In Miami, a good wine bar can be hard to come by. Many often cater to one of two extremes: the happy hour crowd or the pretentious, wannabe wine-os. Well, on Biscayne Boulevard, about halfway between the American Airlines Arena and Midtown, we found Bin 18 – more than your average wine bar.
Bin 18 offers an intimate and comfortable setting with a setup that includes a few comfy chairs, a row of two- and four-tops, larger group tables placed atop wine barrels, as well as some outdoor seating. The space is very inviting and provided an atmosphere that was perfect for occasions ranging from a first date to a casual gathering of friends.
Now, although I said that Bin 18 isn’t a typical wine bar, it still is, first and foremost, a wine bar. Bin 18 has quite the extensive wine menu, without being overwhelming. You won’t find a 10-page behemoth, but rather a manageable two-pager featuring a careful selection of fine whites, reds and rosés. Wines* by the glass range from $5 to $10 and bottles go for anywhere from $22 to $85. Additionally, Bin 18 also offers a selection of local and global artisanal beers ($4 to $16).
When you think of a wine bar, you don’t often think of great food. Maybe you’ll get some peanuts and olives, or a few easily prepared small plates, if you’re lucky. That’s where Bin 18 breaks the mold. In terms of their food, Bin 18 would actually be better classified as more of a European-style bistro, with a contemporary menu that celebrates a fresh, local market approach that explores a spectrum of artisan dishes that they like to call “Roadside Mediterranean Cuisine.”
Our night began with a “Design Your Own Tabla,” an option that allows guests to choose a combination of artisan cheeses and cured meats (3 for $22, 5 for $34, 8 for $48). Our group of six friends went for three tablas of 3 to give us a sampling five cheeses and four meets. For the cheeses we selected the Italian Pecorino Tartufato and Robiola, Spanish Cabra al Vino and Manchego and French Brie, while for the meats we chose the Italian Speck and Spanish Cantimpalo, Chorizo Palacio and Jamón Serrano. To top all of that off, all Bin 18 tabla combinations include Artichoke & Truffle Mousse, Fig & Port Jam, Marinated European Olives, Quince Paste and freshly baked breads.
For mere mortals, a bottle of wine, cheese and charcuterie may sound like more than enough for a great night – or at the very least, a very satisfying happy hour. But, not for us foodies! We decided to further explore the Bin 18 menu by diving into the main courses. Bin 18’s food menu includes a wide variety of appetizers, succulent meats, fresh fishes and homemade pastas.
To maximize our tasting pleasure, we decided upon three entrees: the Bin 18 “Boneless” Chicken, featuring natural crispy chicken, artichokes, olives, arugula and sun dried tomatoes ($18); the Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with parmesan polenta, oven dried tomatoes and topped with truffle-shallot vinaigrette and lemon preserve ($14 for medium scallops, $22 for large scallops); and the “Food Network” Cuban Melt, highlighted by six hour roasted pork, brie cheese, fig sauce and charred onions served on Tumac bread. Finally, to round out our delicious culinary journey, we split a slice of Key Lime Pie, which proved to be a perfectly tart and sweet end to an extremely enjoyable evening among friends.
Bin 18 truly has something for everyone. It features an excellent wine selection and fabulous food at reasonable prices. It’s comfortable, yet modern. It’s casual, yet upscale. It’s unique. It’s more than your average wine bar.
1800 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33132
Hours of Operation:
Hours of Operation: Sunday – Wednesday: 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Thursday – Saturday: 5:00pm to 12:00am
*Tip: for those of you who like wine, but don’t consider yourselves connoisseurs, check out the free Vivino app. Simply ask you server to see the bottle you’re considering, snap a photo of the label and Vivino will scan it to give you all the inside scoop to help you make your final decision.Follow @greatfoodlist