On Main Street, Part 1

Griffin Road, one of Broward's oldest byways, has it all

"Bud or Bud Light?" she asked.

She said she inherited the bar from her parents and has been working there since she was 16 years old and the joint was called Anne's Tavern. "The bar has always been my first love," she said, showing me pictures of Halloween parties and her annual Christmas in June party, where Santa wears an old-fashioned yellow- and red-striped swimsuit and distributes presents to Josie's regulars.

This day, she was singing "Wind Beneath My Wings" into a microphone behind the bar, and her patrons were filling me in on the recent visit by New England Patriot's quarterback Tom Brady, who they claim was doing a GQphoto shoot right there in their little neck of Griffin Road.

Carolyn, a 30-year janitor at the Broward County Courthouse, said: "I grabbed his Budweiser when he left. I said, 'This is mine.' I finished his beer, and I still have the bottle at home."

Josie then led me through a side door to a small street and said, "Come on out here and I'll tell you."

"All this," she said, pointing out a roughly one-acre plot of land that contains the bar, three apartments, and a lot, "was owned by my parents. They bought it in 1961. If you were looking at Griffin back then, you'd see one narrow dirt road with holes in it. There was nothing beyond 441. No land, no nothing. There were palm trees everywhere.

"This was always a neighborhood bar," she said. Then she described a bigger bar that's nearby. Though it's called the Field now, she says, "it used to be a cottage where two little old ladies decided to open a tea shop to make some money. They served tea and cookies."

How cute, I comment. Did you used to go there?

"I don't like tea and cookies," she said appropriately, as I set off to continue moving westward away from the daintiness of seaside Broward to its more rustic origins.

That antique china-toppin', tea-drinkin' mush is for the simple appetite. As you head west, unmentionable thoughts two-step across your brain. They make your hands do crazy things, like pull off into the big concrete building 'neath a sign that reads "Fantasy Lounge."

And when you walk in the door of that former gas station, which became a dancing-girl joint 25 years ago, you find a pretty girl named Iris with light-chocolate skin wrapped in a G-string and doing an upside-down, spinning nosedive on a shiny silver pole.

She slid her G-string down her butt and thrust it toward a young man seated beneath the stage, who slipped a bill between the slinky garment and her hip.

There were 15 other men in the room wearing T-shirts, sittin' on stools or couches, making friendly with the five other girls. The men had a pile of singles at their sides and bottled beer in their hands.

Iris walked around to each patron collecting tips when she got off the stage. "I didn't want to work at a big club," she said. "Too much competition."

The club was closed for 30 days a couple of years ago when cops arrested eight people for selling drugs in the place -- seven strippers and a manager. "A drug supermarket," one officer called it. Of course, those days are over.

Enough historical contemplation.

Iris got my last coupla bucks, and I've got a long way to go on this road to nowhere. I had to make the green provision last as I neared State Road 441, where Dania faded like a mirage of civilization and the pioneer town of Davie came my way at 45 miles per hour.

Next week: Go west, young woman. Night Court does Davie.

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