Date Night: Downtown Miami

Where to eat and drink on your next night out


With its business-y connotations, the word alone doesn't conjure a dream date—but the neighborhood is ripe with opportunities for romance, especially after all the 9-to-5ers have taken their briefcases home for the night.

Remember that Area 31 sunset cocktail ($13) we recommended a little while back? It's the perfect drink to kick off your evening; the happy hour gets crowded enough to set a we're-not-too-serious tone, but after the sun sets and two of those, the mood will begin to shift. If you'd rather impress straight out the gate, you can meet at Zuma's swank, modern bar for a cocktail from the new "Modern Twist" menu. Tease your appetite with scallop tartare with wasabi ponzu ($16)—but don't get carried away. Save a fancy Japanese dinner at Zuma for the one-year anniversary.

Now it's time to get intimate—with dinner, that is. Head to cozy and edgier NIU Tapas, which offers a menu of Catalan-inspired tapas. Share the galtes de porc ($13)—tender porc cheeks in a tempranillo reduction—and, if you're already feeling it, hand-feed each other a piece of crostini dipped in ous ($14)—poached eggs with jamón serrano and black truffle-perfumed potato foam.

After dinner, some friendly competition and/or competitive drinking may be in order. Challenge your date to a game of pool at one of our favorite dives, Pub 1, or go craft cocktail for craft cocktail at The Corner. We'd recommend the Ginger Rogering ($14; Bols Genever, lime, mint, ginger, ginger beer) or the Red Devil ($13; Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, lime achiote, fennel seed syrup and orange bitters). Ginger and chiles are aphrodisiacs, you know.

And guess what? So are cocktails.