touch of Miami. Anyway, we could live here because it’s so pretty but also because the food is fresh and tasty.

Our favorite dishes so far (but for sure we’ll be back for more) include Amal’s hummus served warm with beef tenderloin, pomegranate, and roasted pine nuts; beef kibbeh on a bed of cucumber yogurt; the refreshing and sweet monk salad with roasted eggplant, capsicum peppers, parsley, and a pomegranate garlic emulsion.

 

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MR. OMAKASE


Neighborhood: Downtown
Address: 163 SE 1st St
Cuisine: Japanese, sushi, omakase
Good for: Eating at the bar, date night, eating alone

This might be cheating because the only seating available at Mr. Omakase is at their high-top sushi counter. Either way, it’s on this list because it’s worth it.

Expect top-quality nigiris enhanced with Chef Ryo Nato’s spin, all while keeping the balance, essence, and true flavor of each fish. We recommend going for their 18-course Omakase experience at $149. Why? Because adding by the piece (which you will, no arguments here) will be more expensive than committing to the worthwhile 18 courses. Look at the bright side, you won’t have to think, sit back, relax, and let them take you on this culinary adventure.

We had unichu-torokama-toroshirakoA5 wagyu, and more. Trust us; the Wagyu with uni combo is pure umami magic. Treat yourself to an elevated solo sushi date or go with three other friends (four is the maximum party size we recommend).

 

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CHAMPAGNE BAR AT THE SURF CLUB


Neighborhood: Surfside
Address9011 Collins Ave
Cuisine: Italian
Good for: Eating at the bar, date night, drinks and bites, happy hour

At the Four Seasons Surf Club’s Champagne Bar, it’s not just about the exquisite setting—this place takes you back in time. And when you first enter the open space, you’ll know the best seat is at the bar.

You’re on a journey to an elegant oasis with a palm-lined lounge, where the cocktail menu isn’t just a list; it’s a Miami Timeline, offering a variety of concoctions from different eras.

From the glamorous Champagne selection—Miami’s largest—to innovative riffs on classic cocktails inspired by global travels, there’s a sip for every taste.

We’re talking expertly crafted drinks like the 747, a refreshing blend of vodka, St-Germain, watermelon, and basil, or the WWW, teasing the palate with Absolut Elyx and Cocchi Americano. And for those seeking a personalized touch, the Cocktail Trolley is an adventure waiting to happen, where an $85 investment leads to a bespoke drink tailored to your preferences, perhaps uncovering a new favorite courtesy of skilled mixologists.

JAGUAR SUN


Neighborhood: Downtown
Address: 230 NE 4th St
Cuisine: Modern American, pasta
Good for: Eating at the bar, date night, budget-friendly, eating alone, drinks and bites, happy hour, late-night munchies, dinner with friends

Jaguar Sun is probably our favorite place in Miami. Some may say it’s a cocktail bar, others, a restaurant with an awesome pasta selection. 

If you’re planning on grabbing a seat at the bar we recommend arriving before 6 PM. You can order the full dinner menu as well as the best cocktails in Miami here. Come by yourself, with a date, a friend, or a frenemy. It doesn’t matter. 

You’ll be busy sipping on La Reforma, a mezcal cocktail with honeydew, falernum, cocchi americano, and bitters. Or stuffing your face with some of our favorite dishes like the Hokkaido Scallop, the Wagyu Beef Tartare, Agnolotti with blue crab, and the Spicy Rigatoni. Leave room for a Wolf Whistle, their version of a tequila espresso martini paired with dessert. Oh and also, if you stop by on Tuesday, they have $1 oysters available all night. The kitchen is open Monday – Thursday until 11 PM and Friday – Saturday until midnight.

 

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THE GIBSON ROOM


Neighborhood: Coral Way
Address: 
2224 SW 22nd St
Cuisine: 
New American, pub
Good for: Eating at the bar, date night, eating alone, drinks and bites, eating at the bar, late-night munchies, live music

Chef Michael Beltran and Ariete Hospitality Group have transformed The Mighty on Coral Way into The Gibson Room. It’s dark, mysterious, and a great spot to sit at the bar and listen to live music. 

For the best chances of grabbing a seat at the bar, we recommend stopping before 7 PM, on weekdays. Friday & Saturday are harder to predict and busier, however, we would still stop by before 7 PM. 

This neighborhood tavern host vinyl nights, live music programming with elevated cocktails, and pub-style dishes with a Miami twist. Stop by for the generous-sized Chicken Schnitzel. This one can be shared and it comes with heirloom tomato, salsa verde, fried egg, and boquerones.

