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10 Lessons the Fort Lauderdale Bus Loop Taught Me

10 Lessons the Fort Lauderdale Bus Loop Taught Me
Photo by Betsey Denberg

A night on Fort Lauderdale's Bus Loop is like casual sex, you get in, sweat your ass off, and get off as quickly as possible.

Although the event officially started around 6 p.m., I decided it was best to wait until the sun went down to get the party started. I knew space was going to be limited and eventually my feet would be hurting, so I immediately went into party girl survival mode. I left the heels at home, ditched the over-sized purse, and ate lots of carbs for dinner.

8:25 p.m.: Check-in at the Galleria Mall. I thanked my lucky stars for purchasing tickets in advance because according to the girls behind the table, the event sold out. Clearly drinking for charity really does work.

8:30 p.m.: The line at Blue Martini looked unreasonably long, so we

decided to wait for the next available trolley and head to the beach.

After standing at the trolley stop for 15 minutes, we realized we were

actually at the Sun Trolley stop and not the Bus Loop stop.

Note

to future Bus Loop planners: You're dealing with drunk people, make this

event as simple as possible.

8:45 p.m.: Check-in at Blue

Martini. Decided it was on the way to the first trolley so why not cash

in on the free drink. Plus the line was short enough to deal with. Two

frat guys attempted to push ahead of me in line like this bar was the

end all be all places to be. Cue eye-roll. The door guy checked our

IDs...really? I'm on the bus loop, if I couldn't drink why else would I

be on it?

Went with the free glass of wine,

decided it was better than Skoals vodka with cranberry. Peeked at the

two cougar's Bus Loop card's next to me, they already had 60 percent of the

stops marked off and it wasn't even 9 o'clock. They were in it to win it.

Tipped my imaginary hat to them, chugged my wine and ran to catch the

trolley.

Lesson #1: Cougars love the bus loop, and they can out-drink you.  

Complaint: Blue Martini, this is a charity event,

you should have really put some of your specialty martinis on the free

list.

9:00

p.m.: Barely got onto the trolley. Literally. The bus driver squeezed

the doors on me while I was boarding. I was not drunk enough to deal

with that, but quickly recovered after seeing how empty and cool the bus

was.

9:08 p.m.: Attempt to check-in Michael's Restaurant. Yes,

attempt. Why? They were fucking closed!

9:11 p.m.: Walked to

Bluefish Cafe, only to find out that it's a mob scene. Headed around the

corner to McSorley's instead.There is a guy wearing a beer bucket on

his head.

Lesson #2: The Bus Loop brings out the animals.  

9:15

p.m.: Check-in at McSorley's. Needed a drink so badly at this point I

didn't care what I was getting. Surprisingly enough, the lovely folks at

McSorley's are giving out Yuengling as the free beer. Squeezed through

the insane crowd of spring breakers wearing wayfarer sunglasses and

singing along to Bruno Mars to get to the outside patio bar. There was a

50-something woman wearing a hot pink birthday crown dancing to "Whip My Hair".

Two cops were hanging out at the entry way to the bar, laughing and

pointing at the drunk idiots who were so obviously unaware of their

presence. "Teach Me

How to Dougie" blasted through the speakers, resulting in cheers

from the crowd and some drunk white guy attempting to "Dougie" his way onto

the sidewalk.

Lesson #3: People love to

dance in non-designated dance areas at any given moment.  

9:40

p.m.: Check-in at Bluefish Cafe. It was shockingly quiet in there now

compared to our initial attempt at getting inside. At this point, the poster

board with the list of free drinks available had a majority of the items

checked off.

"So just exactly what do you have available for us

bus loopers?" I asked the bartender.

"Well, what do you want?

And I'll let you know." he replied.

Lucky for me I was able to

get my hands on a cold Blue Moon. I don't even think that was on the

actual list of free beers, but from the look of his face he was just

over the night.

Outside a bohemian girl doused in patchouli

entertained the drunkards with her hula hooping skills. The Blue Martini

cougars from earlier suddenly appeared, still going and not showing any

signs of fatigue. They should be crowned the Bus Loop Beauty Queens or

something. A trolley pulled up and let out a heard of screaming drunks.

"Fuck

the booze. I need some ice cream or some shit in my stomach!" yelled

a large fellow to his stumbling friends.

While they ignored his

requests, he ran across the street to Yo Mama's Ice Cream to cash in on

his free scoop. Decided that I agreed with him and off to ice cream

parlor we went.

Lesson #4: Bus loopers are not tipping.

Lesson

#5: Bars run out of the free booze options very quickly. 

10:00

p.m.: Check-in at Yo Mama's Ice Cream. You know in a movie scene when

someone is in a desert, and upon arriving at their destination the sound

of angels play? Sort of like "Ahhhhhhhh". That is what happened to me

when I opened the doors of Yo Mama's. It smelled of ice cream dreams and

candyland fantasies. I went for the chocolate chip cookie dough. At

that moment in time, it was better than sex.

 Lesson #6: The

non-bar venue employees are the friendliest. 

Note to the

planners of the Bus Loop: Putting Yo Mama's Ice Cream on the list of

stops was an excellent fucking idea.

