So you’re near US1, in Coral Gables? I’m 27 too, so hopefully I can be of use.
My favorite bar in the city is Fox’s Sherron Inn, along US1 just south of Sunset Drive. It’s an AWESOME bar, very dark (lit only by red lights), very small, great jukebox and excellent food. It has tons of character. Best of all, since they serve so much food, they became a no-smoking establishment. I’m sure plenty of UM hipsters like the place, but there are always a few colorful regulars as well.
I would always go to the movies at the AMC Theater at Sunset Place, which I’m sure you’ve driven by already. It’s probably closer to you guys than Cocowalk in Coconut Grove, and much safer at night. Most people’s favorite bookstore in town is Books and Books in the heart of Coral Gables, but there are plenty of Borders and Barnes and Noble locations everywhere.
Pick up the Miami New Times every week. That free newspaper always has good articles, plus restaurant and movie reviews, information about events around town, concert dates, etc. I love going to see live music, but Miami doesn’t have much of a scene for that, unfortunately. Most moderate-to-large bands don’t even venture that far south on tours, so forget that.
As for restaurants and nightlife, keep in mind I was either a poor student or a poor unemployed-and-occasionally-temping guy when I lived in Miami, so I can’t recommend too many high-roller spots. I almost never ventured out to South Beach, which is always a logistical nightmare. Parking is TERRIBLE out there, traffic sucks, and everything and everyplace is very expensive. It might be fun to go out there during the day and people-watch or have a few drinks near the beach, but I hate the “South Beach scene” and the hassle of going there at night. That said, if you DO find yourselves on South Beach, one great bar is the Abbey, which brews some of the most delicious ales I’ve ever had.
Restaurants, restaurants… needless to say, Hispanic food is king here, especially Cuban. Almost any storefront cafeteria will serve up a good meal, but I especially like La Carreta, which has locations around Miami. The best one is on Bird Road and Galloway Road (SW 87th Avenue). Cattycorner from there is Arbetter’s, a local institution that serves up the best hot dogs in town. There are two Mexican places right next door to each other on the US1 and LeJeune Road intersection, but **Taco Rico ** (the smaller one) kicks ass. Delicious burritos as long as your forearm, and a variety of fresh salsas are only two of the things I love about them. The Canton chain has consistently good Chinese food, and the closest one to you is right off US1 on the left, shortly before you get to the North Kendall Drive intersection. Big Cheese, also off US1 before you hit Kendall Drive, is family-style Italian, with cheap prices and large portions. The best New York-style deli without having to drive to North Miami Beach is Roasters and Toasters, south of Kendall Drive near the Metrorail station off US1, located in a strip mall, and right across the street from there is the Miami barbecue landmark, Shorty’s. Keep heading down US1 and you’ll reach my favorite spot for hamburgers in this (or any) city, Fuddrucker’s, on SW 104th Street. Daily Bread is a Middle Eastern grocery store that serves amazing falafel sandwiches, and I think the closest one to you is off US1 around SW 24th… it’s sort of tucked away off to the left. If you hit SW 17th, you’ve gone too far and missed the turn. Finally, **Norman Brothers ** is a slightly-upscale grocery store with the best produce around, a great bakery (try the forgoza bread), delicious fresh yogurt shakes, and basically good-quality everything. They’re a bit expensive, but not so much so that you can’t go in and treat yourself to a few delicious snacks and goodies. They’re on Galloway Road, between Sunset and Kendall Drives. None of those places are terribly far from where you live.