Other favorites included the Grilled Oysters with garlic butter, parmesan, parsley, and the double smash Burger with B&B pickles, special sauce, American cheese, and shaved lettuce. We recommend washing down your meal with a House Gibson Martini with gin vermouth, sherry, and onions. 

The kitchen is open from 5 PM -11 PM on weekdays and 5 PM – 1 AM Thursday – Saturday. They also recently launched brunch with a vinyl DJ on Sunday from 11 AM – 3 PM if you want to sit at the bar for a Frita Benedict or Corn Beef Hash

BOIA DE


Neighborhood: Little Haiti
Address: 5205 NE 2nd Ave
Cuisine: Italian, pasta
Good for: Eating at the bar, date night, dinner with friends, eating alone, special occasions

Since 2019, Boia De has consistently delivered some of the best food in Miami, if not the best food. So naturally, it’s challenging to score a table at Boia De. However, if being flexible and/or spontaneous is your thing, keep this restaurant in mind. 

There is a walk-in counter, specifically held for those without a reservation. They open at 5:30 PM so we recommend arriving between 5:20 PM and 5:30 PM to score a table at the bar. 

Order the Baby Artichoke with brown butter hollandaise and pine nuts or Luci’s Chopped Salad to start. Work yourself down to the pasta section and try out the Saffron Tagliatelle Pomodoro and the Tagliolini Nero (served cold) with king crab, vin juane, truffle, and herbs. We also recommend getting the Lamb Ribs Fra Diavola with urfa yogurt and spicy cucumber pickles. End the meal with a Crispy Tiramisu or Carrot Cake. They’re constantly adding new dishes to the menu, so ask what’s new. 

DOYA


Neighborhood: Wynwood
Address: 347 NW 24th St
Cuisine: Turkish, Aegean, Mediterranean
Good for: Eating at the bar, big groups, birthdays, budget-friendly, date night, drinks and bites, eating alone, outdoor seating, dinner with friends

Doya located in Wynwood is serving Aegean flavors from the coast of Turkey. We are talking dips, local produce, refreshing and light plates.

At Doya you are stopping by for top-notch hospitality, a lively atmosphere, and one of the best meze dining experiences. You’re sitting at the spacious bar that was created to hold multiple dishes at a time. You can order the whole menu and not feel cramped when dining at Doya’s bar. Arrive before 7 PM to help your chances of snagging a seat at the bar. 

We love the Cretan Feta Dip, the Manti, beef dumplings, drenched in a garlic yogurt sauce, and the Adana Kebab with lavash bread. Oh, and if they have the Dolmas cabbage leaves, get them. 

 

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UCHI


Neighborhood: Wynwood
Address: 252 NW 25th St
Cuisine: Japanese, sushi
Good for: Eating at the bar, clients, date night, eating alone, drinks and bites, special occasions, happy hour

For those of you who can indulge on a night out in the middle of the week, Uchi will more than likely have your back when it comes to scoring a bar seating for those impromptu meals. We heard through the grapevine that Tuesday and Wednesday are a little bit easier to score a seat at this coveted spot. Make sure to arrive right at 5 PM. You are more than likely to catch a seat at the bar. Oh, and happy hour is available from 5:30 PM – 6 PM with lots of nigiri and sushi roll options. 

We love the hot and cold dishes off the menu at Uchi. However, if you’re in the mood for a modern take on Japanese sushi and crudo, check out the hama chili, ora king crudo with passion fruit zu, the kinmedai golden eye snapper, and the managatsuo pomfret.

 

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PHUC YEA


Neighborhood: Little River
Address: 7100 Biscayne Blvd
Cuisine: Modern Vietnamese
Good for: Eating at the bar, big groups, birthdays, budget-friendly, date night, eating alone, drinks and bites, outdoor seating, happy hour

Half Vietnamese and Half Cajun, you are getting a culinary melding from the chefs helming the kitchen front at Phuc Yea. With Aniece Meinhold’s Vietnamese heritage and Chef Cesar Zapata’s Colombian roots, they come together for soulful, family-rooted plates.

The recent new additions to the menu will have you coming back to Phuc Yea’s bar for more. We recommend passing through when the sun is down for a dimly lit night.

We always love the OG Edamame Hummus and PY Noodles. But if you want to try something new we’d go for the refreshing Watermelon SaladCurry Rigatoni with duck confit, and the Jumbo Diver Scallops with a green peppercorn sauce & cognac sauce.

