Top 7 Spots For Miami Alternative Scene

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If you are looking for the best spots for Miami alternative scene then your first option should be Gramps. It’s the go-to spot for the city’s thriving alternative scene. From live music to unique performances, Gramps offers something for everyone. Don’t miss their acclaimed “Indie Showcase” on Fridays and “Experimental Night” on Wednesdays. As for food, indulge in their mouth-watering “Avocado Fries” and the delectable “Truffle Mac and Cheese.”

Let’s face it, there doesn’t seem to be a big indie or alternative music crowd in Miami. There used to be a time when we were beyond semi-relevant. The days of Churchill’s, Kafe Krystal, and The Kitchen, among a few others, have faded.

These days, every other indie/alternative band seems to completely skip Miami and Florida in general (I occasionally see in Orlando/Tampa stops, though)

The artificial scarcity of big indie and alternative scenes in Miami today doesn’t mean you can’t catch local bands for an alternative scene experience. Gramps has remained one of the leading locations, but there are other amazing spots you’ve probably not heard of, especially if you’re new to Miami. Here are my top recommendations:

  1. Gramps
  2. Kill Your Idol
  3. The Filmore
  4. Brick
  5. Wynwood Art Work Block Party
  6. Treehouse – Miami
  7. Sweat Records

Gramps

Gramps has this quirky, retro vibe with a rad outdoor patio, making it the perfect spot to chill with your crew. But that’s not the most exciting part.

Located in the vibrant Wynwood neighborhood, Gramps embraces the artistic and offbeat spirit of Miami. 

The food options are diverse, offering unique dishes that cater to different tastes (Pizza and Garlic knots are so good here.)

When it comes to shows, Gramps consistently hosts a variety of alternative acts, from indie bands to underground DJs, ensuring an eclectic and engaging experience for you. On Tuesdays, they have karaoke outside and then rock n roll inside.

What sets Gramps apart is its quirky and welcoming atmosphere, with a vintage aesthetic, outdoor seating, and regular events like trivia nights and art showcases, making it a memorable spot for you to immerse yourself in Miami’s alternative culture.

Kill Your Idol

Kill Your Idol is in the heart of South Beach. This eclectic venue captures the essence of Miami’s alternative culture. What is most entertaining here has to be the drag shows that happen on Fridays by 10:45 or thereabout.

The shows at Kill Your Idol cater to your taste for alternative music, featuring live performances by indie bands, punk rock acts, and underground DJs. 

This is the dive bar where locals go in Miami. Here, drinks are also priced low. So it’s an affordable spot.

The location itself adds to the experience, as it’s nestled amidst the vibrant nightlife of South Beach, ensuring a lively atmosphere for you to immerse yourself in. 

While food options may be limited, the focus here is on the music and ambiance. 

But what sets Kill Your Idol apart is its unique decor, featuring vintage arcade games, a retro-inspired lounge area, and a distinct rock ‘n’ roll vibe. However, some guests frown at how the club solicits that their performers be tipped.

The bar is good, but it gets better at night.

The Fillmore

If you’re around Washington Ave. in Miami Beach, The Filmore is an absolute gem for the alternative music scene. Their lineup showcases an impressive array of alternative bands that cater to diverse tastes. The venue itself exudes a vibrant and intimate atmosphere, perfect for immersing oneself in the music. 

The Filmore is a book you don’t want to judge by its cover. The outside looks ‘questionable,” but the inside is amazing with its antique touch. You may find it a little challenging to navigate around the lobby for seating, but the staff here are quick to come to your rescue. 

They have lovely chandeliers, multiple bars, clean bathrooms, an outdoor area, and friendly security details. 

Keep an eye out for their monthly “Local’s Choice” nights, featuring local alternative bands, as they offer a unique and authentic experience. 

The drinks here are relatively expensive. Double shots cost between $20 and $30. And then you pay $6 for water. Filmore wants to make a profit, but to many first-timers, it’s consented robbery. 

