Best Bartender - 2000
In ever-transient South Florida, it doesn't take much to qualify as a local institution. Kim's Alley Bar, with roots back to 1959, undoubtedly makes the cut. And Laurrie Pood, who has been manning the bottles for seven years at Kim's, almost qualifies herself. Laurrie is the den mother of the mahogany front bar, serving up equal parts liquid anesthesia and emotional solace. She has a smile, a hug, and a drink for just about every weary soul who wanders into the place. You might momentarily feel like you're in Mom's kitchen waiting for the Sunday-evening pot roast to be served, except that the pot roast comes with ice cubes, doesn't give you heartburn, and magically lifts away your troubles, at least for the moment. Laurrie's benevolence extends beyond the bar as well. In March she traveled to Hawaii for a Leukemia Society of America marathon. She and a friend raised more than $5000 through fundraisers, begging, and hard work -- and they somehow actually ran 26 miles. Be wary, however, of Laurrie's advice when it comes to drinks. Her self-concocted specialty is the Drunken Monkey: Stoli strawberry vodka, banana liqueur, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, and Sprite. "It's one of those things," she notes, "where people say, 'Make me something sweet that will kick my butt.'" Thanks, but we'll stick with her martinis.