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Skip the arena: Watch the Heat at these downtown Miami bars

Instead of buying tickets to see the Miami Heat, paying for parking at the AmericanAirlines Arena and drinking overpriced beers that are cheap elsewhere, catch the game at one of these downtown Miami spots.

They're close enough to AAA to give you a taste of the euphoria that comes after a Heat win, when the south end of Biscayne Boulevard downtown is flooded with spectators in red or white jerseys.

Biscayne Tavern (146 Biscayne Blvd.) recently opened across from Bayside Marketplace, which is next door to the AmericanAirlines Arena. The gastropub's cocktails ($12) run sweet, but there are couple good beer options ($4-$6). Goat-cheese stuffed dates wrapped in sliced beef ($6) and smoked salmon spring rolls ($9.5) are good snack choices. Check it out if you're down for a stroll along the bay, and are one of the few who find parking nearby.

Will Call (700 NE Second Ave.) is open all night, offers free parking and will have at least one of its 20 TVs tuned to the Heat-Bulls face-off. The bar is a sanctuary for Miami's nocturnal crowds. For tonight's game, it'll have $20 Miller or Coors buckets and 10-for-$10 wings. Arrive before the game and stay long after; you won't be the only one.

The DRB is downtown Miami's original craft-beer bar. Its original location near the Adrienne Arsht Center (255 NE 14th St.) is a small, dark lounge with a few outdoor tables and some TVs by the bar. Its new set-up (501 NE First Ave.) brings the Democratic Republic of Beer's large selection of rare crafts and imports to the lower downtown area. But both bars also stock wine and serve food, and stay open till 5 a.m.

El Vato Tequila and Taco Bar (1010 S. Miami Ave.) is a little farther than the others from the AAA. But for anyone who likes tall, glitzy buildings and people of the same build and complexion, this Brickell area bar will suffice. The tequila list is extensive and margaritas, well drinks, martinis and beers are included in the 4-8 p.m. happy hour.

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