Brick

As the establishment puts it, “Brick is simply not your average bar.” If you’re looking for a spot-on location for an alternative scene experience in Wynwood, Brick is among the top options. They feature the best of hip-hop, an open format, and Latin nights. 

Brick is free for ladies to get in, but $20 for guys. I like this place because it’s laid-back and there’s no strict dress code. Given that it’s an outdoor bar club, you also get to enjoy the weather as you rock with alternative bands. 

However, be prepared for a gratuity that is usually included on the drink tab. Many visitors call Brick the hit for hookah and vibes, and that is true to form. 

If you want something off the strip with a more authentic vibe, Brick calls your name. It has a great venue check, beautiful decor, a DJ performance, and a chill, vibing crowd. 

On the downside, the quality of drinks here is on the low side. Still, it remains one of the top spots for r&b and hip-hop on Friday and Saturday, respectively. 

Wynwood Art Work Block Party

If you’re coming to Miami and have a manageable schedule, make your visit to the Wynwood Art Work Block Party on the second Saturday of the month. It’s the best time to experience the alternative scene. 

Not only are all galleries open late, but many of these galleries offer free drinks and cash bars if you want to hang. I’m a Miami lyfer and it’s a delight to see what Wynwood has become.

What draws alternative scene lovers to Wynwood is the view, colors, painting, hot sun, and graffiti all over the place. However, in order not to have a sad experience with parking convenience, you have to make it early. 

If you’re not a big fan of the arts, crowds, and commotion, then this may not be your jam. 

The real fun and alternative Miami experience of the Wynwood art block party is simple: waking up on the main strip, going in and out of various art galleries, drinking your drinks, stopping for coffee, eating at multiple food trucks, and purchasing from vendors. 

But it’s almost impossible to separate the inevitable traffic and parking issues from the art block party. Matchsticks and matchbox.

Treehouse – Miami

Treehouse, Miami emphasizes on super low key and a casual atmosphere, offering a mix of best deep house and techno format in the 305. One obvious thing about Treehouse is the loud ambiance with the mesmerizing light show. This club has psytrance artistes and proper underground music vibes. 

As with most other alternative scene bars, you can reserve an entry tiket for free online via Eventbrite. 

It’s a late night EDM club with two large rooms – each with their own bar. You’ll see a large patio area outside with its U-shaped bar and some benches here and there. 

As for the music, the DJs (many of which are from Anujabeats label) at Treehouse usually play techno music and in the second room, they play trance music. So you have to have a deep appreciation for this kind of music to fully enjoy it here. 

One notable downside to treehouse is that their drinks are expensive, but it’s a common price range if you attend a lot of Miami Beach clubs that are right off of Collins Avenue.

Sweat Records

No local in Little Haiti will find the Sweat Records bar unfamiliar. It has been operating since 2005 as Miami’s premier indie music store and all-ages event space for alternative scenes. 

Sweat Records is worth stopping in for all music lovers that prefer vynl.  There’s a mixture of culture, local, and Miami’s buzz.  The recurring review on this establishment is that the staff members are friendly and always willing to help you find something. 

If you’re in serve for anything vintage in Miami, this will be one of your favorite stop. Its a staple of Miami’s record and music scene – from jazz to punk rock. 

Meanwhile, the only parking option available is street parking which is quite limited.

Parting thoughts

Above all the locations reviewed above, Gramps on Thursdays remains my favorite activity, and I totally recommend it for anyone looking for an alternative scene experience in Miami. (P.S.: You can also check to see if there is a “black market” during those days.

Meanwhile, I have stumbled on Las Rosa on many rating platforms. While I did not include it in the above-recommended spot for an alternative scene, it’s a great place for a rock dive bar experience. (Perhaps, the most exciting part of this place is the juke box where you can play music of your choice.)

Did you visit a similar location for an alternative scene in Miami recently? Care to share your experience? I’ll meet you in the comments.

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