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Hidden Miami: the best places to eat, drink, rave and recover during Miami Music Week

Beyond the clubs and festivals, Miami has a vast number of great restaurants, cafes, bars and diverse attractions to offer. Here are our recommendations, with some insider info from local DJs...

Words: JAIME SLOANE 

New York may be known as the city that never sleeps, but with lax liquor laws that allow for drinking until 5am, and a cornucopia of fabulous places to see and be seen, Miami isn’t getting much rest either. The Magic City is a cauldron of global cultures, between Cuban food and Latin architecture, to Puerto Rican music and European fashion, and the only things hotter than the weather are the abundant spices. During Miami Music Week, the city is flooded with electronic music enthusiasts in search of all-night romps and beachfront dance-offs. But don’t spend all day nursing your hangover, because there is so much to see and do in Miami besides catching your favourite artist. We’ve curated a list of our favourite Miami spots and activities and asked the city’s native DJs to weigh in on how to best spend your free time there...

Top five places for a hangover feed 

01. The Social Club 
For an authentic South Beach dining experience complete with regional fare, chic décor and a glitzy crowd, look no further than The Surfcomber Hotel’s The Social Club. The brunch menu’s sharable, tapas-style plates offer a smattering of unique eats, ranging from fresh doughnuts and carrot cake waffles to biscuits and chorizo gravy, and even smoked brisket grilled cheese. If you want to power through the hangover, pair your food with one of the many boozy brunch options, like bottomless mimosas or a morning mule. Or, if you’re still hurting, splurge (at a $13 price point) on a fresh pressed juice. 
Address: 1717 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139 
Pricing: $15 per main course 

02. Ms. Cheezious 
There are few dishes better for sopping up a night of heavy drinking than gourmet-grilled cheese. Ms. Cheezious elevates everyone’s favourite comfort food with meats that are smoked and cured onsite, paired with sides of soups, salads, fries, wings, milkshakes, beer and wine. What started as a food truck concept back in 2010 has grown to be one of Miami’s most creative brick-and-mortar restaurants. Even the vegans and gluten-free eaters can enjoy some melty, gooey goodness and accompanying board games at this award-winning establishment.
Address: 7418 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138 
Pricing: $10 per main course 

"The Magic City is a cauldron of global cultures, between Cuban food and Latin architecture, to Puerto Rican music and European fashion..."

03. La Sandwicherie 
For more than 30 years, La Sandwicherie has been serving up fresh sandwiches, salads, smoothies and shakes. Best known for its French-style sandwiches, the crisp baguettes and flaky croissants are topped with the best quality vegetables, and finished off with La Sandwicherie’s famous magic sauce that tastes like a tart Dijon-based French vinaigrette. With locations in Miami Beach, Brickell, and a forthcoming new shop in the heart of Wynwood, La Sandwicherie is a storied Miami institution. 
Address: 229 14th Street, Miami Beach, FL, 33139 / 34 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL, 33130 
Pricing: $8 per sandwich 

04. La Moon 
Some may view the hotdog as a classic all-American dish, but you haven’t lived until you’ve tried a foot-long, Colombian-style dog from La Moon. The 12 inches of Kobe beef are slathered with a hearty helping of toppings such as bacon, chorizo, garlic mayo, pineapple, homemade mustard, ketchup, cheese, fried onions, potato sticks and even a quail egg. But the hotdog isn’t the only decadent option on the menu — try an arepa stuffed with steak and cheese to further a full belly. Famously featured on The Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food show, La Moon does affordable Colombian street-food right. 
Address: 97 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33130 
Pricing: $11 per main course 

05. Rail 71 Cafe 
Nestled in the heart of the Little River neighbourhood, Rail 71 Cafe is a health-conscious eatery that prides itself on handcrafting fresh plates on a daily basis, using the finest local products. Providing patrons the option of either a relaxing sit-down dining experience or a quick, on-the-go meal, Rail 71 caters to all types of clients in its charmingly rustic atmosphere. Its globally inspired dishes offer new takes on traditional breakfast and lunch staples, incorporating natural, wholesome ingredients, in-house prepared sauces and ethnic spices. Rail 71’s crown jewel is its premium coffee bar, with each cup crafted with care. 
Address: 7255 NE 4th Ave, Unit 111, Miami, FL, 33138 
Pricing: $8 per main course 

Top five hidden gems off the tourist track

01. The Alchemist 
Since opening its North Miami Beach location doors last year, The Alchemist has won over visitors’ hearts with its charming atmosphere and impeccable coffee. Housed in a cosy, barn-like building, The Alchemist’s welcoming atmosphere is highlighted in its sprawling gardens, glistening ponds and hand-written decorative notes. The coffee bar is more like a science lab, covered in beakers and flasks, where the “Coffee Scientists” concoct cold brew with beans roasted in-house, and cold-steeped for 24 hours, before being hand-shaken in a cocktail shaker and served over giant ice cubes in a Mason jar. 
Address: 17830 West Dixie Highway North Miami, 33160 
Pricing: $15 for brunch 

