It wouldn’t be Miami if everything wasn’t cut and pasted together in strange, wonderful ways. So why would we expect anything less from our gas stations? Stumbling into a wine bar when you’re just trying to buy some gum or pay to fill up your tank is so delightfully bizarre — and so Miami.
As avid fans of the niche restaurant/bar/gas station scene, here are our five of our favorite Miami gas stations, and one bonus spot
2465 SW 17th Ave., Miami, FL 33145
Gas Price: $2.29/Regular
Of course we’ve got to start with El Carajo, Miami’s only wine bar and tapas restaurant/gas station combo. Tucked inside of a BP, this restaurant proves the cliché that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
Brick-lined walls and arches take you into a magical European getaway complete with Italian wines and Spanish tapas. El Carajo’s founder Richard Fonseca traveled the world and loved being able to find fine wines in gas stations when he visited Italy, so he brought it back to his hometown of Miami almost three decades ago. Initially it was in South Miami, but nine years ago it moved to its current location in Coral Gables.
Europa Car Wash and Café
6075 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33137
Gas Price: $2.49/Regular
This coffee shop/gas station combo lets you multitask to the max. With free wifi, you can get some work done and fill yourself up with caffeine fuel while your car gets it’s own gasolina just outside. It’s super low key — tucked into a Chevron gas station along 61st and Biscayne.
It’s got a sleek, modern interior, complete with a chandelier and a circular installation framing the seated area. Big windows let in plenty of sunlight, so you can keep an eye on your whip while you get your work on.
5402 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33137
Gas Price: $2.49/Regular
If you’re on your way to a fancy house party or a chill getty with a group of close friends but forgot the booze, no sweat. Just pop into this Shell gas station, which boasts a crazy extensive collection of craft brews. They claim to have more than 700 different craft beers, and we believe them.
Delirium, Lagunitas, Stiltsville — you name it, they’ve got it. And the station’s 50s throwback design is pretty neat too, blending in perfectly with the new 55th Street Station restaurant and retail plaza — many of the buildings in the the plaza were once home to old auto shops.
3201 Coral Way, Miami, FL
Gas Price: $2.39/Regular
When you’re near the Grove and in need of a cold craft beer, check out Mendez Fuel, where you can fill up a growler inside a Mobil gas station along Coral Way. Along the back wall, a row of freshly kegged taps serve up locally brewed beers from favorites like Funky Buddha and Wynwood Brewing.
If you’re not craving a beer, no sweat. They’ve also got a slew of healthy snacks and even Panther cold brew coffee to give you that caffeine boost.
Editor’s note: The address above has been corrected.
961 W Palm Dr., Florida City, FL 33034
Gas Price: $2.14/Regular
Tacos in a gas station? We know what it sounds like, but trust us, the risk is worth the reward with these bad boys. The corn tortillas, the guac, that fire spicy salsa — this place is legit. Sharing a wall with a Valero in Florida City, this taqueria is one of the last stops before you hit Everglades National Park. And with that long drive back ahead of you, you should probably get some gas.
Asian Thai Kitchen
3135 Grand Ave, Miami, FL 33133
Ok so this isn’t technically a gas station, but a Thai restaurant inside of a Kwik Shop is enough in the same spirit that we felt it was fair to include. As one of the first Thai restaurants in Coconut Grove, Asian Thai Kitchen’s unexpected location in the back of a convenience store next to a 7-11 adds to its charm. You can get all your standard fare like pad thai and green papaya salad, or you can get a little adventurous and go for the Kimchi fried rice. Maybe pop over next door for a slurpee on your way out.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated since publication.