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A Newcomer's Guide to Miami Bars

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The first bar Sam attempted to go after he first arrived in Miami was a trendy club. He chose it only because it was close to where he was living in Miami at the time. He didn't realize the drinks were $15 (and yet served in 50 cent plastic cups with 10 cent drink straws), bottle service started at $300 for a bottle of wine (and $500 for a spirit), admission was $20 (at least for this particular night), men were rarely let in to these types of clubs alone (homophobia, natch), and, most importantly, there was a dress code, and that dress code doesn't allow Hawaiian shirts and casual shoes. Sam muscled his way through a long line of clubgoers in expensive clothing and a few bouncers to get to the club's nearest bar. Before he could order a drink at the bar, the same bouncers he muscled past grabbed him and threw him out the club.

"What the hell?" Sam said as the bouncers threw him out of the club. "I just wanted a beer!"


After Sam was kicked out of the trendy club he wandered down to Mango's Tropical Café. It's a touristy spot in South Beach, known for having dancers in animal print dancing on the bars. Sam was let in by the bouncer. From there he walked into the club's bar. There were televisions playing basketball in the club, and the music wasn't half bad.

The bartender at the bar handed Sam a drink menu. He briefly looked at it, but he'd already made up his mind: he wanted a mojito. The bartender had moved to another part of the bar.

"Miss?" he tried telling the bartender. "Miss? I'm ready to order."

The bartender couldn't hear Sam.

"Miss? Miss?"

Sam got up on the bar.

"Miss?" He was forced to talk over the music. "Miss? I'd like a mojito, please!"

Bouncers pulled Sam off the bar and pushed him out of Mango's.

"All right, all right. But my tab's still open, and I need someone to close it for me."


The next day, Sam went to Wet Willie's. Wet Willie's has a good view of Ocean Drive as well as a large amount of people at the bars there. The bouncer let him in and Sam climbed the stairs up to the bars. Sam sat at one of the bars.

"Hi there," Sam said to the bartender. "I see you have a margarita on the menu. I'd like one. Thanks."

Wet Willie's doesn't serve their drinks out of spirit containers; they serve frozen, alcoholic drinks from slushie machines. The waitress poured a margarita slushie into a Styrofoam cup and handed it to Sam. Sam took a sip.

"What the hell is this? Is this some girly drink? I asked for a margarita—you know, something in a glass with salt on the rim and maybe a lime wedge, not this thing in a Styrofoam cup." I want my money back.

The bartender ignored Sam.

"Didn't you hear me? I want my money back."

Once again, bouncers took Sam out of Wet Willies and put him back on Ocean Drive. The bartender nonchalantly threw Sam's drink in a wastebasket.


The next day Sam walked into a club on Washington Avenue. There was a small line leading up to the club, which wouldn't be seen as a club during the day. Sam got behind the line and got in the club.

He walked into an area that looked like an English pub. He sat at the bar there. He noticed the bar had a gay theme as the bartender walked up to him. The club's theme didn't bother Sam.

"Excuse me, but do you have any mojitos here?"


"Why not? This is a bar. You're a bartender. You can make a mojito. I mean, it's part of your job description."

"We don't serve mojitos here. Try the next bar."

"But you're a bartender."

"We serve specific types of drinks at this bar. We have several bars in this club. Try another bar."

"But I don't want to get lost looking for a bar that serves a damn mojito. Can you make me a mojito, please?"


Bouncers kicked Sam out of the gay club.

"How do people even deal with that club?" Sam said as he was kicked out. "I bet it's a maze in there."


That evening Sam finally found a bar. Well, it wasn't really a bar. It was a Cuban restaurant. On tap was a variety of beers and mixed drinks. The music was soft, much softer than it was in the other bars Sam went to, and instead of standing at a bar, he could sit down and order what he wanted. Sam sat down at a table.

"What would you like to order?" the waitress asked him.

"A couple of beers for starters. And maybe a mojito or two, but not right now."

Sam looked around the restaurant. He nodded. "Yeah, I'm gonna like this place."