There’s a trend sweeping the world, turning the old dine and drink concept on its head. No one wants to cram into a crowded bar at Happy Hour or wait for a table at the most popular restaurant in town anymore. People want something effortless and fun that offers variety and a nice atmosphere. Thus, the hipster food hall concept emerged. Miami’s food halls and cultural spaces provide a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy a variety of different food and drink and sometimes live music.
These spaces, outdoor and indoor, allow people to rendezvous in a more casual fashion. You don’t have to worry about the exact number of people coming out, because the seating isn’t done by a stuffy hostess; it’s just a series of picnic tables or benches. There’s no need to agree on what you’re in the mood to eat; different vendors, stalls and trucks provide options for everyone.
If you don’t mind the unsightly look of cargo ships going up and down the Miami River (probably carrying at least a few bricks of cocaine), the string-lit deck of the Wharf is a good spot to hang out. It features a variety of food vendors offering everything from barbecue to donuts, though these options rotate. There’s a huge bar, live music or DJs, and you might occasionally be treated to random performers like jugglers. Sure, the nautical theme is kind of tacky and it’s way overhyped, but there aren’t a lot of places in the city where you can have a pizza and play table tennis.
This Asian-themed food hall in Wynwood has a fantastic array of Asian cuisines from sushi to Thai. If you’re in the mood for a craft cocktail served in a Lucky Cat figurine or an Asahi beer, this is the place for you. Featuring an indoor and outdoor area to hang out, it has everything you need to stay from Happy Hour until last call. You can even buy vinyl in their record store, Lucky Records. Aside from yummy dumplings and sushi, 1-800-Lucky is in a prime spot, a short walking distance from a ton of other bars in the area.
Wood Tavern was the Wharf about 8 years ago; it was the only place locals would ever go. Many would argue that it put Wynwood on the map and spawned a host of other businesses. The bar has an often-crowded indoor bar and a large (and even more crowded) outdoor space. In the back of Wood, there’s a taco truck and access to their burger place next door, aptly called Bar Next Door, or BND. The vibe is cool graffitied industrial park, and their drink specials and good music will make you stay a while.
I thought about leaving this off the list, as it’s closing in March 2019, but Wynwood Yard was one of the first spaces of its kind and will no-doubt resurface elsewhere in the city. And there’s still some time to enjoy the laid back feel of their picnic tables and local acts before the space becomes a high-rise apartment building. Their food offerings include a variety of popular Miami food trucks like House of Mac and LoLa Burger. If it’s around, I highly recommend getting a loaded toston with jerk chicken from Latin-Jamaican fusion vendor, Food Dude.
As I included a place that’s closing, I thought I would balance the list with a place that hasn’t opened yet. The much hyped Lincoln Eatery will be opening its doors on January 31, 2019. The indoor food hall will offer an alternative to all the sit-down restaurants slinging $25 plates on Lincoln Road. Currently the eatery is expected to house upscale deli, Marble + Rye and TYO Sushi, as well as ice cream and coffee.
Food truck meetups
Before Miami’s food halls became semi-permanent, we had food truck meetups, bringing good food and a good time to different places in the city. These rotating events are still popular in Miami, particularly because they tend to be outside the “cool” parts of the city. At these events, you can check out some of Miami’s most popular food trucks like Ms. Cheezious, Mister Taco, and Purple People Eatery. You can find them at Tamiami Park, Deerwood Lakes Park, or Haulover Park on different nights of the week. Check social media for their most updated schedule.
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