Night Watch: Yak-Zies


868 S. Federal Highway, Pompano Beach
Call 954-786-0033, or visit here.

We walked into Yak-Zies in the middle of a young man's

karaoke rendition of John Michael Montgomery's "Sold": "I'm sold to the

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lady in the second row; she's an eight/She's a nine, she's a ten I know/She's got ruby red lips, blond hair, blue eyes, and I'm about to bid

my heart goodbye..."

He was good. He hit every word right on target and had the country drawl

down pat. Wasn't bad-looking either, in his backward ball cap and

dirty jeans. I slid up to the bar, one eye on the karaoke, the other eye

searching out Don, the long-haired bartender whose 'do puts to shame

most '80s rockers. When I snagged him, I put in an order for a Shock Top

and a plate of mozzarella sticks.

"We get B-rated stars in here," Don offered when asked to dole up some

gossip. "We've had Dwight Yokum's ex, the owner of the boat that pulled

up Elián González... some woman who worked for Bob Barker and wanted to

sue him over giving her oatmeal cookies for Christmas one year..."

"Just cookies? That is pretty shitty," I said.

"I've worked here 12 years and never taken a vacation," said Don.

"Because I know as soon as I do, we'll have an A-list star in here and

I'll miss 'em!"

Yak-Zies is truly a neighborhood bar and all-around gem worth visiting.

This is obvious when you notice its logo -- a slit-eyed sun rising with

an ice pack on its top -- peeking out over Federal Highway. Yak-Zies

has an immaculate feel with its clean tile floors and neatly arranged

décor. Its forest-green walls are compartmentalized into sections: humor

(Da Wall of Da Stooges includes framed photos of that infamous trio);

dogs (including the late Missy Miller, rumored to have a penchant for

Miller's beer); and nostalgia (sports paraphernalia, Norman Rockwell

pictures, and old black-and-white photos.)

"Don't think I don't know about the bathrooms," I said to Don. "Tell me about them."

"Do you know about the men's room door?" he asked.

"I know there are naked lady photos on the walls of the men's room and

studly beefcake photos on the walls of the ladies' room..."

He shook his head.

"Not that. I can't tell you -- you might get offended." He looked at my

friend. "I'll tell him, and he can tell you if he deems it appropriate."

I mumbled a crack about my "virgin ears" and stomped off in protest.

Kenny, a man in a red shirt with cutoff sleeves and an American flag on

the front, was at the front of the room, performing a decent rendition

of "Piano Man." At the words "There's an old man next to me, making love

to his tonic and gin," Kenny pointed emphatically at a small,

white-haired gent at the edge of the bar. "I'm talking to you," he


I shuffled over to Helene, who, according to Don, had been coming in

every day for eight years. She was elderly, prim, and petite and

wore rings and a necklace.

"Tell Don I don't have all the gossip," she quipped. "But I'll say this:

My husband would come in for karaoke night even if he was on his

deathbed!" She pointed toward the front, presumably to check on the

advancement of the karaoke list. "All I know is, I've been coming in

long enough to meet some real nice people -- and some real strange


"We're like aisle 9 at Winn-Dixie," said Don from the other side of the bar. "Mixed nuts!"

On that joke, I joined Jason, the dark-haired guy who'd sung country earlier, at a pool table.

"Why do you come to Yak-Zies?" I asked.

"Great bartender, great karaoke," he said. "Been coming a while now."

"So, not because of the bathroom?" I asked.

"What's in the bathroom?" he asked, genuinely puzzled.

Just then, Don and my friend Beard swept by and grabbed me, escorting me

to the bathroom. They pulled me into the men's room and pointed at the

wooden door. In the same way that outlines of Jesus or the Virgin Mary

sometimes appear in clouds or grilled cheese sandwiches, an unmistakable

image could be made out in the door. Either by coincidence or fate,

there in the natural grain of the wood emerged a picture crisp and

clear: an amazing vagina. It was goddess-like in shape and size.

"It's beautiful," I said, truly wowed.

"Right there, naturally right in the woodwork," Don said proudly. "You couldn't get art like that if you tried for it."

No kidding. That vagina-mark, like Yak-Zies itself, is truly one of a kind.

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