If you’ve come to Miami in search of a party, be prepared to find more than you might have hoped for in South Beach, the country’s nightclub capital. You can walk up and down Washington Avenue and gawk in amazement at all the scantily-clad beautiful people zealously waiting to cross past the velvet ropes as if waiting to get into heaven. Not all clubs are created equal, though. Some are underground (like, literally subterranean), while others have starlit skies— their own version of a stairway to heaven. And then there are those that take advantage of Miami’s sunny climate during the day. After all, revelry in the Magic City isn’t just a nocturnal occasion—it’s a lifestyle. Champagne sparklers, acrobatic performers, and sound so crisp it makes you feel you’re inside a boom box — South Beach clubs are pure ecstasy, and anyone who visits is addicted. Just be careful not to overdose.
No other nightclub opening was so highly anticipated as STORY. It’s 2012 debut—the day after Christmas, with a weeklong DJ marathon leading up to New Year’s Eve—made nightlife history. This is where the Miami Heat chose to celebrate their 2013 championship win, and where locals go to commemorate the weekend. There are plenty of reasons to experience STORY, but the most important of all is to do it for the morning-after story.
A million-dollar renovation spurred a resurgence of this iconic Washington Avenue mainstay that first opened its doors in 2004. Superstar DJs come to Mansion for the bombastic sound system, while partygoers come for the revolving, 360-degree LED ceiling and Cirque du Soleil-style productions. Once a theatre, Mansion has kept its over-the-top acts going for more than a decade. For the best seat in the house, head to the second-floor, mezzanine section.
The toughest door in town, this megaclub inside the ritzy Fontainebleau is one of the top-grossing clubs in the country. LIV works harder than most of the population in Miami, only taking off Monday and Tuesday. Team No Sleep is in full effect in this adult playground, which always has a celebrity in the house or a class act DJ.
This subterranean disco lounge, furnished like a 70’s basement, is a blast from the past. Old-school hip-hop tunes and vinyl records played through 40-year-old stereo equipment take you back to the days where all that mattered was peace, love and what song was up next. If it weren’t for the palm trees and naked mannequins, you might forget you’re in South Beach altogether.
The world-famous Nikki Beach, at First and Ocean, is as beachside as you’ll get while still partying—in cabanas, deck chairs and the bookable day beds. Amazing Sundays offer a funday and then some: Start with brunch and side of DJ spinning live on the sand. To keep grooving in the indoor lounge—after the sun goes down and till the crack of dawn—just make sure you’re wearing “sophisticated beach attire.” Guys, no tank tops.