02. Miami Ironside 
Miami Ironside is a vibrant, mixed-use urban centre comprised of 60+ individual spaces including showrooms, art galleries, boutiques, gardens, fitness studios, a café and restaurant, and other artistic services. Conceived by developer and designer Ofer Mizrahi in 2008, the extensively landscaped creative crossroads is brimming with rainbow eucalyptus trees and South Florida native honeybee and butterfly patches. Miami Ironside also hosts public art exhibits and installations, and four pieces of the Berlin Wall are permanently on display. An eco-community dedicated to fostering sustainability, recycled and upcycled materials are implemented throughout the infrastructure, and biodynamic organic gardening techniques are used onsite. 
Address: 7610 NE 4th Court, Miami, FL 33138 
Pricing: Free to explore 

03. Ancient Spanish Monastery 
The oldest European-built structure in the Western Hemisphere is tucked away in Modern North Miami Beach. Brought to the U.S. in 1925 by William Randolph Hearst, then assembled in the ’60s, the 12th century medieval building is a striking ancient Spanish monastery, featuring carved ceilings and columns, stained glass windows, stone arches, ancient statues and a bell tower. Outside of the monastery lie lush gardens and pine forest, a spacious courtyard perfect for picnics, and a small museum gift shop. The monastery hosts an active congregation and offers free tours on weekends. 
Address: 16711 West Dixie Highway, North Miami Beach, FL 33160 
Pricing: Admission is $10 per person 

04. The Kampong 
The Kampong is the only one out of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens’ five locations that’s situated outside of Hawaii. Thanks to Miami’s tropical monsoon climate, the nine-acre site is home to thousands of plant species from across the globe, and one of the largest salt-water mangrove forests in the region. The Spanish and South-East Asian-inspired estate formerly belonged to famed botanical explorer Dr. David Fairchild, and also boasts one of the most spectacular views of Biscayne Bay. 
Address: 4013 Douglas Rd, Miami, FL 33133 
Pricing: Admission is $15 per person 

05. Lung Yai Thai Tapas 
Little Havana may be famous for its Cuban food, but it’s Lung Yai’s Thai Tapas that is drawing in visitors in droves. Helmed by Thailand native Chef Bas, the hole-in-the-wall joint serves up authentic food at cheap prices. The foodie haunt doesn’t accept reservations, and you can only order once per table, so take a close look at the menu of small plates before deciding between dishes like pad Thai and green-curry shrimp, or Northern Thai specialties like palo moo and nam prik ong. 
Address: 1731 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135 
Pricing: $8 per dish 

Top five cocktail bars 

01. Boombox 
A brand new bar and lounge in the heart of Midtown from the creators of hipster haven Beaker & Gray, Boombox is Miami’s next hotspot. Distressed concrete walls, antique metal lighting accents, and murals by local Wynwood artists Nicole Salgar and Chuck Berrett flank the urban chic-style space. Boombox’s cocktail selection pays homage to the delightfully tacky drinks of the ’80s and ’90s by reupholstering them with fresh ingredients and refined presentation; crowd-pleasers include The Longest Island Iced Tea and Lemon Drop The Mic. Each night of the week has unique musical programming, ranging from local bands and solo acts to DJs spinning open format, house and old-school hip-hop. 
Address: 3456 N Miami AVE., Miami, FL 33127 
Pricing: $14 per cocktail 

02. The Regent
The Gale Hotel’s swanky cocktail club The Regent holds true to its motto of ‘where the night begins and ends’. Inspired by a classic 1940s cocktail joint ambience, The Regent is a cosmopolitan space in an Art Deco hotel that serves a mix of traditional classics and daily concoctions, all produced by an expert group of connoisseur staffers, who provide an education within each drink. On weekends, guests can enjoy live music, before ending the night at the outdoor rooftop for a breathtaking view of Miami Beach under the moonlight. 
Address: 1690 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 
Pricing: $14 per cocktail 

03. Bay Club 
Adjacent to Mark Iacono’s famed Brooklyn pizza joint Lucali, Bay Club is the best combination of drinks and eats in Sunset Harbour. Firing up bar-size pies from Lucali, along with the restaurant’s full menu options, including the signature Nutella-and-ricotta calzone, and the ‘wild game platter’ charcuterie plate, complete with smoked duck, wild boar salami and venison, Bay Club will satiate your bites and beverage needs. Inspired by old Brooklyn Social clubs, the dimly lit, intimate space is a local watering hole and keeps guests entertained with a plethora of games and raucous karaoke nights. The cocktail menu may be pricey, but is worth every penny. 
Address: 1930 Bay Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139 
Pricing: $14 per cocktail 

"Winning multiple Miami New Times awards for having the city’s best cocktails, best jazz night and best after-hours, The Corner has a little something for everyone..."