10:10 p.m.: Time to get back

on the trolley. The crowd at the stop was a lot rowdier than before and

extremely large in size. At this point it was all about strategy. I

immediately went into party girl survivor mode and thanked god for

making me so short.

"Amy! Amy Winehouse! We love you Amy."

yelled some drunks at me.

Apparently in drunk guy land,

a girl in black eyeliner with tattoos = the ghost of Amy Winehouse.

Despite the amount of free booze flowing through my veins, I decided it

was best to ignore them. I had more important things to worry about, like how

was I going to get onto the trolley before them. Keeping my eye on the

prize, the trolley approached, I grabbed my partner in crime's hand.

After weaving through some cars, I ended up in front of the crowd and

gracefully landed in a front seat. Success was mine! In my head I heard

Liz Lemon saying "Suck it, nerds!" 

"Wow. Those are some fucking

skills. I need to take notes from your playbook." said the tipsy

20-something guy behind me.

Before I could thank him I was

distracted by the hot mess of passengers attempting to pile onto the

already packed trolley.

"You just grabbed my dick! That's sexual

harassment." yelled a stumbling guy to the girl trying to squeeze

behind him.

Lesson #7: The Bus Loop = Spring Break on a trolley.

10:20

p.m.: The trolley finally went on its way. Off to Beach Place we go, or

so we thought. First it stopped off at Tropic Cay Bar to pick up some

more loopers, not that there was really any place for them. Apparently

everyone's goal in mind was Beach Place because nobody got off at this

stop either.

10:30 p.m.: Arrived at Dos Caminos. At this point

I'm not sure why we drove away from Beach Place, but it wasn't up to me

to question our route. Once again, nobody got off. Still holding out for

the bars at Beach Place. As we looped around the hotel, I looked in

front of us, A1A was gridlocked in traffic and we only had 30 minutes to

go with 3 bars left. It was sort of like being in the movie Speed,

and our trolley

driver Kim was taking no prisoners.

"Move up motherfucker!" she

yelled at the bus in front of us taking up the entire road.

"Let

me off. Let me off." chanted a few guys in the back.

"Just two

more lights. Then I can stop this bus." explained Kim.

I was

waiting for Howard Payne to appear on a screen and give us further

instructions. In front of the trolley a white Honda attempted to make an

illegal U-turn to avoid traffic. But little did the driver know that

there was a cop car just waiting to bus him. It was the only time the

entire bus was quiet as we waited patiently for the guy to get pulled

over. Minutes later the entire bus, bus driver included, cheered and

yelled as we saw the sirens and lights go on.

10:45 p.m.: Finally

made it to Cafe Del Mar. In desperate need of a drink and a restroom,

we made a pit-stop before Beach Place. I requested a wine and in return I

got some sort of bubbly drink that kind of resembled wine. But it was

free and who was I to judge at this late stage in the game? Chugged our

drinks and hurried off to Beach Place. That's the glorious thing about

Fort Lauderdale, open containers are allowed.

Lesson #8: Wine is

never wine. It's usually Arbor Mist.

10:55 p.m.: Da Big Kahuna

arrival. The security guards tried to tell me they're at capacity. But I

am not one for waiting in lines or being kept from free drinks so I

decided it was time to turn on the charm. I ignored the fake mustache

wearing dork and turned to the burly motorcycle gang member heavily tattooed

guard.

"Really? It's at capacity? But it's only two of

us...can't you please let us in?" I questioned him as I turned the charm

level to maximum and pouted my red lipped smile at him.

"Sigh,

ok. But just you two. Let them in." as he moved out of our way.

Cue eye rolls from the blonde bimbos behind me. Once

again, success was mine. I could totally survive on Lost. Much

to my delight they were giving out free Mai-Tai and they were oh so

refreshing.

Lesson #9: It's good to have tattoos when dealing

with security guards.

11:15 p.m.: Looked over my card and was

pretty impressed with the amount of spots that I hit. But decided that

instead of heading down the escalator, why not find out if Soprano's

Dueling Piano bar was still honoring the free drinks.

11:20

p.m.: Check-in at Soprano's. Yes, they are still giving out free drinks

and the crowd is absolutely out of their minds at this point. On the

stage a piano player belted out hits from Journey, Bon Jovi, and other

drunk singalong favorites. But it wasn't until his rendition of "New

York, New York" that a slew of guys in cargo shorts and flip flops

organized a Rockettes style dance routine. It was finally time to call

it a night. . . well sort of.

11:45 p.m.: Discovered that Beach

Place had a photobooth and yes they do take credit cards. So before

hailing a cab we hopped inside for a little impromptu photo sesh. (It

was amusing the morning after at brunch to look at the bank statement

and wonder what "photo fantasy" is.)

Lesson #10: It's called

Fort Liquordale for a reason and the citizens are damn proud of it. 

So

after a whirlwind night of free drinks and no driving, would I do the

Fort Lauderdale Bus Loop again? Yes. But, I would definitely start out

earlier.    



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miles
Fort Lauderdale Bus Loop

300 SW Second St.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33302

954-574-6000

www.busloop.org


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