Miami nightlife: Creative alternatives to nightclubs

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As the sun sets and the sound of the waves have you completely relaxed, Miami is ready to deliver a jolt of energy in a way you may not have imagined.

The rule of mega nightclubs over Miami's nights are over. Smarter, creative options are rising for savvy visitors who want more out of their free time than speed cocktails and pounding electronic beats.

Featured below are five options for a fun evening once you've rinsed the sand off and you're ready to explore Miami after dark.

El Tucan

Head off the beach to Miami's mainland for
(Credit: BFA)

Head off the beach to Miami's mainland for a throwback old-style dinner and show. El Tucan, located in the popular Brickell neighborhood, channels the glitz and glamour of Cuba's midcentury golden era, with crystal chandeliers, crushed velvet accents and lush tropical foliage. A resident Latin orchestra plays between live acts that perform traditional rumba or Latin fusion sounds twice a night.

The dinner menu at El Tucan in Miami
(Credit: BFA)

The dinner menu at El Tucan in Miami created by Chef Jean Paul Lourdes features Latin-inspired cuisine (Mexican street corn, suckling porchetta) and is served family style for $85 per person, with innovative cocktails. After 12:30 a.m. the venue turns into a traditional nightclub, with a mix of DJ and live percussion beats.

WHEN|WHERE Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m.-3 a.m. (ages 18 and under admitted before 11 p.m., dinner seatings at 8 and 11 p.m.; 1111 SW 1st Ave., Miami

INFO General admission $10, 305-535-0065, eltucanmiami.com

SoundScape Wallcast

Looking for something culturally enriching after all those
(Credit: Claudia Uribe)

Looking for something culturally enriching after all those margaritas on the beach? On select Saturdays from November to May, the New World Center broadcasts its New World Symphony performances on a 7,000-square-foot projection wall at Miami Beach's SoundScape theater. The orchestra, directed by Michael Tilson Thomas, plays classics such as Handel's Water Music and Brahms Symphony No. 1. The event is free to the public and does not require a ticket. Bring a blanket, some food and a bottle of wine, and enjoy a full concert under the stars. Most shows begin at 7:30 p.m.; arrive at least half an hour early to secure a prime viewing location.

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SoundScape in Miami also broadcasts movies every Wednesday
(Credit: Rui Dias-Aidos)

SoundScape in Miami also broadcasts movies every Wednesday at 8 p.m. from October through May, rain or shine. Among the movies on the schedule this season are recent releases such as "Jurassic World" and "Minions" and modern classics such as "Forrest Gump."

WHEN|WHERE Symphony Wallcasts on Dec. 12, Dec. 19, Jan. 30 and Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m. and April 1, April 9, April 23 and May 7 at 8 p.m. Movie Wallcasts every Wednesday at 8 p.m. through the end of May. 500 17th St., Miami Beach.

INFO Free, 305-673-3330, nws.edu

The Basement

The Basement at the Edition Hotel is not
(Credit: Basement Miami)

The Basement at the Edition Hotel is not your standard flashing lights / pounding music dance club. Situated on the ground level of the hotel, The Basement boasts a 2,000-square-foot ice skating rink and four-lane bowling alley with a bar that serves everything from craft cocktails to Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. Complete with its own DJ-driven soundtrack, the bowling alley is engulfed in a rainbow of neon lights, and the ice skating rink features a mini-Zamboni that cleans up the skating surface every hour.

Windows between the rink and the lanes at
(Credit: Basement Miami)

Windows between the rink and the lanes at The Basement in Miami allow for plenty of viewing in either direction. Best of all you can go ice skating or bowling well before the traditional 11 p.m. start of the nightclub scene, so if you eventually feel like heading over to the dance club side, there won't be any velvet ropes or bouncers to contend with.

WHEN|WHERE Bowl Sunday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 5 p.m.-5 a.m.; ice skate daily 5 p.m.-midnight.; nightclub Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 11 p.m.-5 a.m.; 2901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach

INFO Skate rentals $25/hour; lane rentals $50/hour for 4; 786-257-4548; editionhotels.com/miami-beach/basement

Bodega Taqueria Y Tequila

Craving tacos with a side of nightlife? Look
(Credit: Bodega Taqueria y Tequila)

Craving tacos with a side of nightlife? Look no further than Bodega, known for its tasty tacos and for its "secret" nightclub with a full bar, two-level lounge and plenty of thumping beats. The front of the house includes a kitchen inside an Airstream trailer adorned with Day of the Dead skulls. Tacos are sold individually but just one won't do. Among the most popular are Texas pulled pork with charred onions, fried jalapeños and sweet hickory barbecue sauce, and shrimp po'boy with small, lightly breaded crustaceans and Sriracha rémoulade.

The nightclub at Miami's Bodega Taqueria y Tequila
(Credit: Bodega Taqueria y Tequila)

The nightclub at Miami's Bodega Taqueria y Tequila is accessible through a faux port-a-potty door and is four times the size of the dining room. A line for the club usually forms by 11 p.m., but if you arrive between 8 and 9 p.m. you can order your food and eat it in the club. Plenty of specialty tequila shots and cocktails highlight the bar scene.

WHEN|WHERE Open daily noon to 5 a.m.; happy hour 6-8 p.m. 1220 16th St., Miami Beach

INFO Tacos $7-$11, 305-704-2145, bodegasouthbeach.com

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Izzy's Fish & Oyster

Named after executive chef Jamie DeRosa's daughter Isabela,
(Credit: Izzy's)

Named after executive chef Jamie DeRosa's daughter Isabela, Izzy's pays tribute to summers growing up on the shores of New England with a laid-back 40-seat dining room with gray stone-tiled floors, reclaimed wood ceilings and a 15-seat gleaming white marble raw bar. Just two blocks from the sands of Miami Beach, you could easily make this your first stop post-sundown and enjoy traditional New England fare along with whimsical interpretations such as "Golden Potato Gnocchi" with oysters, American caviar and fresh herbs.

Or just go big with
(Credit: Izzy's)

Or just go big with "The Bay Hopper" at Izzy's Fish & Oyster in Miami, a shareable shellfish platter (pictured) that provides oysters, clams, mussels and shrimp (four of each) with blue crab salad and a half lobster ($55).

WHEN|WHERE Dinner daily, 6-11 p.m., brunch on Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 423 Washington Ave., Miami Beach

INFO Entrees $17-$28, 305-397-8843, izzysmiami.com

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