10 Best Fort Lauderdale Bars: From Very Classy to Very Casual
By Dale Mack
Fort Lauderdale Local Expert
If your idea of sizzling nightlife includes hitting a bar for drinks and socializing, then our Fort Lauderdale guide is just what you want. And what better thing to do in the city of sun and fun and relaxation. Capitalizing on first-hand experience and extensive research, we've located the best bars in Fort Lauderdale for hanging out and kicking back in. From long-lived mainstays like the historic and storied Elbo Room on A1A and Las Olas Boulevard, to busy places like Lulu's Bait Shack and the well-known Parrot Lounge right on the beach, to YOLO, with its laid-back and classy setting. Gather around and satisfy that taste for the perfect Martini at Blue Martini at the Galleria or join in the fun, and perhaps meet someone special at the very popular and the very sizzling Christopher's. Head to Hollywood at the exciting Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and spend some time at the very happening Pangaea. Looking for more of a diverse crowd? Then it's go to be Rosie's Bar and Grill in Wilton Manors, where the fun just never ends, or just up the street at the The Drive. Hey, you're in Fort Lauderdale and everyone knows the party never ends!
The award-winning Parrot Lounge is one of those places that people remember and tell their friends about once they get back home. Excellent service, a beachside location and happening happy hour explain this local standby's longevity and popularity. Photos of patrons adorn the walls, attesting to the bar's prosperous years in Fort Lauderdale since 1970! Come and watch your favorite team and take your pick from the largest selection of domestic, import, and craft beers on Fort Lauderdale beach. Tasty snacks, sandwiches and dinners keep hungry guests happy, while free transportation aboard the Parrot Bus is a perk for bar hoppers. (954-563-1493)
Rosie's Bar & Grill
Ft. Lauderdale locals love Rosie's. The atmosphere here is electric day or night. It's here where the locals come to see and be seen, and there's always a party going on. This gay bar's fun, tropical atmosphere, surprising drink specials and delicious food have an irresistible allure. Rosie's hosts happy hour Monday through Friday, but drink specials are available most days. Sunday Funday, a popular favorite, features a DJ and beer buckets all day. Besides marvelous mojitos, Rosie's is known for its wildly whimsical menu and creative burgers that boast names like Rhoda Cowboy and Wilma Breathsink. Convenient valet parking after 5. (954-567-1320)
The Pangaea Lounge at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is a luxurious and exotic, high-end club that sports a global theme. The Pangaea is a spin-off of the world-renowned, celebrity ultra-lounge from New York City. Archeological decor flanks the walls, and tables and benches form the shapes of continents. Drawing a 20-30 age group, The Pangaea is known for its live dancers and drummers that enhance the DJ's mix of International lounge, house, rock and hip-hop. Outdoors, garden tables are situated around a fire pit and a patio is also available. Be sure to check out Gryphon, the adjoining dance club. (954-581-5454)
Being labeled as the biggest and hottest dance club in South Florida, especially for the 30+ crowd, Christopher's welcomes those who come for salsa dancing, cocktails, a bite to eat, and weekly live music. The bar offers reasonably priced beverages, including a wide variety of martinis, and various drink specials are available throughout the week. Most nights, DJs provide the entertainment while patrons cut loose on the large dance floor. Thursdays are Latin-infused ladies night where unescorted ladies drink free from 9-11 p.m. On Fridays put on your platform shoes and enjoy the $5 Disco night. Food is served through 1 a.m., and menu items include burgers, salads, wings, nachos, chicken fingers and fries. (954-561-2136)
YOLO (You Only Live Once)
You Only Live Once, and by this place's name YOLO, you can see why, especially at Happy Hour. It's hard to imagine that in just four short years the amazing Yolo has become the talk of the town. And that's a tough thing to do in Fort Lauderdale. But there is good reason why. Located on the very chic and elegant Las Olas, this beautifully designed night spot and eatery welcomes its patrons in its modern and comfortable setting and presents its delightful lunch menu consisting of delicious starters, soups, sandwiches and specials. And don't rush back to the office before trying their delectable desserts and topped off with your favorite coffee. And remember the restaurant's name is short for You Only Live Once, so enjoy! Happy Hour is M-F 4 p.m.-7 p.m.and $2 off all drinks at the main bar or O Lounge. ((954) 523-1000)
