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When I slid up to the bar (where, alas, America's Funniest Home Videos was playing on TV, kinda intruding on the vibe), Mikhaila served a bowl of chips and salsa faster than I could say "margarita." I made sure to finish the salsa.
And when my drink was ready, it came with an unnaturally colored wiggly thing dangling over the side.
"Gah," I said eloquently.
2601 E. Atlantic Blvd.
Pompano Beach, FL 33062
Region: Pompano Beach
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Café Maxx, 2601 E. Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach. Call 954-782-0606, or click here.
Cancun Bar & Restaurant, 4480 N. Federal Highway, Lighthouse Point. Call 954-545-1441.
City Pub, 956 S. Federal Highway, Deerfield Beach. Call 954-427-8213.
"Gummy worm," Mikhaila noted. She showed me the package. Thankfully the larvae were USDA-approved. And just nine calories in the entire pack.
The gummy worm margaritas, along with $1 Pabsts, are hugely popular, Mikhaila said, during punk shows — which are held fairly often, in addition to the free salsa lessons every Wednesday.
City Pub: "TOUCHING ME...TOUCHING YOOOOOOOOU...," Ronnie Davis howled from the stage. "SWEET CAROLINE!"
We were at City Pub in Deerfield Beach watching Ronnie entertain a score of drunken grandmas. The women, rather taken, whooped and clapped aggressively between sips of beer. Ronnie, clad in a blue silk shirt, ran around the stage and sang in a trumpeting voice. Upon completion of the Neil Diamond classic, he called on a white-haired gentleman to come to the stage and replicate Frank Sinatra's "Night & Day." As he wandered into the crowd to individually serenade the smitten females, I turned to the bartender. I was going to need a drink. Stat.
City Pub is a large, rectangular room with a smoky bar and strings of twinkling Christmas lights. Framed pictures of the Statue of Liberty, the New York City skyline, and Al Pacino decorate the walls. The TVs broadcast closed-captioned programs, but the bar is busy, and the Monday-through-Friday $1 drafts are impossible to beat.
Grant, the ponytailed bartender, brought us our frothy beers immediately. He also wore an apron that said "The Cocky Cook," and to the delight of the old ladies at the bar, he pulled up a flap to reveal an attached, giant fake penis.
"That's not big enough," said one of the ladies. Her friends immediately burst into laughter.
Though Ronnie took the stage in a shimmering Technicolor jacket and began to croon Elvis classics, Grant easily stole the show.
"You can smoke here," he said, holding out a full pack of cigarettes. "You smoke?"
"No," I said.
"I was going to ask you if you had any," he said. I looked up in a flash, and all the cigarettes were gone.
But Grant didn't stop there. As I nursed my Bud Light, he made napkins disappear. Then he placed a beer bottle in a paper sack and held the sack upside down.
"It's gone," he said, but it clearly wasn't.
"No, it's not," I said. He was obviously holding on to the bottom of the bottle through the bag.
He tipped it again. "It's gone!"
"It's not," I said.
"Oh, all right," he said, crumpling the bag up into a tiny ball and throwing it away.
"Hey! What the hell, did you go to magic school?" I asked.
"I've been doing tricks a long time," he smirked.
When he made me hold three foam balls in a clenched fist, and then I opened my fist to reveal a large foam penis, I began to think there was something in the beer.
Next, Grant set the contents of a pot on fire. Then he threw a lid on the pot, and when he pulled it off, the fire was out and a twitchy-nosed bunny was in its place.
"Happy Easter," said the bartender/magician. He placed the bunny on his shoulder. The bunny scrambled to hold on.
"How's he doing that?" I asked Pedro, a young man seated nearby. Pedro wore an orange shirt and was reading a newspaper.
"I don't know," he said with a heavy accent. "But I wouldn't spend time trying to figure it out — that ruins it."
Pedro continued sagely: "I work long days, and I don't go out often. I like to sit, listen to the music, and watch the bartender's tricks. Personally, I think you need to learn to enjoy life... Trying to figure everything out ruins the magic."
And that's the truth.