 

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JOLIET


Neighborhood: South Beach
Address: 1209 17th Street
Cuisine: American, Southern, seafood
Good for: Eating at the bar, date night, clients, birthdays, drinks and bites, happy hour

Joliet, a new neighborhood seafood restaurant located in Miami Beach by the Lost Boy & Co. team proves to be an exciting and rare find. The menu created by the talented Chef Juan Garrido is inspired by the sweet, spicy, soulful, and bold Cajun flavors found in New Orleans cuisine.

If you’re stopping by with a friend or a date, we recommend sitting at the oyster bar so you can catch all the shucking.

You’re getting a dozen Oysters. We had the East Coast Beau Soleil and Momma Mia. They have four variations of mignonettes, fine herbs, Calabrian chili, passion fruit, and a classic white pepper. Get all of them.

The Fish Dip is by far one of the best fish dips we’ve ever had. Each bite is set to be enjoyed with chow chow pickles, and a housemade hot sauce on a fried saltine cracker. The New Orleans-style BBQ Prawns soaked in a Worcestershire, garlic, and beer sauce is a must-order. We also loved the simple Johnny Cakes served with pimento cheese and country ham. They tasted like childhood.

Sharing is the best way to do Joliet right, especially if you’re getting the Whole Broiled Lobster with melted Parmesan and lemon. This dish was delicious and cooked to perfection. Leave room for the Coconut Rum Cake. We took a second home.

Oh, and they also recently launched their brunch menu which has a delicious French Onion Burger with a 25 Wagyu beef patty served with Comte cheese, and garlic mayo on a brioche bun. Worth it.

 

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OVER UNDER


Neighborhood: Downtown
Address: 151 E Flagler St
Cuisine: American
Good for: Eating at the bar, birthdays, budget-friendly, dancing, eating alone, happy hour

When you want to be surrounded by neon lights, frozen drinks in plastic kiddie cups, and one of the best burgers in Miami, stop by Over Under before 7 PM to snag a bar seat with a friend. 

The cheeseburger from Over Under reminds us of an elevated version of In-N-Out’s burger. It’s a smash burger with Florida grass-fed beef, American cheese, shredded lettuce, onions, pickles, and a house-made 1000-island dressing. 

At Over Under, they serve food until midnight and offer happy hour from 5 PM to 7 PM. 

 

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MIAMI SLICE


Neighborhood: Downtown
Address: 1335 NE Miami Ct
Cuisine: American, pizza
Good for: Eating at the bar, budget-friendly, date night, eating alone, outdoor seating

Located in Downtown near the Arsht Center, Miami Slice, the most craved pizza spot in South Florida is of course on our list.

This artisan slice shop ahead of its time offers the most incredible pizza experience at the bar. Grab a front-row seat and witness every slice being finished and topped with the highest quality ingredients.

We recommend arriving at 6 PM and keeping your party small. The line usually starts forming at 4 PM but rather than waiting before it opens we recommend stopping by at 6 PM when everything is already flowing. You’ll leave your name and number with their staff and most likely get a call back at 8 PM. In the meantime, while you wait. Head by neighboring bars like Esotico Miami or Mike’s at the Venetia.

You can order by the slice when dining in. Ask for the “kicks” which are “IYKYK” type of add-ons like stracciatella, and hot honey to pimp your slice. Our recommendations include La Salsera with a kick of stracciatella and the Leeks on Bacon. But they’re honestly all good and you’ve never had a simple Margherita, this good. Miami Slice is currently open Wednesday – Sunday from 5 PM – 9 PM.

LUCA OSTERIA


Neighborhood: Coral Gables
Address: 116 Giralda Ave
Cuisine: Italian, pasta
Good for: Eating at the bar, birthdays, clients, date night, drinks and bites, outdoor seating, special occasions

Luca Osteria is Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli’s second restaurant. Tapping into his Italian background, Rapicavoli has created a fresh and inventive menu where every ingredient has a purpose. If you’re dining with one other person we recommend a seat at the bar. Arrive between 5:30 PM & 6 PM to help your chances of grabbing a bar seat. The best days are typically Tuesday – Thursday.

Expect to order half of the antipasti on the menu. Start with the Patate Fritte. It’s their soft potato balls/bites covered in Parmigiano fondue, egg yolk, and black truffle specks. The Grilled Wild Mushroom should also be part of your meal. These mushrooms are served with Bagna Cauda, a sauce from Piedmont with garlic, salted anchovies, and olive oil; and shaved bottarga di muggine or grey mullet roe. The simple Little Gem Lettuce with a cacio e pepe dressing is light, has a great crunch, and is finished with some limoncito.

Share a pasta dish. Our favorites include the Pasta al Limone with 24-month Parmigiano Reggiano or the Pasta al Pesto.

 

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PHOTO CREDIT Kristen Nix Travel
The best restaurants to eat at the bar