By Alex Rendon
By C. Townsend Rizzo
By Lee Zimmerman
By Liz Tracy
By Liz Tracy
By Liz Tracy
By Matt Preira
By Victor Gonzalez
When the weather is shitty, your boss is pissed, your dog dies, and no one seems to understand, there's only one thing to do: Stop being a pain. Life is pain, Princess. And the only way to survive it is by going to your happy place. My happy place exists in the form of booze-dispensing joints, which I frequent almost constantly. Behold! The following is an account of my journey through the happiest bars in South Florida.
2449 Wilton Drive
Wilton Manors, FL 33305
Region: Wilton Manors
Funky Buddha Lounge and Brewery, 2621 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton. Call 561-368-4643, or click here.
Antea, Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, 1881 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale. Call 888-554-2131.
Rosie's Bar & Grill: Rosie's (no affiliation to Ms. MacDonald, one flamboyant bartender pointed out) is perpetually busy and quintessentially Florida. Pink spotlights bathe the nightspot's surrounding palm trees; its booming bass is audible for miles; the patio is packed every single night of the week.
My two wingmen and I opted for patio seating and were led past a glass case full of Rosie's T-shirts (including one with this Sapphic message: "You have a kind face — the kind I like to sit on!"). Sexy pop-music videos flashed across the flat-screen TVs; photos of starlets, old movie posters, and vanity license plates ("PRINCESS") spattered the pink walls. Random decoration: a small Cruella de Vil doll poised within the confines of an oversized, red-sequined, high-heeled shoe. The white rafters were adorned with tiki masks, framed photos, and stuffed animals. The clientele was diverse: Rosie's has beauties and beasts, geezers and youngsters, intimate couples and rowdy groups. All are dispersed among the high tables, booths, and barstools.
Outside on the patio, under a ceiling of colored paper lanterns and fairy lights, my wingmen — Beard, my facial-hair-sporting drinking partner, and Shaun, his best friend and former frat brother — scoped out the variety of drink and snack selections and listened in as the two dudes behind us discussed Brad Pitt at length. The menu featured a cartoon drawing of a plump brunet on the front. She was pictured in heavenly voluptuous glory, wearing a black dress and white feather boa and seated atop a white bulldog with pink polished toenails. A beach scene stretched across the background.
"Rosie's buxom," Beard observed, tracing her bulky cleavage with his index finger.
"Certainly curvaceous," I said, pointing at her chunky calves.
"She's luscious," Shaun said.
I've always been all hips and lankiness my entire life; Rosie's goddess-like figure evoked slight jealousy deep in my bony core. Definitely a lush; not quite luscious.
Looking for a bit more entertainment, I sauntered indoors — to an uptempo remix of Kim Wilde's "Keep Me Hangin' On" — and hopped up to the bar. Ron, the slight, tanned bartender, was drying glasses and happy to recommend a Rosie's mojito, bloody mary, or piña colada (their most-requested drinks).
"Who's Rosie?" I asked.
"Rosie is... very fun-loving, confident," he said. "She loves traveling... has a big, loving family, but she's always off vacationing somewhere new."
"The place used to be called Hamburger Mary's," he continued. "The owners wanted to keep everything feminine-themed, but they're two gay guys."
"So Rosie doesn't exist," I said, a little disappointed.
"Well, she's actually based on one of the waitresses here," he said, pointing across the room. "Danielle! The one with the ta-tas!"
Sure enough, a plump, buxom babe with cropped dark hair was carrying a tray of hamburgers across the room. She dropped off the plates and stopped by to see what Ron was yelling about.
"You're Rosie," I said.
"Yup, there I am on the menu," said Danielle, pointing. "Large calves and all."
On my way back outside, I noticed a large group of women who were loudly celebrating and sipping fruity drinks.
"What's going on?" I asked a girl wearing an off-the-shoulder green sweater and heavy matching eye shadow.
"We're celebrating two birthdays today," she informed me.
"Woo! Twice the drinking!" I said.
"I'm one of the birthday girls!" said a girl behind me. She was tall and sturdy, with sparkly makeup, long blond hair, and a perfect doll face.
"You barely look like you're turning old enough to drink," I said in a predatory quasilesbian way. "What's this, your 23rd?"
"I'm sorry, I don't know you," she said, catching me up in a gleeful hug, "but I like you. I'm actually turning 28!"
I didn't know if she was drunk, but I like hugs from hot girls. I made my way back out to the patio, ready to enjoy more beverages, flashing lights, and ultra-upbeat pop music. And if that's not happiness, I don't know what is.
The Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery: The Funky Buddha is the ultimate happy place all the time, but especially lately — now that it's fixin' to open a microbrewery, has added kava to its menu (which already boasts coffee, shots, cappuccinos, teas, beers, mixed drinks, appetizers, and ales), and has moved to a new, bigger location. And it's also especially happy on Wednesday open-mic nights: Cover charge goes to charity, and the place gets slammed with Boca Raton's most talented amateurs.
The Buddha is part opium den, part after-class coffee bar, part happenin' local music scene. The walls are purple-red and decorated with sconces and inspired paintings of beer bottles and feminine body parts. There are statues of peaceful Hindu deities and big-bellied Buddhas up and down the bar, which I took a seat at, next to a long-haired dude with black-painted fingernails. Beautiful, ornate hookahs, tea bags, and liquor bottles decorated the space behind the bar. Cool white smoke curled from patrons' hookahs up to the ceiling.
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