The Village Well in Fort Lauderdale: Home of the Eight-Hour Happy Hour
Night Watch is a regularly-occurring feature by Broward/Palm Beach nightlife columnist Tara Nieuwesteeg
The sign for the Village Well glowed through the darkened shopping plaza like a beckoning blue promise of beer and all that is good and pure in the world.
The smoky, rectangular room was homey but still classy; the place was all wood, with the mirror-and-liquor bottle-lined bar stretching along one side, a high shelf (packed with books, clocks, miniature lighthouses, model ships, and other trinkets) along the other, and pool tables, dart boards, and seating all somewhere in between.
The age range was remarkable--truly, it is the kind of relaxed venue in which 20-somethings can go get shitfaced with not just Mom and Dad but also Granny and Gramps.
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We hopped up to the bar--which was bronze and covered in
leaf-imprints--and took a gander at the host of Irish beer and cider
spigots. The bloke seating next to us was downing an Irish car bomb.
Terry, the bartender, had a strong Irish accent, and served up
cocktails without wait--whether you were a pretty young blond or an
80-year-old chain smoker. He ID'd us, and when Beard laughed, he
sharply told him that he could be hiding a little boy "under all that
facial hair." He also plainly laid out the high points of Village Well:
"It's a good blend of people--we get Irish folks, and a good deal of
yachties," he told me. "Oh, our happy hour lasts 11 a.m. to 7 p.m."
"Happy hour?" I asked.
"Well, yes," he gave a slight smile.
"It's a long hour."
Next I approached Francois, who wore a ball cap and had stark blue
eyes, and Sarah, who had long brown hair and the kind of
Victorian-style beauty that all the plastic surgeons in South Florida
could never mimic. They looked cozy, and since I specialize in
disrupting happy couples, I popped a few questions.
"What do you guys think of the Village Well?"
"This is my first time here," Sarah said politely.
"He's been here a
few times though."
"Have not," Francois said in a strong Irish accent, ducking slightly.
"That's not true," she told me.
"They knew his drink as soon as he
"Ah, yeah, it's true," he said.
"I'm a regular fixture--like a piece of
"A true regular," I said.
"Are you trying to make her one,
"Actually, we have our laundry going across the street," Sarah said.
Any excuse to pop into a kick-ass booze room.
-- Tara Nieuwesteeg
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