South Florida Living for Nightlife Seekers

  • Josh Dotoli
  • 02/22/20

As the sun sets in South Florida, beachgoers become night owls, with a vibrant nightlife scene replete with everything from Michelin-star restaurants and swanky lounges to beachside bars and high-energy dance clubs. 

Whatever your pleasure, the beauty of this region is there’s a variety of nightlife options.

There’s a reason why everyone from Sean Combs and Gloria Estefan to Pit Bull, the Kardashians and Shaquille O’Neal have homes in South Florida.

“The majority of my clients are not from South Florida,” said Reid Heidenry of ONE Sotheby’s International Realty. “Many of these people who call Miami home, or second, third, fourth or fifth home are from all over Europe, South America and the entire U.S.; that diversity is what really makes it so special.”

Scoping the Scene

“South Florida offers perfect weather all year round with many waterfront dining and lounge options. Lots of clubs, amazing restaurants, hip bars, professional sporting teams and tourism keep places open seven days a week,” said Josh Dotoli, principal of the Josh Dotoli Group and real estate adviser for Compass Florida.

Miami, the epicenter of South Florida nightlife, is as famous for its chic bars and restaurants as it is for the beautiful people who frequent them. 

“The social scene in Miami is whatever you want it to be,” Mr. Heidenry said.  

If you’re not a pool person but crave a beach setting, head to members-only SoHo Beach House and kick back with creative cocktails.

For an unpretentious but busy place to have drinks with friends, the Wynwood Arts District area has lots of bars and lounges and places to grab a nightcap. Two new hotspots include 1-800 Lucky, a sweeping food hall with private food stands in one area and a DJ and bar in another, and Wood Tavern, an artsy-meets-industrial outdoor spot with communal tables that specializes in craft beer and cocktails, Mr. Heidenry said. 

And, if you’re more of the nocturnal sort and prefer to leave your house at midnight and come home at 10 a.m. the next day, there are any number of nightclubs, such as trendy Socialista, E11 and Space, in Downtown Miami that keep the beat until the wee hours of the morning. 

“Miami is year-round and 24/7,” Mr. Heidenry said. “You can step into a nightclub such as LIV, Story, Rockwell or Wall any night of the week and experience performances by some of the best musicians in the world.” 

There are underground options at places like Don't Sit on the Furniture and neighborhood haunts such as Mini Bar, located south of Fifth, Bodega on West Avenue, and Bay Club, which has an epic Karaoke night on Thursdays.



“If you’re looking for more than a bar but less than a club, both Living Room at Faena and Cipriani’s newest lounge, Socialista, are incredible, and if you prefer to take your boat out and pull up to a wild party, Kiki's on the River and Seaspice never disappoint,” Mr. Heidenry said. 

While generally, people don’t have to pay more to live near nightlife because everything in Miami is so close, “some do pay more to live south of Fifth because of all of the high-end restaurants,” Mr.  Heidenry said.  “South of Fifth has some of the most luxurious residential buildings in Miami. There are very few single family homes, but the neighborhood is full of great restaurants and has very little nightlife and hotels, so locals really love it.”  

North of Miami, Fort Lauderdale offers its fair share of bustling bars, gastropubs and restaurants, Mr. Dotoli said. A thriving craft beer scene keeps the hops brewing along the ale trail, which features more than 45 breweries, beer gardens and pubs. Check out what’s on tap at local favorite Funky Buddha Brewery, which blends everything from notes of s’mores to sangria in its beers.

For a sip in a sophisticated setting, Fort Lauderdale has an assortment of wine bars, such as 33rd Street Wine Bar, which lets you mingle and sample a glass of vino or two from among 150 different varieties. Lined with a variety of rooftop bars, pubs and clubs, one of the best places to bar hop is along trendy Las Olas Boulevard on the banks of the New River. Homes here largely consist of luxury high rise buildings, while the highly sought after Las Olas Isles neighborhood just off the main boulevard offers many multi-million dollar waterfront estates with boat dockage. 

