South beach might be party central, but it’s also the perfect place to stroll hand in hand with your significant other. Here’s a guide to a lovely, relaxed evening of entertainment, upscale dining, and picturesque walks under the warm Miami sun.
If you find yourself on the Alton side of Lincoln Road, which is recognized as the popular shopping district in South Beach, stop in for cocktails and dinner at Doraku, a hip sushi restaurant where beautiful locals blow off steam after work. It’s also known for its rockin’ happy hours. Try the lychee martini to beat the heat and calm the nerves and then the tempura battered rock shrimp that’s so good it’s like dessert. Afterwards, take a stroll down Lincoln and talk about horoscopes while window shopping and discussing wedding china. It looks like true love- South Beach style.
14. Books and Books
Further down Lincoln Road is Books and Books at 927, a casual patio bistro where you can enjoy a light salad with seared tuna or fried coconut shrimp. It’s also a chance to show off your smart side as you peruse their indie collection of limited edition art books, fiction, and travel section. Be sure to check out the Miami section with local art books and travel guides on art deco, history, and trendy hotspots. For the more picture and design oriented reader, they have a healthy collection of periodicals and European magazines on the patio.
With its amazing views of Miami Beach and succulent-filled wall garden, you won’t need much to impress your date. For some magical reason, everything looks more beautiful from great heights, especially at Juvia, a posh, upscale restaurant on the top floor of the 1111 Lincoln Rd. Building. Get swept away with the city views and beautiful peacocks strutting around in their best designer outfits. Add in a $400 bottle of prosecco and Asian-French fusion cuisine to seal the deal.
Come hungry because gourmet Southern food does not mess around. Imagine lots of grits, shrimp, and fried delicacies like chicken and green tomatoes, then smothered and covered in bacon, twice. With the food and drinks tasting this decadent, you’ll forget all about your first date jitters and get lost in Southern comfort food. It’s also one of the few places in Sobe that doesn’t play House music. Thanks for keeping it classy Yardbird. Whether you show up for an early cocktail or family-style meal, you have to try the chicken and waffles at this 16th St. and Lenox Ave. restaurant.
11. Dylan’s Candy Bar
Time to channel your inner four-year old and indulge in the disgustingly good sour candy at Dylan’s Candy Bar. The sugar rush will also help give you the energy for your last retail therapy dash on Lincoln Road. This two-story candy palace has everything dyed and emulsified that can rot your teeth and give you love handles. But who cares, you’re on vacation. Go ahead and indulge in chocolates, glow-in-the-dark cocktails, and gourmet jellybeans.
10. Bass Museum
Impress your date with intellectual stimulation and creative thoughts on postmodern sculpture within the decadent world of excess in South Beach. The ancient-looking temple was made in the 60s with simple, modern lines popular of Miami art deco in the area. Within the ancient coral structure you’ll find an ongoing exhibition of Egyptian mummies and artifacts in one of the most rare collections in the country. Also check out the well-curated line up contemporary artists in the ongoing show Temporary Contemporary, a look into postmodern art and political activism. Beat the kids and tourists and check out Beats After Sunset, an adult-only evening with a DJ and free drinks.
9. Vintro Restaurant
Sometimes hiding out from the insanity of Ocean Drive is the best place for love to blossom. Leave Washington Ave and the iconic strip for a night out with your friends and seek refuge on a quiet side street just past the Bass Museum in Collins Park. In this residential neighborhood you’ll find Vintro, an upscale, classic bistro in the trendy Vintro Hotel on Park Avenue. Seasonal Mediterranean cuisine and classy, sleek décor will put you in a cooler mood on those hot Miami nights. After dinner, walk off some calories and take a stroll just two blocks past Collins Park and the Bass Museum and then to the Beach Walk at the ocean. Welcome to paradise, the South Beach version.
8. Beach Boardwalk
Head east from Collins and you’ll run into the Boardwalk, a wooded path for walking, running, and the best views of the bright blue ocean. A stroll at sunset in paradise is just what the dating doctor ordered. What a great way to end a lovely evening of romantic courtship. Now is the time to up the ante and go for a long walk on the beach. And if you get thirsty, keep walking and you will probably run into someone selling fresh coconut water straight out of the fruit. Si romantique.
7. Versace Mansion Restaurant
If you really want to impress your date, the restaurant at The Villa Casuarina is the place to pop the big question. Outside the steps of this extravagant, neo-classical palace on Ocean Drive, Gianni Versace was gunned down in the afternoon of 1997. Now people gather outside to pay homage to the late designer or simply to pose with one of most posh addresses in Sobe. Splurge on a gastronomic, French-inspired delight and the most expensive food on the mainland. Dinner jackets and reservations are encouraged.
6. Beach Walk
Heading south from the boardwalk is the continuing path along the Beach Walk, a bike/foot path that will take you all the way to South Pointe Park. Along the way, check out the iconic art deco of Ocean Drive and relive scenes from Scarface and Birdcage cult classics. It’s great for people watching as tourists and locals mingle on the park benches and cute little dogs run around on their evening walks. If you get thirsty midway, dip into Starbucks at 15th St and view the famous art deco from across the street at Lummus Park.
5. The Broken Shaker
Have a drink at The Broken Shaker, an indoor/outdoor hipster wonderland with herb-infused cocktails and Banyan trees covered in Christmas lights. As part of the Freehand Miami Hostel on Indian Creek Drive, it’s a mixology mecca with well-trained, passionate bartenders. Every week there is a new cocktail menu based on fresh herbs available. With large trees, funky décor, and classic rock playing on the speakers, you’ll be transported out of the glitz and decadence of Sobe and to a trendy hipster bar in Williamsburg.
4. Tongue and Cheek
Situated in South Point at 5th St. and Washington Ave. is the modern bistro Tongue and Cheek, a bright, trendy spot with modern décor and an imaginative menu. Also, you’ll get points on your Food Network knowledge since this is the collaboration of efforts spearheaded by Iron Chef celebrity Jamie DeRosa. The menu is all about locally available, seasonal ingredients and with Miami’s mild winters, almost everything under the sun is available for your palatable delight in the tropics.
3. South Pointe Park
Go for a beautiful stroll on the pier at South Pointe Park and watch the cruise ships embark at sunset. To the south, catch a glimpse of the glorious, glittering skyline of South Beach along the Atlantic, a city in paradise. Step over to the rocks for an envious selfie or watch quinceaneras strike a pose at an entourage-filled photo shoot. Towards the marina, show your athletic side with a game of Frisbee or watch the kids play in the water park. It’s also a great spot to take little fluffy for a walk, plus extra points toward sainthood if you rescued him from the pound.
2. Smith and Wollensky
Impress your date with the upscale power-dining crowd at Smith and Wollensky, the premiere waterfront steakhouse in South Point. Go big with the surf and turf and hope somebody orders the lobster. It’s a great spot to watch the sunset over a savory, stick-to-the-bones uppercrust power meal. After a satisfying dinner, stroll over to Monty’s a few blocks away for an after dinner drink and homespun tales of local pirates.
Enjoy oysters from the raw bar as the sun goes down at the South Point Marina. At Monty’s, wash it back with a cold man soda. Still feeling hot? Take a dip in the bar side pool and listen to local bands and DJs. With the sunset in the distance, land a table full of beer and cocktails and you’ll get a kick out of the stories from pirates in between voyages at their favorite watering hole, a glorious ending to a perfect day in Miami. You never know, that pirate might be the proud owner of one of those mansion-like catamarans floating in the marina.