Lulu's Bait Shack
Located at the fun Beach Place complex on the city's famous Fort Lauderdale Beach is Lulu's Bait Shack. Here you can sit with your friends and sip your favorite, colorful cocktail and drink in the never-ending activity of this sizzling hotspot. Enjoy a delicious selection of appetizers including a platter chock-full of Louisiana-style crawfish, or their favorite tangy Buffalo shrimp, soups, salads, sandwiches and seafood dishes. Lulu's Bair Shack serves your favorites beers and cocktails and provide live entertainment that will make it a night to remember. And don't forget to purchase the souvenir glass so you can brag to all your jealous friends later. (954-463-7425)
Located in the historic Riverwalk area in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, Tarpon Bend is a local favorite since it opened in 1999 that has both main floor and memorable balcony seating, plenty of windows and a modern feel. Natural wood tones are accented by black padded chairs with silver accents. Plan to stop by to enjoy their legendary Happy Hour and plan to stick around and sit back, sip luscious cocktails and nibble on shellfish while perusing the raw bar, appetizer or cocktail menu at this casually stylish eatery and bar. Live music is performed every Friday night, and Monday nights feature live reggae music. (954-523-3233)
The Elbo Room
This landmark watering hole entered the world spotlight in 1960 with the hit film Where The Boys Are, starring Connie Francis and George Hamilton, making this one of the hottest of beach side attractions, and it soon became the place to see and be seen for generations of springs breakers and a beach vacationers. Enjoy their Reverse Happy Hour from 9-11 p.m. with half-priced select Martinis, such as the Pumpkin, French, spiced Apple, Cosmopolitan or Bartender's Martini. The Elbo Room still attracts throngs of tourists and locals alike to enjoy live music, great drinks, a great second-floor view of the beach and the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, and a bit of history. ((954) 463-4615)
Blue Martini has earned a reputation as a sleek and sophisticated gathering place for those who know a great thing when they find it. Weekday happy hours, nightly live bands and dancing make this sleek cocktail bar a winner. Try the bar's signature blue martini (a mix of vodka, Cointreau, blue curacao, sweet 'n sour mix and orange juice) or select your favorite martini from a menu of 14. An assortment of appetizers such as sushi, hummus, a steak sandwich martini, seared tuna and even chocolate cake satiate the hungry. Hang out on the outdoor patio, or if you're willing to pay the freight, sip a cocktail under the blue skylight in the VIP lounge. Located at the upscale Galleria, Blue Martini is a wonderful stop after hours, after shopping or for an exceptional night out. (954-653-2583)
The Drive is aptly named. This recently renovated eyesore of a forgotten building has become one of Wilton Drive's most happening bar and restaurants. The new hot spot is located at the corner of Wilton Drive and NE 9th Avenue, in Fort Lauderdale's famous gayborhood Wilton Manors. Surrounded by art galleries, an antique shop, boutiques and strolling passersby, this once overlooked corner has been transformed into a hip hang-out over the course of just a few months. Claiming to offer "Bar, Tapas, Patio, Music," this place is in just the right spot to appeal to those who love a good nightspot and a good eatery with a certain vibe. With comfortable and inviting indoor and outdoor seating and plenty of room in both, The Drive has that perfect vibe. (954-561-9000)
About Dale Mack
Dale Mack has been involved in Fort Lauderdale tourism and promotions for over twenty years. Working for Travelhost Magazine in Dallas, Texas, he was especially drawn to the edition published by the Fort Lauderdale Associate Publisher; the city's beauty, its energy and the fun-in-the-sun atmosphere. When an opportunity came to relocate to Fort Lauderdale by another company, Dale accepted. He has spent the last nine years discovering "the Venice of America" and South Florida itself. Dale is the author of three children's books and numerous articles. He has also worked as a copywriter for the South Florida real estate market.
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