Ten Bicycle-Friendly Bars in Fort Lauderdale
Michael E. Miller
Bicyclists of Fort Lauderdale, we feel your pain. We know it can be tough navigating America's fourth most dangerous metropolitan area for biking and walking and risking getting pulled over and profiled for lack of registration, all while dodging some of America's worst drivers.
Yet despite less-than-ideal conditions, our little bike scene seems to be flourishing. We're leading the way for up-and-coming niche sports like hardcourt bike polo, and while we're not quite drawing the thousands of riders (not to mention stars like Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union) of Miami's Critical Mass, our own fledgling Critical Mass monthly night ride has quite the active following.
So what do the bike riders of Fort Lauderdale do to let off some steam and commiserate -- besides getting together to ride, that is? They drink! With tips from some in-the-know Critical Mass regulars, we've put together a list of the most bike-friendly bars to do just that.
Roll in, lock up, and have yourself a cold one. These ten Fort Lauderdale watering holes all welcome bicyclists with nearby parking -- and they might even reward you with some drink specials.
Biker Kim Peters is a fan of this off-the-beach Fort Lauderdale staple, where plenty of outdoor seating plus nightly live music make for a great ambiance postride. Plus, she says there are "tons of places to park, and the owners are easy-going."
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Not only is T-Mex one of the best outlets for inexpensive Mexican street food in Fort Lauderdale but, according to Critical Mass rider Rachel Ungarten, it offers "space to drop your bike and/or lock up where you can see your ride while enjoying food, drink, and music."
Let's face it: If you're big enough into your bike that you've put thousands of rent dollars into mods for it, given it a name, and find yourself scheduling your life around regular night rides, chances are you might be just as enthusiastic about your music collection. Cue Radio-Active Records, undeniably Fort Lauderdale's institution for all things vinyl.
We know, it's not a bar, but it does occasionally host events involving free booze and usually some killer live music or DJs. Add to that a spacious back lot for posting up, plus a next-door neighbor, "the best li'l butch bar" Cubby Hole, serving two-for-one drinks on "Bear Chest Thursdays" and you've got one killer stop on your bicycle route.
The guys behind ABY, Stache (formerly Green Room), and Revolution have proven to be longtime supporters of Fort Lauderdale's alt-culture scene, hosting countless national and international acts just before they've gone big, not to mention cool underground events like the Mad Decent Block Party and the Block x Blog music and art festival. They're also pretty big supporters of the bike scene. Back in June, America's Backyard was one of several Himmarshee bars to offer free drinks to riders during the Glow Ride & Bike Crawl Critical Mass, and last year, they hosted Biketopia.
Here's another tried 'n' true Himmarshee spot where Fort Lauderdale bicyclists feel at home. Known for its laid-back, gritty vibe, live music, pool table, and front patio with primo people-watching, Fat Cat's often participates in Critical Mass by offering riders a free drink along the way and doesn't mind the group taking up space with its bikes. Plus, there's plenty of sidewalk parking, and with its open floor plan and outdoor seating, it's easy to keep an eye on your ride while enjoying your beverage.
Tucked inside a corner near the beach and sandwiched between tattoo shops, Parrot Lounge is one of Fort Lauderdale's oldest beach bars -- but it's no tourist trap. This place frequently welcomes bike riders as a Critical Mass afterparty spot, offering $2 Bud Select on draft. Stop by Yo Mama's Ice Cream nearby if you've got a sweet tooth.
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4. Tap 42
What isn't Tap 42 good for? Critical Mass' Slowhibition Ride last month ended with ravenous riders chowing down at the Andrews Avenue watering hole, where they partook in Monday's $5 Prohibition Burger special (yes, it even has a delicious $5 veggie burger). Dozens of craft beers, great food, a massive outdoor terrace, and a large dedicated bike rack mean Tap ranks high yet again on our list!
This beloved neighborhood institution located in Fort Lauderdale's Riverside Park is an unsuspected go-to for bicyclists looking for a postride brew. Critical Mass regular Rachel Ungarten says Riverside Market is another "fave end point... [it's] good for large groups, and there's no waiting for bartenders, since you grab your own beer."
"I think that bike-friendly is more than just a rack out front," says Ungarten. "Bahia Cabana's rack is actually inside, which seems supersafe." This local hot spot is a unanimous favorite postride meetup.
"SandBar on Fort Lauderdale Beach is a cool place to stop," says Critical Masser Lacie Wallace, who happens to bartend at the popular beach haunt. "There's bike rack right in front and friendly bartenders, with lots of drink specials and happy hours daily. We are always open to group specials and fun events with deals for local business." SandBar has been known to offer drink specials to bikers post-Critical Mass, including $3 "premium well cocktails" made with Finlandia, Jack Daniels, Bacardi, and El Jimador.
Critical Mass rider Derek McNulty concurs: "SandBar Fort Lauderdale, of course. Bike racks and an open bar with no doors or windows, so the bikes are in plain view." That's not to mention the ocean breeze, a view of bikini babes passing by, and a high-energy yet casual vibe. SandBar has all the perfect ingredients to make it the ideal bike-friendly bar in Fort Lauderdale.
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