Culinary Delights

Miami offers no shortage of world-renowned restaurants and delicious local eats. In the Brickell neighborhood, Cipriani, with its upscale Italian fare is always a sought-after reservation, Mr. Heidenry said. “Their new Lounge, Socialista, just below the restaurant, is one of the most exclusive places to get into in all of Miami,” he said.

For good food and a good scene, Komodo, a high-end Southeast Asian indoor/outdoor eatery and lounge also located in Brickell serves up the swank in a multilevel space. 

In the Miami Design District, Swan, known for its modern chic cuisine, handcrafted cocktails and its upstairs bar, Bar Bevy, is another popular place to go, Mr. Heidenry said. “Cecconi's on Collins Avenue and Nobu and KYU in the Wynwood Arts District are always good, and then there are the classics like Prime One Twelve on Ocean Drive, Papi Steak, Joe’s Stone Crab and Milos in South Beach,” he said.  

The Miami Design District area spans from N.E. 38th Street to N.E. 42th Street and from North Miami Avenue to N.E. Second Avenue. “The district is still being built itself, so the surrounding area is still developing as well. Right now neighborhoods surrounding the district are still inexpensive, but developers are buying and renovating most homes in the area. It's one of my favorite areas to buy houses for investment,” Mr. Heidenry said. Land and houses start in the low $300,000's but in a few years could be double or triple that because of the location, he says. 

“This is one of my favorite investment areas in Miami.” 

In Fort Lauderdale, situated on Las Olas Boulevard, The Wharf is an open-air special events space with a diverse range of restaurants from Fort Lauderdale’s top chefs, with pop-up eateries and creative craft cocktails. The venue has a bite to delight even the most discerning palette. “The Wharf has been a huge hit since recently opening,” Mr. Dotoli said. Also on hip Las Olas is Louie Bossi, which is hard to miss, given the ever-present crowd outside its door, Mr. Dotoli said. Here, mouthwatering Sicilian comfort food and wood-burning Neapolitan pizza reigns supreme. 



For a stylish scene that feels more New York City than South Florida in all of its dark and swanky vibes, hit Steak 954 at the W Fort Lauderdale from restaurateur Stephen Starr of Buddakan and Morimoto fame, where the moody dining room is set against a backdrop of phosphorescent jellyfish floating in a glass tank.

Living Near the Party

For the ultimate nightlife seeker, being close to the center of the South Florida scene is key, and living in a downtown condo provides the easiest access to all the action. 

“The Residences at W South Beach are above Wall, an exclusive VIP club, while Faena is a good example of an incredibly high-end residential condo that has bars, lounges and world-class restaurants attached,” Mr. Heidenry said. 

“Icon Brickell residences and the Viceroy Hotel are above Cipriani, so from a condo perspective you can be in the same building or only a few blocks away.” 

The other very convenient option is a waterfront house. “I have a lot of clients who walk outside to their backyard, jump on their boat and pull up to Zuma, the Standard or any of the bars/restaurants on the Miami River,” Mr. Heidenry said.  



Downtown Miami condos are brand new. “The area didn’t really exist 20 or 30 years ago like Miami Beach, so all of the condos are, for the most part, brand new construction. Since there are so many buildings, prices vary, but you can still get something brand new for a relatively affordable price,” Mr. Heidenry said. Downtown Miami Condos range from $200,000 in the older buildings to several million dollars for larger units in some of the luxury buildings like Zaha Hadid’s new masterpiece 1000 Museum.


Tzeses, Jennifer. “South Florida Living for Nightlife Seekers.” Mansion Global, Mansion Global, 22 Feb. 2020,


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Josh Dotoli Group at Compass is one of the top-selling teams in South Florida and was just awarded a spot on the 2020 list of Americas Best Real Estate Professionals.