04. The Corner 
Winning multiple Miami New Times awards for having the city’s best cocktails, best jazz night and best after-hours, The Corner has a little something for everyone. Head over to the hole-in-the-wall bar when it opens to mingle with the happy hour crowd and chow down on American food, or slide by after a big night out for sunrise libations and general tomfoolery. The bar serves up classic cocktails using spirits such as absinthe, white whiskey and moonshine, with outlandish names like Whitey On The Moon, Death In The Afternoon and Cham Wow. Open until 5am on weekdays and 8am on weekends, The Corner makes sure every partier always has a late-night oasis. 
Address: 1035 N. Miami Avenue, Miami, Florida 33136 
Pricing: $13 per cocktail 

05. Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink 
It’s been a little over a decade since James Beard award-winning Michael Schwartz’s Food & Drink outpost cropped up in the heart of Miami’s Design District. Since its inception, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink has been offering up just that — vibrant and pure flavours backed by farm-fresh ingredients, and warm hospitality. The neighbourhood bistro boasts one of the best happy hour deals in town; half off cocktails, wine, beer, snacks and oysters on weekdays from 4.30pm -7.30pm. The house cocktail menu is slim, but perfectly curated, with drinks like Yoda’s Gimlet and Dragon’s Kiss tickling the tongues of locals and visitors alike. 
Address: 130 Northeast 40th Street Miami, FL 33137 

Top five free things to do 

01. The Wynwood Yard 
Wynwood has become known in recent years as Miami’s trendiest neighbourhood, filled with art galleries and breweries galore, and The Wynwood Yard is at the epicentre of the action. A food yard, events/live music venue and outdoor hangout space all in one, The Wynwood Yard welcomes thousands of visitors to enjoy dozens of local eateries, performances, workshops and cultural activities. The culinary incubator offers unique dining options, ranging from plant-based bowls and poutine to Japanese-Spanish fusion and Caribbean-inspired soul food. Don’t forget to stop by the bar before exploring CHARCOAL, Miami’s only venue built out of modified shipping containers. 
Address: 56 NW 29th St, Miami, FL 33127 

"The Wynwood Yard welcomes thousands of visitors to enjoy dozens of local eateries, performances, workshops and cultural activities..."

02. BYOBIKE Tour 
Voted by the Miami New Times as the “Best Tour of Wynwood”, Miami’s Best Graffiti Guide is an artist-owned and operated company that provides local street art excursions paired with inspiring, engaging and educational backstories about the neighbourhood and the artists who paint in it. Best Graffiti Guide’s free tour is BYOBIKE, which takes place on Sundays at 11am. The one-hour complimentary graffiti expedition aims to spread the authentic voice of local artists to anyone who brings their own bicycle and wants to cruise around Wynwood on a creative excursion. 
Address: 2390 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127 

03. Simpson Park Hammock Pavilion 
In the midst of all the hectic commerce and humming nightspots that make up Brickell lies one of Miami’s best-kept secrets. Simpson Park is an urban green space and nature reserve overflowing with Florida’s indigenous plants, and a slice of serenity juxtaposed with the city’s unrelenting hustle and bustle. The seven-point-eight-acre park is one of the last remaining pieces of tropical hardwood hammock (a kind of closed canopy forest), with history dating back to 1913 when locals demanded it be preserved as a natural area. The pavilion, which was built by Miami architect Chad Oppenheim, gives a feeling of untouched land, with the structure becoming intertwined with the diverse native canopy of the hammock. 
Address: 5 SW 17th Rd, Miami, FL 33129 

04. Books & Books 
Spend an afternoon perusing the extensive selection of works from local and international writers alike at Coral Gables’ literary staple Books & Books. A beacon of success for independent booksellers, the nearly 40-year-old store hosts more than 60 author events per month, featuring Nobel Prize winners, artists, athletes, poets, celebrities and even presidents. Books & Books also has one of the most picturesque courtyards in town, as well as a café perfect for relaxing with a cup of coffee or glass of wine, as live music soundtracks the tranquil atmosphere. 
Address: 265 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134 

05. Purdy Lounge 
With a motto like “no attitude, no cover, no bullshit”, it’s impossible to have a bad time at Purdy Lounge. The dive-bar-meets-dance-club has been doling out authentic musical stylings and downhome vibes for nearly two decades, allowing tourists and locals to come together for the unadulterated purpose of letting it all hang loose. The low-key Miami Beach hangout is open until 5am seven days a week, and is adorned with funky vintage furniture, lava lamps and animal figurines. Entry-fee free spots are few and far between on South Beach, so soak in Purdy Lounge’s unpretentious magic. 
Address: 1811 Purdy Ave., Miami Beach, 33139 

Want more? Check out a selection of snaps from DJ Mag's 2018 pool party in Miami

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