There is a lot of Sangria to be had in Miami but it’s fair to say that they aren’t all created equal. Many restaurants use cheap wine, the fruit is too mushy, or it just lacks flavor. I never thought that I’d have the best Sangria of my life from a Greek Restaurant and Wine Bar in MiMo but that is just what happened. I’d long heard of Barmeli69 (or lovingly named “Bar Meli” by locals) but had never gotten around to going to their old location on 79th street. It wasn’t until their move to Biscayne Boulevard that I got to see what all the fuss was about.
Since I kept hearing about how good Barmeli69 was, I found myself there for drinks with friends. The bartender stated rather matter of factly that they served the best Sangria in town and that I’d only need one. Since he spoke so confidently I felt inclined to give it a whirl. Let’s just say he wasn’t wrong. Their sangria should come with a warning label. It goes down easy and hits you fast. Needless to say after one and several bar bites I sauntered out of there feeling like I had the holy grail of Sangrias.
After my initial happy sangria run, I knew I had to go back to try their full menu. I returned on a Wednesday night and felt like I had walked into a huge dinner party. There was a two-person band playing Gypsy Jazz and a slender, stunning woman who effortlessly danced with patrons while keeping a close eye on every single table. I’d soon come to learn that it was the owner Liza herself and she is the essence of Barmeli69.
Liza Meli is ever the gracious host and makes sure that every single soul that walks through the door enjoys themselves immensely. She is Aussie with Greek roots who has been in South Florida for well over a decade. Liza has been running Barmeli69 in various locations across Miami but it has been her time in Mimo that has solidified her almost cult-like following. It’s very clear that her passion for hospitality and commitment to her patrons’ experience is the key to her lasting success.
If the Sangria and effusive owner aren’t enough, the food/wine happen to be amazing. Every single meal I’ve had here has been delicious and the service is always spot on. It is a cozy spot so go prepared to make friends with your fellow dinners. There is live music several nights a week and it can be festive so pick a night without music if you’re looking to discuss the world’s problems.
The menu is comprised of Greek specialties that never disappoint. My favorites are the Octopus and the Rack of Baby Lamb Chops. The Octopus is perfectly charred and is never chewy. The chops are always tender and perfectly seasoned. The plates offer good portions for a fair price. Most entrees ring in between $24-$42 bucks. All the items are high quality and perfectly prepared so I have no qualms about the price points. For a sweet ending be sure to try the Baklava. While common on Greek menus theirs is not to be missed. If you’re looking for a lighter option for this Miami heat I’d say try the Greek Yogurt.
Barmeli69 also happens to have a really good happy hour that features $6 bubbles, sangria, red, and white wine. Their bar bites are $8 during happy hour. You have to try the Rustic Chicken liver pâtè, prosciutto wrapped dates and Baked Cheese Filo Triangles. Be sure to snag seats early. The bar is cozy and can fit a maximum of 10 people.
As MiMo continues to grow and develop, it’s wonderful to see a place like Barmeli69 thrive. Often times we lose sight of the places that make our neighborhoods wonderful. While it’s always thrilling to try new spots, it’s really important that we continue to support the places that make our communities great. The next time you’re in MiMo stop by for a warm smile and a cool glass of Sangria.
This & Cover photo by Miami New Times
Crystal Cooper is a contributing writer originally from NC and currently based in Mimo. She is a lover of speculative fiction, charcuterie boards, and long lazy days on Miami Beach. Follow her on Instagram @Carefreecoop and read more of her musings at carefreecoop.com.